The Amazon rainforest, also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broad leaf tropical rain forest in South America, mostly Brazil. The Amazon accounts for about 20% of the total water carried to the oceans by rivers which are thousands of kilometers long. The Amazon basin region is home to about 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and some 2,000 birds and mammals. The diversity of plant species in the Amazon is the highest on Earth. Amazon are also called lungs of earth as they supply 20% of world oxygen.
It was a dream of lifetime to be in amazon rain-forest. We were very touched by the diversity and serenity of jungle. Recent unfortunate viral fires has motivated us to pen down the experiences. Hope that it helps you living the amazon moment while reading.
Let’s start the journey but first things first.
Jungle is huge and you can’t go there by yourself. You would need a guided excursion to be in deep jungle. Book excursion by Iguana Tours (https://www.amazonbrasil.com.br/)
Where does excursion starts? It starts from ‘Manaus’ which is capital of Amazonia state in Brazil. Manaus is like a secluded part of Brazil and flight is the only way to reach there from mainland Brazil. Flights could be really expensive like 400 euros. Please book them in advance.
How long should be the excursion? We did 2 nights and 3 days and that would be our recommendation for non junglers. Think of no electricity and mosquitoes 🙂
Before the trip: It is suggested (I think it is must) to have certain vaccinations before you land in Amazonia. Some to mention – Yellow fever, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B. Consult your doctor on this. Most of the vaccinations need a lead time of at least 15 days or so to become actionable. Make sure to take them well in advance
How much money do you need for packages? Prices vary a lot from 600 BR $ to 2000 BR $ per person which is all inclusive stay, airport pick up, food, inside jungle excursion. Make sure that you research and negotiate with companies. We took this package, which was worth the price – https://www.amazonbrasil.com.br/ingles/pct_iguana.html. Another good part was no prepayment for booking. You can book on the day you start for the tour
Things to carry: Mosquito repellent crème/ oil; swim wear; dry towel; cloths that can cover you from top to bottom (note: temperature is always hot or rainy), Trekking shoes. Sunscreen, cap, shades, non-bulky luggage /backpack (you can leave your bulky package at travel agent’s shop and collect while returning. There is no internet connection in jungle- phone would be used only for pictures. Carry some cash as machines do not work (200 reals should be enough)
The jungle experience:
Day 1: Early start of the day with pick up from hotel at 8 AM. As soon as everyone gather up at travel agency, we start the expedition from Manaus port to get transferred to the jungle. Part 1 of the transfer was speed boat on Rio Negro river. This part took around 60 mins and during this part, it was amazing to experience two things. First is ‘Meeting the waters’ where Amazon and Rio Negro River meets. Secondly, dolphins Woho . dolphins were literally dancing around us. We ended this part by reaching on an island(Careiro village) .
Part 2 of the transfer was island crossing with old Volkswagen vans 🙂 . Part 3 was to cross the river again for 60 mins and reach the lake house which was our abode for first night ‘“JUMA LAKE CAMP HOUSE’ .
Arrival at 11h00, had an awesome lunch (Salad, kidney beans, rice for vegetarians and additional food for non-vegetarians). Went for swimming in river after lunch. There is no risk in flowing water but make sure you do not swim in still water in Amazonia. Ask your guide before going to swimming. Post after noon, we started the key activities. First one was pink dolphin watching. Pink dolphins are native to amazon waters and it usually bigger than usual ones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_river_dolphin).
After that we went for a canoe tour for piranha fishing. We did get 7-8 piranhas, the most deadly predator in the world. Piranhas are in huge numbers in Amazon. It is considered as world’s deadliest predator.
After an amazing and serene sunset, we went back to the lodge for dinner
After dinner, again by canoe we went for the Caiman spotting where the guide dared to catch a smaller one from river and gave us explanation on age gender etc and we could hold it to make some nice pictures.
Day 2: Got up at 5 for sun rise and dolphin watching. Before breakfast, we did a bird watching tour (refer to another blog on birds national park in Amazonia). Amazon has quite a huge variety of birds. After the breakfast, we went for ecological jungle trekking from 08h00 to 11h00 where the guide explained all about medicinal plants, some techniques of survival in the jungle and animals that you can see during the trek like spiders, and different kind of monkeys, sloths etc.
After lunch at around 14h00 we left for overnight in the jungle to explore night life in the jungle, try to see the animal that come out by night, learn some more techniques of survival in the jungle and spear fishing. This was a fun night started with building our own hammocks in between the trees. Set up fire for the food. We could see the giant caimans around came to get the meat, Piranhas catching a big leafs of chicken pieces and finishing then in seconds. Fire took around 1 hour to set up.
We did barbecue for dinner with come caipirinha made with kachacha. It is a national drink of the brazil(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caipirinha). Everything was as close to nature. We learnt how to make food plates with palm tree leafs. Enjoyed the amazing dinner and here comes the hardest part, sleep in the hammocks in open jungle J I must say it was the most difficult part with mosquitos, temperature, fear of wild animals, rains etc. I couldn’t sleep for the whole night in the fear of wild animals as I could hear loud roars in the night. But somehow we survived and got up like 6 am and made our breakfast
Day 3: Day started with unwrapping the hammock beds and preparing breakfast. Breakfast was baked bananas (https://www.africanbites.com/baked-plantains-2/) with boiled coffee. After breakfast, we visited local people house (caboclos) to see and learn about their way of life, see how they do the manioc flour and interact with them and understand there way of life. We finished the expedition with a lunch and way back to Manaus arriving around 17h00
Spent a day in Manaus city. Walking around Manus Theater and enjoying street food and full of life, Football stadium, MUSA Botanical garden – is a like a mini jungle experience in city. You can experience aquatic floating plant Nymphaeaceae (Victoria Amazonica)
Special food in Manaus: Acai- you can have it in the form of crème or icecreme. Cupuaso crème
Drinks: Caipiriahnas, Brahma, Skol, Devasa