What adventurer hasn’t dreamed of a visit to the mysterious Amazon, home of one in ten of the world’s known species and some of the only remaining uncontacted tribes in the world?
As long as your expectations aren’t about marching through dense vegetation with a machete, encountering jaguars at every turn, and contact with remote tribes, the reality of a visit to the Amazon is magical. It will likely involve riverboats, forest lodges, glimpses of vast biodiversity, and tours to river communities who speak Portuguese and have access to state healthcare and education.
The jungle is actually the largest tropical rainforest in the world, extending through Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and other parts of South America.
The mighty Amazon River and its tributaries wind over a staggering 4,100 miles.
One of the most accessible and ethical ways to visit the Amazon is through the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve. This protected area lies in Brazil. It is home to the Pousada Uacari, a community-run lodge which floats atop one of the Amazon tributaries. The area is a short boat ride from the city of Tefé, and travellers can either fly there or take a leisurely boat along the river from Manaus, the capital of the Amazonas state.
The forest in the Mamirauá is flooded for half the year, so canoe excursions and, depending on the season, hikes, can take visitors in search of the fuschia-faced uakari monkey which gives the lodge its name, pink river dolphins, fearsome caimans and piranhas, the elusive jaguar, and other fantastic creatures.
The great river
The newer Reserva Extrativista Baixo Rio Branco-Jauaperi can be reached through the city of Novo Airão. An incredible variety of monkeys can be seen in this pristine slice of the Amazon, as well as macaws and toucans. For even deeper forest, fly to Santarém to get to Floresta Nacional do Tapajós, home of the primary rainforest with its enormous trees.
From Brazil, in particular, the Amazon is more accessible than you might think, and the magical experience will last a lifetime.