Imagine that you are blessed with the opportunity to travel to the Amazon and do a full day ecotourism tour. Have that vivid picture in your mind? Well, it can be a reality.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world and filled with rivers, fish, and experiences that showcase the indescribable beauty and rawness of the Amazon. This region is a must see or bucket-list destination!
Many people believe that the Amazon has only large cities sparsely spaced between vast forests. This is a myth; the Amazon is home to several small towns situated within the gigantic Amazonian rainforest that covers more than half of Brazil’s territory and other countries in South America. The city of Manaus is home to 2 million inhabitants.
Watch our video recap on the best day tour in the Amazon, Brazil.
The City of Manaus
One of the best places to indulge in an eco-tour in the Amazon is in Manaus. Visitors get the luxury of experiencing both the city and the forest. Guests can choose to stay in waterside hotels along the river, such as the Tropical Hotel in Ponta Negra Beach, or hotels nestled up to the forest edge, like Anavilhana Hotel and Ariau Hotel, the most luxurious hotels in the forest.
If you decide to stay in Manaus city, the best way to experience the vast Amazon is to take a full day tour. The tour starts with hotel front pickup and escorts you to Pier Hotel Tropical, where you will begin your adventure full of surprises, pleasures, and bliss. I, Mister Brazil, and my See You In Brazil team members took part of this tour to give you a firsthand glimpse into this adventure.
We left Manaus in small speedboats accompanied by the best team in Amazonia. Our experience was unforgettable thanks to the staff of Eco Adventure Tours, managed by Mr. Pedro Neto, whom I highly recommend. He and his team are extremely friendly and professional and always eager to help. After a short safety briefing, we started along the Rio Negro and watched the beauty of the river, the woods, and a comforting breeze carry us along our travels.
First stop: The Indian Village
The order of the tours can change depending on weather conditions, the amount of people on the tour, and several other factors. On our tour, we stopped first in an Indian village where we were treated to a presentation. I have visited other villages alongside the Amazon River in my previous travels but this one holds a special place in my heart. The village leader talked in-depth about the dances held in the village, the wedding culture, and more that makes this little tribe interesting. After talking with the locals for a bit, we went to the market house to look at the rustic handcrafted pieces for sale, to samples some of their food, and to take pictures. The locals, in addition to their local indigenous languages, also spoke Portuguese, allowing for easier communication.
After several photographs and a good conversation with the chief of the tribe where I was told a fascinating tale of him being bit by an anaconda; whether it was true or not, I’ll never know, we departed for the highlight of our day- a chance to swim with the pink dolphins.
Swimming with Pink Dolphins
Pink dolphins are only found in the Amazon River and their beauty charms children and adults alike. While I was in the water, the dolphins would jump out and take food straight out of my hand. It was an experience I will never forget. There are many tales concerning the dolphins as well. According to the people of the Amazon, there are several cases where the dolphins rescue fishermen. Boats are the only form of motorized transportation in this area of the Amazon. Therefore, many fisherman travel by boat or canoes, even at night. According to residents, sometimes drunken fishermen get caught in the rain and their boats get swamped with water. The dolphins help get these men to safety and leave them on the beach.
The Flooded Forest
We were enchanted by the dolphins and swam with them for quite a while. Once we returned to the boat, it began to rain. Afternoon rain showers are quite normal in the Amazon. Our guide, who spoke English, Spanish, and French, was full of interesting knowledge about the Amazon and enlightened us on the biology and ecology of the rainforest. He took us to see the flooded forest, where we crossed between the trees by boat. In this area, the water is nearly 60 feet higher than other sections of the forest. We were floating near the tops of some trees! It is incredible to think that in the dry season, that part will be completely changed.
Lunch at the Floating Restaurant
By then, all of our travel had made us quite hungry so we stopped at a floating restaurant, a part of a special floating harbor. The harbor has a restaurant, souvenir shop, restrooms, a bar, and more. It is a place where locals come to meet each other and is a frequented spot by tourists. From there, we could see birds and monkeys. In fact, you are allowed to feed the monkeys! The floating restaurant changes its location depending on the season of the year. The restaurant features a delicious buffet with a plethora of fruits, vegetables, juices, and freshly caught fish from the Amazon. I love seafood and was very excited to sample so many different types of fish that day.
Victoria Regia and the floating village
After our lunch, we had the chance to visit the famous Victoria Regia, where extremely large leaves are spread around by water, adding an incredible beauty to the river. We also visited homes found in flooded villages, where school boats are painted yellow, much like the American school buses, and where entertainment places are also floating. One looked like a miniature zoo and contained Pirarucu fish which are huge and always hungry. Each fish is between 4 and 7 feet long and weigh between 220 and 440 pounds. It was fun to use a smaller fish as bait, not to catch the Pirarucu but to bring it closer to see.
I cannot forget to mention the houseboat we visited while we were on our tour. A family lives there and together, they catch some different variety of animals and keep them for up to two weeks for people to see before they return them to the wild. You can see anacondas, sloth, and other surprises here. I remember seeing this house on a Brazilian TV program called “Discovering the Amazon.”
My team and I were traveling in July 2015. I already knew many parts of the Amazon in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela but this was the first time I had taken part of an ecotourism journey. We believe in finding the best tours, and this tour from Manaus fit the bill. In all, it was an incredible experience. In just one day, we got to experience so many different places and events. I was overwhelmed with the different emotions and the wonderful meals we had that day. I sometimes think that I would like to go back to Rio Negro and just take a boat ride down the river. I had a sense of peacefulness and calm come over me while on the river. It is a different world. This trip makes you want to take notice of the beautiful environment, animals, and people in our everyday lives and to become more interactive with nature. You also realize the necessity to preserve and protect our natural environments and maintain a greener planet for our future generations.
I hope you take the opportunity to visit the Amazon and grow to love it as much as I do. It was a blessing to be able to share a little bit of this magical world for a day. While my team and I were only there for a day, I recommend taking at least three days to truly get the experience. In another post, I will talk about the accommodations available in the Amazon jungle. Some are pretty wild.
A Mister Brazil Tip: Take advantage of the awesome and delicious fresh fish from the river, sample some Amazon liquors made from local fruits, and enjoy a taste of the Amazon. You can buy fresh produce and goods at the Manaus Market (Market Hall). For more information, follow our YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media pages.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know what you think by commenting below—all thoughts, suggestions, and requests are welcome.