Manaus serves as the gateway to the Brazilian Amazon—a jumping-off point for river cruises on the mighty Amazon and Rio Negro, its largest tributary at 1,386 miles (2,230 kilometers) in length. Whether you only have time for a day cruise through the rain forest or a multi-day exploration of this remote region, here’s what you need to know.
Travelers with limited time can still get a taste of Amazon River cruising with a boat trip down the Rio Negro to where it meets the muddy brown waters of the Amazon. In as little as half a day, visitors can cruise to the “Meeting of the Waters,” explore the January Ecological Park, and eat a traditional Brazilian lunch at a floating restaurant. Nighttime tours offer the opportunity to take in a sunset from the water, practice some piranha fishing, and look for alligators with the help of a flashlight after dark.
Multi-day itineraries into the Brazilian Amazon allow travelers to spend plenty of time on the water—whether canoeing the small tributaries of the Rio Negro or speedboating through the jungle—with the option to spend the night on a small cruise vessel or in one of many area jungle lodges or campsites. No matter where you choose to sleep at night, these trips often include rain forest hikes, visits to local indigenous villages, and ample opportunity to spot wildlife, including alligators, piranha, and nocturnal wildlife.
Things to Know
- Day cruises along the Rio Negro typically last around 5 hours, while multi-day itineraries last anywhere from three to five days.
- There are fewer rain showers during the dryer season (June to November), but some of the smaller tributaries are not navigable. Rivers open up during the wet season (December to May), but some jungle trails will be flooded.
- This region tends to be hot and humid throughout the year, so remember to wear loose clothing and pack wet weather gear.
- Bring some small currency on your cruise in case you want to purchase anything at the local villages.