Amazon River & Rainforest Lodges, Brazil

The confluence of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes becoming River Amazon, Brazil

The confluence of the Rio Negro (black) and the Rio Solimoes (brown) becoming Rio Amazonas, the Amazon River. This is just a few kilometres from Manaus. Photo by RD Ortiz

How to experience the Amazon River in Brazil

While it is possible to see some pristine jungle and wildlife in a week – including travel time – it’s not going to be sufficient for a real look at the forest and the animals that live there. Two weeks is a much better game plan.

From Manaus tourists can access the Amazon Rainforest  to the south in Mamori, Juma e Janauacá; in the north Presidente Figueiredo; in the east the national park Jaú; in the west Rio Urubu and its thick rainforest.
However, it’s generally thought that heading north, upstream on the Amazon, presents the best possibilities for experiencing virgin forest and wildlife sightings.

Some regions near Manaus that give fair access to jungle wildlife and have rainforest lodges.

• Iranduba. Reach it via the long, new bridge from Manaus though lodges are frequently reached by boat. Options include a backpacker budget lodge (Manaus Jungle Hostel), an air-conditioned ‘eco-resort’ (Tiwa Amazonas) and a luxury treetop canopy hotel (Ariau Towers).

• The Mamori, the Juma and the Tupana rivers all offer varied accommodation and are accessible via the BR 319 highway.

Aerial view of the undeveloped Amazon River and Rainforest, Brazil

Aerial view of the – as yet – unburnt, undeveloped Amazon Rainforest. Photo by Lubasi

The Amazon Basin covers 2. 3 million square miles, fed by the Amazon river which contains 25% of all the water carried by all the rivers of the world.

4 square miles of this rain forest can contain up to 1, 500 species of plant, 750 species of trees, 125 different mammals, 400 different birds and countless species of invertebrates. Many species are still unrecorded and the full medical potential of Amazon plant life is little explored.

About 2 square miles of this unique natural treasure is being destroyed for farming or logging every hour.

Amazon local life

A traditional upper Amazon River ferry boat, Brazil

A traditional upper Amazon River ferry boat for locals, though they’re happy to carry tourists too. Photo by Jim

River boat and calm tributary off the main Amazon River, Brazil

A calm tributary off the main Amazon River. Photo by Derek Springer

A typical riverside Amazon village, Brazil

A typical riverside Amazon village inhabited by native people. Photo by Jim

Native Indian tribes live in harmony with the forest, clearing small areas for vegetable plots which are returned to nature every couple of years. This kind of sustainable lifestyle has been recognised by the Colombian authorities (also co-owners of the Amazon Rainforest) who have dedicated a 4, 000 squre mile park to Indian management, banning other developement.

A sensible and forward thinking approach to rainforest use needs to be encouraged among all eight countries that share the Amazon Basin, especially the largest one, Brazil.

The best season in the Amazon is the dry, from July-October.

Amazon swimming

Swimming in the Amazon River – or more accurately in one of the tributary rivers or lakes

If you feel like a cooling dip in an Amazon tributary note that there are some inhabitants that might feel disturbed by your behaviour. For example there may be 54 species of pirana fish, caiman, electric rays and needle fish in the vicinity.
However, apparently pirana don’t attack unless there is urine or blood in the water, especially if you keep moving. Caiman and rays sleep in the middle of the day. Needle fish can only swim up your urethra (and bleed you to death) if you urinate while swimming. So it’s kind of safe-ish.

Amazon lodges

Silves town, Amazon, upstream from Manaus, Brazil

Silves town, 250 kms (156 miles) upstream from Manaus, is a good base for exploring the rainforest. Photo by Dirk Henker

A Brazilian Amazon community lodge, Amazon River, Brazil

A Brazilian Amazon community lodge. Photo by Dirk Henker

Silves Rainforest Lodge, Brazil

And comfortable guest houses too, though not exactly embedded in rainforest. Photo by Dirk Henker

a simple, budget rainforest lodge in the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

Get deeper into the jungle with a simpler, budget rainforest lodge like this. Photo by Jim

A high platform with hammocks in the Amazon Rainforest, Brazil

Or even this kind of jungle eyrie where any adventurous tourist or rampant tarantula could easily hang out for a while and soak in the sounds! Photo by Dirk Henker