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Amazon Clipper Extension

 
Day 1: Manaus, Brazil / Amazon Cruising
Our trip begins in Manaus, vibrant capital of the state of Amazonia. We meet in the lobby of the Tropical Hotel at 2 pm and transfer to the pier, where our luxury riverboat awaits. Aboard, we are greeted with a welcome drink as we learn about the route that lies ahead and the amenities of our deluxe vessel in a brief orientation talk. Once underway, we enjoy an afternoon snack before convening for a lecture on Amazon ecology, an enlightening introduction to the vast and complex ecosystem we are immersed in. As we cruise upstream there’s time to sample a caipirinha, the national drink of Brazil, before dinner is served. After dinner we explore the riverbank with powerful searchlights, observing caiman (close relatives of the crocodile) and frequently spying nighthawks, snakes, toro rats, frogs and even sloths.

Day 2: Cruising the Amazon River
As dawn illumines the watery green mosaic of rainforest and river, we rise early, setting out in canoes across Januaca Lake to experience the awakening of the jungle. The air is a-twitter with myriad birds, and we search for their brilliant colors in the trees, possibly spotting tui parakeet, green ibis, orange-winged parrot, rufus kingfisher and scarlet macaw, among others. Many nesting herons and egrets are also at home in the lake’s marshes. If we’re lucky, we may also spot the Amazon’s rare and famous Pink River dolphins. We return to our boat for breakfast, followed by a forest walk and visit to some local residents who live on the lake, making a living from fishing, growing manioc, harvesting fruit trees and Brazil nuts, producing rubber and other extractive products. On our afternoon excursion, anglers have a chance to fish for piranha while the rest of us keep an eye out for flamboyantly plumed hoatzins and large flocks of egrets. After dinner, we return to the forest in canoes to experience a very different side of the jungle, observing nocturnal animals and listening to the evocative night symphony of birds and insects. When we look upward on a clear night, we see more stars than we ever dreamed existed, looking for the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere against the blackness of the night sky.

Day 3: Amazon Headwaters / Manaus
We explore Lago Janauari Ecological Park this morning, a 9,000-acre reserve of dry and flooded forest and lowlands abounding with birds, wildlife, flowers and distinctive plants. By canoe and on foot over a network of elevated boardwalks through the trees, we discover the park’s effusive flora and fauna -- most notably the floating Victoria Regia: giant water lilies that measure up to seven feet in diameter! As we return to our boat for breakfast, our captain navigates toward the “Meeting of the Waters.” This unique spectacle occurs where the milky, silt-laden waters of the Amazon encounter the clear, dark tannin-infused waters of the Rio Negro, the largest blackwater river in the world and the Amazon’s major left tributary. The two contrasting waters run side by side without mixing for about five miles – a remarkable sight! Soon it is time to return to Manaus. As we cruise toward our landing at the Tropical Hotel, we have views of the port with its floating docks, the Municipal Market, the beautiful old Customs House, built of stone from Scotland in 1906, and the dome of the Opera House. Our cruise concludes at 11:30 a.m., in time to meet onward flights to Rio.

Please note: This itinerary is for the 3 day / 2 night program.  The 4 day / 3 night program will cruise the Negro River instead of the Amazon River, but activities and wildlife seen will be very similar.

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