While not as remote as the upper Amazon and Rio Negro regions above Manaus, the lower Amazon River is a treasure-trove of experiences both natural and cultural. Because this stretch of river has, relatively speaking, larger population centres, it also is home to bigger and more significant museums and research centres, and provides visitors with an excellent understanding of the progression of western culture into the Amazon Basin.
Itinerary Highlights: Belem, Mercado Ver-o-Peso, Marajo Island, Ilha Caviana, Santarem.
The Amazon Basin (Manaus and upstream including the Rio Negro)
The Upper Amazon is truly one of the most fascinating wildlife destinations in the world. The exploration of this remote and adventurous area begins in Manaus, capital of the State of Amazonas, a jungle city that prospered during the rubber boom last century, and located just below where the Amazon River-the largest river in the world- and the Rio Negro-the second largest river in the world- unite. The region includes the Jau National Park, a World Heritage Site, and numerous indigenous communities, including 'Caboclos' living in stilt houses along the river. Big Fish 's crew for this voyage will include an expedition leader knowledgeable about Amazonian tribes and culture, and a naturalist who will track and identify the extraordinary wildlife you will encounter on your voyage. Besides the pristine natural and human environments, this part of the Amazon Basin is renowned as a mosquito-free region thanks to 'cauxi', a natural insecticide found in these waters.
Itinerary Highlights: expedition through Anavilhanas Archipelago, hike through virgin forest to the breath-taking rarely-visited Madada Caves, Jau National Park is the greatest fresh water forest park in the world, Mariua, visit to the historic ruins of Velho Airao, the town from which the Bizerra family ruled the region as a dynasty of "Coroneis de Barranco" ("Riverbank Colonels"), the veritable feudal lords who controlled the Amazon until the 1950s.
Activities can include: social and cultural exchange in remote indigenous communities,visiting gold prospectors' mines,kayaking in remote and pristine lagoons, seeing or experiencing shamanic healing ceremonies, jungle trekking, fly-fishing, spear-fishing, swimming with river dolphins, extensive bird watching, alligator-spotting at night, riverbank dining, seaplane exploration, visiting historical sites, diving with fresh water rays, turtles, river otters, unique shopping of indigenous arts and crafts.
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