Brazilian Living Part 2: Jungle Lodges
Experience the Amazon up Close in a Jungle Lodge
Let's be honest: a side trip to the Amazon is a must on any itinerary in Brazil. The best way to get in direct contact with this green paradise is a several-day sojourn in a jungle lodge.
Jungle lodges offer overnight accommodations in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest. Take nightly walks in nature, wake up to the sounds of the rainforest, explore the flora and fauna on foot or by boat, enjoy fresh fish and tropical fruits... You can experience all this and much more in a jungle lodge. Best of all, you will be accompanied by expert guides who will direct you safely through the thickets of the Amazon.
You'll be overwhelmed by your options. From rustic to luxuriously furnished, a wide variety of jungle lodges awaits guests, so that every taste is catered to.
Special Features of a Jungle Lodge in the Amazon
The Amazon region can be visited year round. However, when planning your trip, keep in mind the constant change between the rainy and dry seasons. Most precipitation falls between January and May. Also, the dry season—from June to December—is hot and humid, but it rains less. Depending on the season there are different conditions for excursions in the rainforest. For example, if you are interested in canoeing, you should plan your stay during the rainy season, as even the smallest rivers carry water and can be navigated.
Depending on the jungle lodge, you can choose between two- to eight-day trips. The more nights you book, the cheaper the daily rate. Unlike in normal hotels, the price includes food and lodging, as well as excursions with experienced guides.
Before you leave for your jungle lodge, remember to pack mosquito repellent, sunscreen with a high SPF, a hat and sunglasses. Light-colored clothing repels mosquitoes and should therefore also be packed in your luggage with long sleeves and long pants. At the Rio Negro, simple insect repellent is sufficient; but at the Rio Solimões, something more potent should be used to keep annoying mosquitoes away. As a rule, you are allowed to bring 22 lbs (10 kg) per person to the lodge. A yellow fever vaccination administered at least ten days before the trip is also recommended.
Transfer to the jungle lodge takes place from the airport or hotel in Manaus by vans and boats. Once you arrive at your destination, some special features await you. Even though we have come to depend on certain necessities in everyday life, electricity, internet and hot water are not available around the clock in a jungle lodge. Furthermore, mobile phones usually have no reception. So say goodbye to the supposed comforts of modern life and concentrate on the exciting world of the Amazon. This time is a real blessing!
You can look forward to typical meals. In the morning, freshly sliced local fruits are served with your coffee. At noon and in the evening, local fish such as tambaqui and pirarucu is available.
A night safari is naturally part of a jungle lodge experience. After sunset, the guides prepare boats to take their guests on an impressive journey through the night. Equipped with lanterns, they steer you through the surrounding waters. A multitude of supposed red lights accompanies the way. These are the eyes of caimans, which appear on the surface at night. In the trees, you may be lucky to spot snakes and jaguars. The best chances of success are during the dry season.
To enter the world of the Amazon, you will be taken on a boat trip right at the beginning of your journey. With a motorboat, the guide will drive you through rivers in the surroundings of the jungle lodge and explain everything worth knowing about the flora and fauna. In this way, your senses are directly sharpened to the wonders of nature. You'll often see pink river dolphins.
A canoe expedition is well suited for tracking down rare tree and bird species. Without engine noise, you are more likely to spot shy animals. You paddle with your guide along small waterways. The view upwards seldom allows sunlight to enter, that's how dense and high the plants grow. Canoe tours can only be undertaken during the rainy season, when the water level is sufficiently high.
Sleeping in the Jungle
Nothing is more adventurous than spending the night in the jungle under the open sky. From your jungle lodge, you'll march off with your guide. Before sunset, you will set up camp, erect temporary huts and light a campfire, where dinner is warmed up. Many species in the Amazon are nocturnal. Now you will get the chance to spot some of them. An example would be the jaguar, a very popular photo motif. Even if it sounds dangerous, rest assured. To date, no accidents have been reported.
Fishing may not be one of your hobbies at home. Nevertheless, you should try it in this setting. User-friendly fishing rods and handmade lures are the tools needed to get to work. A special highlight in Brazil is piranha fishing. In the dry season, more fish are caught in the net.
Visit Indigenous Communities
The indigenous peoples traditionally living in the Amazon region call themselves Ribeirinhas. During a visit to a community, the locals tell you about their everyday life and legends. With typical ingredients of the region, including local fruits and fish, they will prepare lunch or afternoon coffee for you.
Encontro das Águas
A stopover at the Encontro das Águas (Meeting of the Waters) is either part of arrival or departure. With different speed, temperature and acidity, the dark Rio Negro and the light Rio Solimões flow about 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) side by side, before they unite in the Amazon River. Dip your own hands into the water and feel the warmth of the Rio Negro compared to the cooler Rio Solimões.
Our Jungle Lodge Favorites
Many good jungle lodges attract guests. Nevertheless, we do have our favorites.
If you prefer something luxurious and stylish, Anavilhanas jungle lodge is the right place for you. The rooms are tastefully and elegantly furnished and the spring box beds are comfortable and equipped with high-quality sheets and goose feather pillows. The water from the showerheads is high pressure. From the bedroom you can see the rainforest, thanks to glass walls. A viewpoint extending 49 feet (15 meters) high opens a panoramic view over the Anavilhanas Archipelago. The swimming pool almost touches the Rio Negro. Small general stores and souvenir shops even make shopping in the jungle possible.
The Uakari Lodge is located in the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve. On more than one million hectares there are numerous opportunities to see monkeys or jaguars. Bird watchers and researchers are particularly attracted to the reserve. From the verandas and windows of the rooms, you can admire the confluence of the two rivers and the exuberant flora of the jungle. Hot showers are available twelve hours a day. The jungle lodge is managed by a friendly and competent team of biologists and guides.
The Amazon Turtle Lodge is a little more rustic. Inaugurated at the end of 2010, this jungle lodge is located on the Rio Mamori and is committed to sustainable tourism. If you would like to get to know the Amazon in its original state, you will certainly feel at home here.
If you are planning to go to the Amazon region, choosing among the many lodges will certainly not be easy. The options are too diverse and attractive. The Aventura do Brasil team would be more than happy to advise you in planning your trip to Brazil.