Spanish tour operator Iberostar is offering a unique four-day cruise through the Amazon on a luxury five-star cruiser, sure to be an unforgettable experience.
More like a hotel than a boat, the liner offers 72 rooms, two suites, a gym, first aid center, gift shop, library, and two bars.
The all-inclusive cruise begins in Manaus, a Brazilian riverport nestled between the Negro and Solimoes Rivers. The most populous city of the Amazonas department, Manaus was known at the turn of the 20th century as Heart of the Amazon, and City of the Forest. What better place to begin a foray into the jungle?
The cruise will wind through the jungle along the Solimoes River near the triple border of Colombia, Brazil and Peru.
Upon boarding, crew members greet the 150 guests with a smile and guarana juice, similar to lulo. A wide staircase leads to the staterooms, which leave nothing to be desired: soft beds, satellite TV, air conditioning, and a balcony where guests can sit back and watch the sun set over the jungle.
While enjoying the jacuzzi or splashing in the pool, guests can while away the hours as the jungle chirrups and squawks and the river murmurs past. For those so inclined, deck chairs are available to sit back, catch some sun and watch the flooded forest, which is constant at this time of year. If guests don’t feel like making their way down to the first floor to grab a bite to eat, all kinds of snacks and fast food can be served on deck, washed down with a refreshing Brazilian Brahama beer or two.
Evenings can be spent contemplating the starry sky or listening to the raucous jungle symphony as the nocturnal creatures make themselves known.
However, it is not all about the cruise: guests can also venture out into the jungle for an up-close and personal encounter. Speedboats collect guests from the liner and zoom through a floating maze of flora to a forest clearing, where guests set off for a jungle tour. Be warned though: at 40 degrees celsius in the shade, and stiflingly humid, the jungle climate is not for everybody. Guides will share legends of the area and demonstrate quirks of the Amazonas wildlife.
And once the steamy jungle foray is complete, lunch awaits at the liner’s Kuarup restaurant where the house specialty is served: pirarucú fish accompanied with cassava flour and a salad.
After lunch, the braver of the guests can indulge in some piranha fishing, or meet an indigenous family from the village of Yanacuamá, who will aptly demonstrate that the Brazilian fervor for football doesn’t stop at the jungle’s borders. And then finally, back to Manaus for a farewell party where, amongst the revelry, and the constant caipirinha toasts, guests are welcomed back onto dry land.
IF YOU GO
Colombian citizens do not need visas to visit Brazil, just a valid passport and a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Other nationalities should check the Brazilian consulate’s website for more information.
One night on board costs between US$375 and US$1,100 depending on room type.
In June Brazilian Gol Airlines began operating a direct flight between Bogota and Manaus, departing Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 8:30 pm. Tickets cost approximately US$300.