As the world’s largest tropical forest, the Amazon Rainforest covers 40% of the South American continent. The majority of this impressive forest is found in Brazil.
Brazil is also where you find most of the Amazon River. However, in Brazil note that the river is locally known as the Rio Solimões.
Brazil is also home to the city of Manaus, which is the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest and the gateway from where many visitors enter the Amazon Rainforest and begin their Amazon River cruise.
We will mention more about this Amazon city further down.
To experience the Amazon for the best experience of the incredible wildlife and environment, choose a small group river cruise that offers guided excursions into the rainforest.
The excursions will mainly be on small boats called skiffs and also short walking tours. This means you make the most of the rainforest and can visit the best areas for seeing monkeys, toucans, parrots, giant rainforest trees, delicate orchids and many more Amazonian animals and plants.
Manaus is the main gateways to the Amazon. However, as this is a very large city the wildlife-rich rainforest is deep in the rainforest.
This means the best way to access wildlife-rich rainforest from Manaus is on a multi-day cruise taking you to areas of uninhabited rainforest where the wildlife is still in abundance.
The recommended time to spend on cruise is 5 to 7-days, which allows you time to get to the area of wildlife-rich rainforest, time to explore the area to enjoy fantastic animals and plant sightings and time to return in comfort.
One of the best places for an Amazon River cruise in Brazil is on the Amazon’s largest tributary, the Rio Negro. This is accessed from Manaus and is a river of nutrient-rich black water feeding the surrounding rainforest.
Enjoy spotting different monkeys in the rainforest, such as squirrel monkeys and capuchins, parrots and many different birds, impressive rainforest trees and flowering plants.
As you explore the forest, you will see parrots and toucans flying over your head and even resting in different trees.
Manaus is the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest. This is also an industrial hub for Brazil and with its size seems like any other world city. When walking the streets, it’s hard to imagine that you’re in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest.
One of the most spectacular sights in Manaus itself is the Amazon Theatre. The theatre was built during the rubber boom, which is when rubber from the Amazon grew Manaus to a prosperous rubber boom city.
The theatre was built to symbolize this prosperity and was made with the finest materials the world could provide. For the construction, Italian marble, Scottish steel and French glass was used. You can still enjoy fantastic concerts and performances in the heart of the Amazon.
In addition to the theatre, another main attraction is to head out for a boat trip to see the meeting of the waters. This is where the Rio Negro merges with the Amazon River (Rio Solimões). The two rivers run side by side for 4 miles (6 km). The rivers don’t immediately mix due to differences in velocity and density. The color difference then creates a visual spectacle.
Although there are different attractions in Manaus itself, the best thing to do from Manaus is to head out on a multi-day Amazon cruise to see the incredible Amazon Rainforest that surrounds the city.
The Best Time to visit the Brazilian Amazon
As this is a tropical environment, there are no seasons common to temperate areas. Instead, there is simply a wet and drier season and it is probably better to think of the high-water and low-water months.
The temperature in the rainforest stays quite constant and is between 86 – 91°F (30 – 33°C) during the day. Note that the largest temperature difference in tropical regions isn’t between months but between day and night. Nights get down to around 72°F (22°C).
The high water season in the Manaus region is from February to August. This is a great time to get deep into the forest aboard cruises, as the skiffs will take you down the waterways scouting for wildlife. The lower water season outside this window is then better for more forest walks.
The wet weather months are when the forest fruits and flowers. This is a great time to see different wildlife feeding from the abundant food supply. You can see different monkeys and colorful birds, such as parrots and toucans feeding from berries and palm nuts.
Although many people try to find the best time to visit Manaus or the Brazilian Amazon, the forest is a fantastic place to visit no matter the season. There are pros and cons no matter when you travel and wildlife can be seen throughout the year.
The most important consideration for your visit is the tour you choose, as it’s the guide’s knowledge, location and service that will lead to the best experience.
The Tucano Expedition Cruise
The Tucano Expedition Cruise is a highly rated expedition cruise from Manaus to explore the wildlife-rich rainforest of the Rio Negro.
The Tucano vessel was styled as a 19th Century steamship giving an elegant and historic experience of the Amazon Rainforest.
Aboard the Tucano, you will explore part of a UNESCO recognised 6-million-hectare protected region of Brazil’s tropical forest. The area of this protected mosaic you will explore is known as the Anavilhanas National Park.
You will be led by skilled naturalist guides through the wildlife-rich rainforest and will learn a little about the forest. Many of the guides grew up in the rainforest region and are the best people for guiding and teaching a little about the region.
Aboard the Tucano Expedition Cruise vessel, you will find 9 comfortable cabins. These have double beds and some cabins contain above and below bunk beds. All of the cabins have private bathrooms with a shower, toilet and sink.
There are many windows throughout the vessel to keep you connected with this incredible environment. The vessel is also air-conditioned to make sure you are comfortable on your voyage. The Tucano is then decorated inside with elegant wooden panelling and timber flooring.
Each morning, your friendly guide will lead you into wildlife-rich rainforest aboard launches to find birdlife and waking monkeys. You won’t stay in one area on your cruise, but will travel to several rainforest regions to scout for new animals and plants.
When back aboard the Tucano, you will enjoy delicious meals. Although not gourmet cuisine, meals are freshly prepared, delicious, nutritious and filling.
When the vessel is moving, you can explore the observation deck for rainforest views. This is also a great place to relax with a drink in the Amazonian sun.
In addition to incredible wildlife, this region of Amazonia is known for its beautiful scenery. Along the Rio Negro, you will see many river islands, flooded rainforest and black water, which reflects the surrounding trees and sky.
As well as land-living animals, the waters here include manatees, caiman, giant arapaima fish, and an incredible diversity of fish.
The Tucano offers a fantastic experience for couples, solo travelers, groups and families. There are also specific family excursions for families with children.
Although all excursions are family friendly, on these specific family excursions the narrative and itinerary is changed slightly to be more engaging for children. Note that children 12-years and younger who share a room with an adult receive a 50% discount aboard the Tucano.
There are two different cruise options for regular departures available aboard the Tucano:
You can choose the 5-day or th 7-day cruise options. Although not as comprehensive as the 7-day option, the 5-day option offers a fantastic experience of the Amazon Rainforest if you have less time available.
Enjoy daytime and evening expeditions traveling down narrow streams winding deep into the jungle. Explore areas of the rainforest rarely visited by other vessels. The design of the Tucano allows it to get deeper into the rainforest. Visit rainforest communities and incredible wildlife of the Brazilian Amazon.