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Tucano Cruise

The Amazon Rainforest covers half of the South American continent and crosses nine nations. Of this vast forest, the majority is found within Brazil’s borders with Peru containing the next highest amount.

With so much of Amazonia, Brazil is a fantastic place for an Amazon Rainforest tour. The best tours take you to areas far from the main cities to explore undisturbed forest with the most animals and plants. You can then enjoy guided expeditions from cruises or rainforest lodges to enjoy incredible wildlife experiences.

When choosing your Amazon Rainforest tour in Brazil, it’s worth pointing out the differences between a cruise and a lodge.

Expedition cruises take you from the vessel on guided rainforest expeditions. The benefits of a cruise are that you visit several different areas. This may increase the chance of seeing different wildlife at certain times of year.

The benefits of a rainforest lodge are that you can fully explore one area. The lodge’s location is usually chosen for high wildlife sightings with the best views. Often, the lodges are near different natural attractions, such as Amazonian lakes, macaw claylicks or tall emergent trees. The guides are also very familiar with the area and know the best spots to maximize your experience.

Generally, visitors feel a lodge stay offers more connection with the forest whereas a cruise allows a more hotel-like environment to return to after rainforest tours. A lodge also allows a little more flexibility with your itinerary and a cruise can be a more comfortable way of exploring.

As for how many days to choose, note that the longer you spend in the rainforest the more wildlife opportunities you will have.

Time is also linked to how far into the rainforest you are able to go. Short tours of one to three days often take you to areas of damaged forest with less wildlife (but there are exceptions). If you would like the best experience of Amazonia, we recommend a tour of a week or more into areas of rainforest rich with animals and plants.

Brazil’s Northern Amazon Rainforest

A main gateway for the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest is Manaus in the country’s north. Manaus is the largest city in the Amazon Rainforest and a major industrial hub for the country.

From Manaus, you can enjoy fantastic cruises deep into Amazonia to experience the rainforest. This is where the Amazon River meets with the Rio Negro, which is the largest tributary of the Amazon. The meeting of the waters is an attraction in its own right as the dark water of the Rio Negro runs side-by-side with the sediment-rich Amazon River. The rivers don’t merge for nearly 4 miles (6 km) due to differences in the water’s speed and viscosity, which creates a visual spectacle popular for day tours from the city.

The Tucano Expedition Cruise

Aboard the Tucano Expedition Cruise, you will explore the rainforest of the Rio Negro and areas out of reach of many other vessels. You will cruise the forest, take naturalist guided rainforest walks, guided skiff tours down the waterways and kayaking adventures.

On guided expeditions from the main vessel, your guide will be helping you to spot different birds, mammals and interesting plants.

The Tucano vessel itself is styled as a 19th Century steamship. Although not a luxury cruise, the Tucano provides a comfortable way to explore Amazonia and meals prepared with fresh ingredients. Guests often comment that meals are delicious, wholesome and filling.

Tucano Cruise, Anavilhanas National Park, Manaus, Brazil

There are 9 comfortable cabins, which include most with individual beds and some with bunk beds dependent on guest preference and availability. All of the cabins then have private bathrooms with a shower, toilet and sink. The bathrooms are also equipped with hot water pressurized showers.

Throughout the Tucano vessel, there are 76 large windows to keep you connected to the rainforest. These can also be opened. However, all cabins and the salon are air conditioned to keep you comfortable on your river cruise.

While exploring the vessel, you will see the elegant decor. The cabins and salon are decorated with raised, varnished panelling with polished timber flooring.

On the top deck of the Tucano, you can find the observation deck. This is a great place for relaxing while watching the rainforest pass by and for observing the Milky Way of an evening.

Brazil’s Southern Amazon Rainforest

Accessed from the town of Alta Floresta in Brazil’s southern rainforest, the Cristalino Reserve is home to 586 different bird species and offers a birder’s and nature lover’s paradise. Living within the reserve are several different monkeys, toucans, macaw parrots, giant river otters, delicate orchids and tall emergent trees.

When exploring the rainforest on guided Cristalino Lodge expeditions, you will see many different Amazon plants and animals. As an example, Kew Gardens studied the Cristalino Reserve and found 1,361 different plants, including five new to science. Some of the larger animals are even found nowhere else on Earth. This is partly because the region is at the crossroads of Amazonia and the Pantanal wetlands, which is another wildlife rich region.

The Cristalino Lodge

Tours from the very comfortable Cristalino Lodge include guided rainforest walks and kayaking the waterways with your guide.

As you walk the trails, your guide will help keep an eye out for Amazon Rainforest animals and plants. See curious monkeys, giant river otters and brightly colored macaw parrots. However, it is not just the Amazon’s wildlife that offers an attraction, as the night sky reveals the Milky Way in stunning detail.

Cristalino Lodge, Brazil

Located in Brazil’s southern rainforest, the Cristalino Lodge is positioned in a giant area of protected rainforest. Next to the 84,900 hectare Cristalino State Park and part of a protected mosaic of over 2 million hectares of Amazon Rainforest, the lodge is found within the wildlife-rich Cristalino Reserve.

The reserve contains an impressive diversity of animals and plants. This is where the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew found over 1,300 different plants. There are also animals and plants only found in this area of rainforest. Studies in the area have also revealed one of the highest diversities of birds in the eastern Amazon.

Of the wildlife you can see on tours from the comfortable Cristalino Lodge, enjoy spotting different monkeys, colorful birds like toucans and parrots, giant river otters, delicate orchids and tall emergent trees.

The trails around the Cristalino Lodge have been carefully chosen to show off the best areas of forest for interesting trees, the best areas for wildlife and for scenic views. Not only heading out on trail walk, you will also explore the rainforest on canoe tours to access other areas.

There are also two giant canopy towers at the Cristalino Lodge to observe the rainforest canopy and to spot the many different rainforest birds. See parrots, toucans and birds of prey flying high over the canopy.

The lodge offers a small number of very comfortable rooms, a restaurant for delicious cuisine, and the Cristalino Lodge bar. You can also enjoy the floating deck where you can relax with rocking chairs, hammocks, parasols, and tables.

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The Cristalino Lodge

Alta Floresta, Brazil

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Ash - Author & Travel Advisor About the Author: Ash Card is a frequent visitor to the Amazon and has a passion for helping visitors get the best experiences from tropical destinations. Ash has interests including tropical destinations, rainforests and wildlife. Feel free to contact Ash for tour help in the Amazon. When not helping tourists with tours and info, Ash can be found salsa-ing the night away or posing near waterfalls.
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