Awapé Amazon Cruise
Intimate, Action-Packed Cruising in Brazil's Remote Amazon
Awapé: Remote Brazilian Amazon: Photos
The Awapé combines adventure, ecology and comfort. With special authorization to operate in some of the most remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon and a well-trained and very experienced crew, she is able to undertake thrilling itineraries of up to ten days, that offer incredible scenery, wonderful wildlife-spotting opportunities, and constant adventure activities.
The Awapé has been inspired by the traditional charm of caboclo culture - the European-Indian racial mix that has arisen along the Amazon, and developed a distinct set of customs and practices. So the boat draws on their boat-building tradition, the cuisine is rich in local ingredients and influence, and the itinerary visits and supports Amazon riverside communities.
The three-cabin boat is rustic and cosy, with room for only eight passengers, but still boasts all modern amenities. So, all cabins are air-conditioned and with private facilities; and there are three inviting public areas for relaxation and socialising ... and meal times!
And if you wish to include a dose of adventure amongst all the beautiful scenery and wildlife, then the Awapé can offer tree climbing, jungle hikes, parasailing, inflatable tubes and piranha fishing.
Please note that the Awapé is the sister ship of the larger Jacaré-Açu. When a departure has more than eight passengers, the Jacaré-Açu is used.
N.B. A pre-arranged visa is required by holders of US, Canadian and Australian passports, among others, in order to enter Brazil. Ask us for more details.
8-Day Amazon Riverboat Cruise: Jauaperi River - Xixuaú Reserve
This eight-day trip has as its goal the little-visited Xixuaú Reserve. Located some 500 km (300 miles) from Manaus, along the Jauaperi River, the Reserve covers around 200,000 hectares of intact primary forest and crystalline waters, protected and conserved by its local inhabitants. It is home to rare animals, that are safe from poaching and undisturbed by boat motors, and exuberant vegetation, that thrives in the rich soil.
Along the way, we will enjoy the highlights of the Rio Negro, including the Anavilhanas Archipelago, as well as a number of fascinating outposts of human settlement.
This tour is ideal for those looking for an in-depth Amazon experience with close contact to seldom-seen wildlife.
Day 1: Manaus - Novo Airão - Anavilhanas
(Lunch & Dinner)
This morning at 9am we pick you up from your hotel or the airport in an air-conditioned van, and drive to the riverside town of Novo Airão. We arrive here at lunch time, and give you a briefing on the Amazon's biology, history and the things you may see, along the way.
After boarding the Awapé, we start sailing through the spectacular Anavilhanas Archipelago while enjoying our first delicious lunch on board.
In the afternoon, we take a ride on the motorised canoes through the islands and lagoons of the archipelago. This is an area rich in wildlife, and we hope to see two species of river dolpin, as well as multiple species of birds, such as herons, egrets, macaws, parrots, caciques, oropendolas and jacamars
To cool off, there is the chance to jump overboard for a refreshing swim in the Rio Negro.
Once back on board, we set sail for Madadá Observatory, and have a relaxed, tasty dinner.
Day 2: Anavilhanas: Madadá
After breakfast, we make a three hour round-trip hike through virgin rainforest to Madadá Caves, with our guides spotting and explaining the flora and fauna as we progress.
We then visit an Amazon farmhouse to learn about local customs, farming techniques and crops.
In the late morning, we have another chance to cool off in the Rio Negro, using inflatable tubes.
After lunch on board, we take the canoes to an indigenous riverside community, where the locals speak Yanomami and Tukano, and have fascinating centuries-old customs.
Once back on the boat we set sail to Sleepy Beach, on the Rio Jau, where we will anchor for the night. Around the beach campfire, we can share stories and learn more about the way of life of the Amazon's settlers.
Day 3: Jau National Park
This morning we sail to the Jaú National Park Warden Station, and then along the Rio Jaú, a river of mirror-like waters, with likely sightings of aquatic mammals and birds.
The Park consists of three major rivers - Unini to the North, Carabinani to the South and Jau in the middle - along with countless smaller black water tributariess. The water level varies drastically during the course of the year and the igapó forest found near the waterways can be flooded for up to eight months of the year. This type of forest is tropical and humid, with as many as 200 species per hectare.
In the rainy season, we moor the boat and take the canoes through the Park’s creeks, looking for families of Giant Otters.
In the dry season, we explore the Rio Pauini River, a tributary filled with boulders and waterfalls.
We will certainly spot a samauma tree, the largest species on the Rio Negro, growing to over 40m (130ft).
Day 4: Rio Negro - Rio Jauaperi
This morning, we sail past Encosta dos Passaros (Birdwatcher's Hill) to the village of Moura, where we moor for a brief visit and to stock up on supplies.
Once back on board, we leave the Rio Negro and sail up the Rio Jauaperi to Gaspar Igarapé, a model alternative community based on environmental education and the maintenance of local Amazon culture.
The next stop is at the village of Samaúma, where we can buy high quality local arts and crafts made from locally-sourced wood, seeds, and reeds.
Finally, around sunset, we arrive at the village of Xixuaú where we moor for the night.
Day 5: Xixuaú Reserve
After breakfast, we visit the village of Xixuaú to get to know the area and its inhabitants.
We then take to the water, in small canoes, paddled by local guides, to observe bird and aquatic mammal life in the lakes and river beaches of the area. Among the species we are likely to see are river otters, dolphins, toucans, and howler monkeys searching for fruit in the flooded forest. Their call is unmistakable!
Day 6: Xixuaú Reserve
Before breakfast we go looking for black caiman along the river banks, near Xixuaú village.
After breakfast, we begin a jungle expedition that culminates in an optional night camping in the rainforest. We begin by navigating in our expedition canoes through narrow creeks filled with crystalline water. Here we can snorkel to observe the aquatic life.
On arrival at the campsite, our guides give us a short jungle survival course, showing us how to construct a shelter using the resources to be found in the area.
The area is great for spotting wildlife, both in daylight and after dark. So, after dinner, we go in search of caiman and other nocturnal animals, using flashlights. We also try our hand at spear fishing, which is an essential local technique for finding food.
The rest of the evening can be spent around the campfire, hearing about the legendary creatures of the rainforest – such as Mapinguary, Matinta-Perêra and Curupira - before we retire to our hammocks for the night.
Day 7: Xixuaú - Rio Jauaperi - Rio Negro
For those that camped in the rainforest, the day starts with the sound of the jungle - and especially its birdlife and primates - waking up. Breakfast will be at the camp, before return to Xixuaú village, looking out for wildlife along the way.
Once back in Xixuaú, we have a farewell gathering in the village maloca, a traditional Amazon longhouse, before we board the Awape again to begin the journey back to Novo Airão.
The rest of the day is spent on board, as we sail back down the Rio Negro: a chance to relax, eat, talk about what we've seen and enjoy the views passing by from the sun deck.
We continue sailing through the night.
Day 8: Novo Airão
(Breakfast & Lunch)
We should arrive in Novo Airão at around 10am, where we have time for a city tour to see the ship-building, the craftsmanship and other attractions of this Amazon River town. Pink river dolphins can regularly be seen in the river near the town.
We have a farewell lunch on board, before taking the van back to Manaus, arriving at approximately 6pm.
9-Day Amazon River Cruise: Upper Rio Negro
The Upper Rio Negro is one of the most pristine and beautiful areas of the Amazon, home to a number of proud indigenous cultures and physical attractions. On this nine-day cruise, we sail down the Rio Negro, all the way from Santa Isabel to Nova Airao, taking in riverside mountains, historic towns, river islands and beaches, boulder gardens and waterfalls along the way. And all the time, we will be accompanied by the spectacular Amazon flora and fauna.
This itinerary is for those looking for a deep Amazon experience, with plenty of contact and interaction with the traditional inhabitants of the region, and lots of opportunities to enjoy the river and its surroundings.
Day 1: Manaus - Santa Isabel - Upper Rio Negro
(Lunch & Dinner)
This morning, we take a commercial aircraft from Manaus to Santa Isabel, a city in the north of the state of Amazonas, where most inhabitants are of indigenous Amazon descent.
We take a guided tour of the town, and then have lunch at a local restaurant. We then take a short motorboat ride to get to the port of Camanaus, where the Awapé is anchored, negotiating some rapids along the way.
Once safely installed in our cabins, we begin sailing on the upper Rio Negro, and have our first delicious meal on board.
Day 2: Pedral do Jacare - Rio Yanuri
This area of the upper Rio Negro is known for its rock formations, and we see the iconic Pedral do Jacaré (Caiman Rock), so-named for its resemblance to the head of a caiman.
The region is also recognised for the wealth of indigenous culture, and so today we spend time in Yanomami territory, meeting locals and learning about their customs and subsistence agriculture. For the energetic, there may be the chance to join a game of soccer or volleyball with the kids of the village!
After lunch, we boat and hike to Yanuri Waterfall, where there is a chance to snorkel to see the indigenous fish species up close.
We then visit the communities of Tessado and Jacamin, to understand further what life in the Amazon rainforest entails.
Day 3: Baré Territory
Today we are in the territory of the Baré, who have distinct customs, language and lifestyle. We meet some of the people, and also enjoy the wonderful environment, especially the river beaches that abound, which are great places to relax, swim and spot wildlife.
We will use the expedition boats to explore the rivers and lagoons, all the time spotting and learning about the flora and fauna.
After dark, we can do some fishing off the side, as well as look for nocturnal animals.
If we coincide with a local festival, we will join in, later in the evening.
Day 4: Ariranha Mountains
Today, we hike to the highpoint of the area, in the Ariranha Mountains. It is only 250m / 820ft high, but affords wonderful views of the surrounding rainforest and its birdlife, as well as having a different eco-system.
For those that want, there is the option of some exercise or meditation on the summit.
Finally, we watch the sun set over the Rio Negro jungle, before descending back to the Awapé for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Pedral do Tucurane
This beautiful region of river islands, rapids, waterfalls and riverside communities is our focus today. First we visit the historic site of São Augustine, with its ruins of a Colonial tower, built at the beginning of the 20th Century by a prominent local family, the Jandiras.
We also use the motorized canoes for exploration of the beaches and streams, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the enchanting Amazon River Otter.
Along the way, we pay a visit to the local communities of Tacara and Boa Esperanca, where we can see the local handicrafts being made, much of it from palm fibers.
In the evening, we make another nocturnal canoe tour to spot the wildlife that comes out after dark.
Day 6: Barcelos & Middle Rio Negro
This morning, we visit Barcelos, the former capital of Amazonas state, which has a real warmth and charm, as well as a fascinating history and tradition of handicrafts.
As we sail through the Mariuá Archipelago, the world's largest collection of river islands, we make stops to swim and explore.
At dusk, we take our places at a roost where a colony of parrots, numbering in the thousands, return for the night in an exhilarating - and noisy - spectacle.
Day 7: Mariuá Archipelago & Ecological Sanctuary
We continue sailing through the Mariuá Archipelago, today, making some fascinating stops along the way, firstly at the Amazon village of Carvoeiro, and then at a 'meeting of the waters' between the black water of the Rio Negro and the brown of the Rio Branco.
Here also is an example of the Giant Kapok, the tallest tree in the region.
Day 8: Jaú National Park
This morning we sail along the Rio Jaú, a tributary of the Rio Negro with mirror-like waters and likely sightings of aquatic mammals and birds.
A definite highlight of the area, in the dry season, is the Rio Pauini, a smaller tributary filled with boulders and waterfalls. Here we can swim, canoe, float in inflatables, and picnic on the bank, in a wonderful setting.
Day 9: Lower Rio Negro - Novo Airão - Manaus
(Breakfast & Lunch)
Today we continue sailing through the Anavilhanas Archipelago to Novo Airão. On the way, we may have the chance to swim Pink River Dolphins. A real highlight.
Once back in Novo Airão, we take a city tour to see the ship-building, the craftsmanship and other attractions of this Amazon River town. There is also the option to visit the Aromboia Serpentarium.
We have a farewell lunch on board, before taking the van back to Manaus, arriving at approximately 6pm.
10-Day Amazon River Cruise: Aracá Mountains
This ten-day itinerary is an epic Amazon expedition to see the highest waterfall in Brazil, El Dorado, located in the remote tabletop mountain range of Aracá State Park, in the High Rio Negro region. With five nights spent camping in the mountains, this trip is for the adventurous traveler who wishes to see the remarkable geology and wildlife of an area which receives very little tourism on account of its remote location.
There is still plenty of time to relax on board the comfortable Awapé as she makes her way along the Rio Negro and her tributaries to and from civilization.
NB. Owing to the remoteness of the region and the reliance on high water levels in order to negotiate the Amazon tributaries, this itinerary is only available from May to August.
Day 1: Manaus - Barcelos - Rio Negro - Aracá River
(Lunch & Dinner)
This morning, we transfer you to the airport for your scheduled 7am flight from Manaus to Barcelos.
On arrival at Barcelos Airport, we welcome you and take you on a tour of the city to explore the former capital of Amazonas state, which has a real warmth and charm, as well as a fascinating history and tradition of native workmanship.
We then board the Awapé, settle into our cabins and meet the crew before setting sail on our expedition to the Aracá Mountain range. As the boat sails through Mariuá, the largest fluvial archipelago in the world, the guide gives an introductory briefing, outlining the itinerary and some of the remarkable geography and biology that we will see. We then have lunch on board.
We continue sailing upstream during the afternoon and evening, reaching the Aracá River. This is a great time to get used to life on board an Amazon cruiseship and enjoy the majestic Amazon scenery and wildlife passing by.
Day 2: Aracá River: Bacuquara - Tauatu
We awake outside Bacuquara, a caboclo community, on the shores of the Aracá River, and after breakfast, we visit the village to meet the locals, and witness some of their customs, such as the grinding of farinha - a flour made from yuca - hunting and fishing, agriculture, and handicrafts.
After our walk, we return to the boat to continue sailing up the Aracá River. We make a stop for a refreshing swim in the sweet river water.
Around sunset, we arrive at Tauatu Creek, where we moor for the night.
Day 3: Tauatu Creek - Seu Anisio - Basecamp One
Breakfast on board, followed by a trip in a motorised canoe through this beautiful creek, with dense vegetation lining the banks, up to the caboclo village of Seu Anisio. Here, we meet the locals and have lunch. The Aracá Mountains are already visible in the distance. They are part of the Guyana Plateau, which is one the oldest geological formations on Earth.
After lunch, we continue by speedboat to Basecamp One, at the foot of the mountain range, where we set up our campsite.
We have dinner round the fire, and then spend the night in our tents surrounded by the unique sounds of the forest after dark.
Day 4: Aracá Mountains: Hike to Basecamp Two
We have breakfast in the camp at daybreak and then begin our medium level hike to the top of the Aracá Mountain range. This takes approximately eight hours, with stops for rest, refreshment, and the observation of flora and fauna. As we go higher, we see a change in the vegetation as the rivers, creeks and flooded forest of the Great Amazonian Plain give way to the ancient rocks and waterfalls of the Guyana Plateau.
On arrival at Basecamp Two, at the top of the mountain we set up our tents, and have a hearty dinner around the camp fire.
Day 5: Aracá Mountains: El Dorado Waterfall
We awake to fantastic views from atop the Aracá Mountain range, and have breakfast.
We then hike a short distance to a waterfall lookout to appreciate the 200m (656 ft) drop and the beautiful landscape.
We then make the three hour hike to El Dorado Waterfall, the biggest in Brazil, which has 353m (1,158 ft) of free falling water, and a true highlight of the tour.
We have a picnic lunch in the area, and time to relax and explore, before returning to Basecamp Two for the night.
Day 6: Aracá Mountains: Boto Waterfall & Parima Lake
Today is planned as a buffer day, in case logistical or climactic conditions have made it impossible to reach El Dorado Waterfall on Day 5.
If all has gone smoothly, there are some very nice, relaxed options for the day. There is an easy trail to Boto Waterfall, which is approximately 200 meters (656 ft) high. And we can have a leisurely swim in Parima Lake.
We spend the night back at Basecamp 2, with dinner and chat around the camp fire.
Day 7: Aracá Mountains: Basecamp Two - Basecamp One
After breakfast, we begin the hike back down to Basecamp One, making the usual stops for refreshment, rest, and the observation of flora and fauna.
We have a final night's camping at Basecamp One.
Day 8: Tauatu - Aracá River
From Basecamp One, we make the journey by motorised canoe to the mouth of the Tauatu creek, where our boat is anchored.
Once back on board, we begin sailing downstream to Novo Airao.
Tonight, we have a special group dinner on board to celebrate our achievement of seeing the El Dorado Waterfall.
Day 9: Rio Negro
Today we sail down the Rio Negro, making stops along the way for canoe excursions and river swimming.
Day 10: Rio Negro - Novo Airão - Manaus
Having sailed through the Anavilhanas Archipelago, we arrive in Novo Airão, where there is the chance to swim with Pink River Doplhins. We also take a city tour to see the ship-building, the craftsmanship and other attractions of this Amazon River town
We have a last lunch on board before disembarking to travel by air-conditioned van to Manaus airport or a hotel.
Brazil Amazon Tour Prices: Awapé
8-Day Amazon River Cruise: Jauaperi River - Xixuaú Reserve:
~ Per Person: $2,199
9-Day Amazon River Cruise: Rio Negro Alto:
~ Per Person: $2,599 (excludes flight to Santa Isabel)
10-Day Amazon River Cruise: Arana Mountains:
~ Per Person: $3,299 (May-Aug only & excludes flight to Barcelos)
- All prices listed are PER PERSON in DOUBLE OCCUPANCY Cabins
- Published Prices for 2013 Amazon Cruises only
- Single Supplement 50% in addition to adult rate
- 7 year minimum age on all departures
- Children under 11 years of age receive a 20% discount
- All Meals
- Expert, bilingual guides and excursions
- Individual Travel Insurance
- International or Domestic Airfares
- Airport Taxes
- Cost of medical emergencies, including evacuation
- Souvenirs or additional services
- Cost of relevant visas
- Anything else not listed as included
The Awapé is also available for charter:
1 to 4 passengers: $1,399 per day
5 to 8 passengers: $1,599 per day
Awapé Amazon Cruiseship Specifications
The regional, wooden style of the Awapé gives the sensation of traveling in a line boat like the natives in the region, but with more comfort, and security.
Type of vessel: River vessel
Port of Embarkation: City of Novo Airão
Vessel Registry: Brazil
Length: 18m / 59ft
Beam: 4.7m / 15ft
Capacity: 8 passengers
Crew: 5 including naturalist guide
Electricity: Bank of Batteries for conversion of 12V to 110V, offering energy without noise
Cruising Speed: 10mph / 16kph
Water: Mineral water used for all cooking and drinking.
Waste: 1,500 liter septic tank
Communication & Navigation: GPS, Sonar, Radar, Amateur Radio, Nautical maps
Launch Boats: Rowboats or motorized canoes are used depending on excursion needs
- Private Bathroom
- High-quality Bedding
- Showers do not have hot water
- Solarium with a shower, cooler, barbecue, telescope, tables, seats and hammocks
- Living / Dining room with thematic library
Equipment on board:
- Fridge & Freezer
- Drinking Fountain (with purified water)
- Inflatable rafts and accessories for river and waterfall visits
- Parasailing equipment
- Tree Climbing equipment
- Fishing equipment
- First Aid Kit
- Card Games & Board Games
- Powerful Flashlight for night excursions
- Equipment for nights in the jungle
- Three per day
- Local & International Cuisine
- All meals cooked using purified water
- Snacks, soft drinks & mineral water available 24/7
- Various dietary requirements catered for: eg Vegetarian & Low Fat
Amazon Cruiseship Awapé: 8-Day Itinerary Departure Dates:
~ Sat, 23rd - Sat, 30th March
~ Sat, 13th - Sat, 20th April
~ Sun, 7th - Sun, 14th July
~ Sat, 17th - Sat, 24th Aug
~ Sun, 1st - Sun, 8th Sept
~ Sat, 28th Sept - Sat, 5th Oct
Amazon Cruiseship Awapé: 9-Day Itinerary Departure Dates:
~ Sat, 14th - Sun, 22nd Sept
~ Sat, 12th - Sun, 20th Oct
~ Sat, 7th - Sun, 15th Dec
Amazon Cruiseship Awapé: 10-Day Itinerary Departure Dates:
~ Sat 25th May - Mon, 3rd June
~ Sat 22nd June - Mon, 1st July
~ Sat 20th - Mon, 29th July
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