Brazil Amazon Tours
The Amazon Rainforest is synonymous with Brazil and not surprisingly, we have a fine selection of Brazil Amazon tours to take you there, aboard classically-designed riverboats.
Sixty percent of the Amazon Rainforest is to be found within the borders of Brazil, making it an ideal destination for an Amazon River cruise. Protecting the Brazilian Amazon is crucial to preserving the ethnological and biological integrity of the whole Amazon jungle.
Arguably, no other place is more critical for human survival than the Amazon Rainforest. Almost the size of the continental United States, the Amazon Basin harbors the largest remaining tropical forest on our planet, and, within that harbors nearly one-third of the planet's biodiversity; discharges one-fourth of the planet's freshwater; and plays a key role in global carbon cycles and climate. Moreover, their are numerous indigenous cultures and languages within the rainforest, some of which are still 'uncontacted', that hold centuries of medicinal and botanical wisdom.
Luckily, you can comfortably tour this area by expedition riverboat. Amazon Cruises are available from Manaus or Santarem. Tour the Amazon Ecological Corridor, or Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve, 20 million hectares of protected habitat in the Amazon Plains - Guyana Shield transition area. Experience the natural wonders of the Amazon River in a relaxed yet informed manner; while at the same time making a small economic contribution to the conservation of the Amazon rainforest you are enjoying.
Brazil Amazon cruises are available aboard a range of boats, each with unique characteristics and itineraries. Browse through our selection below to find the ideal Amazon riverboat for your Amazon tour.
Please note that a pre-arranged visa is required by holders of US, Canadian and Australian passports, in order to enter Brazil. Ask us for more details.
Amazon Riverboat Cruises in Brazil
Manaus is the starting point for most Amazon cruises in Brazil. Itineraries range from two to ten days in length, taking in such highlights as the Lago Janauari Ecological Park, the Anavilhanas Archipelago, the Jaú National Park, and the famous Meeting of the Waters.
Further downstream is the city of Santarem, which is another tourist hub on the Amazon River, with cruise itineraries beginning and ending here.
Click on any of the below images to learn more about that particular Amazon riverboat.
Zenith Yacht ~ Luxury Class
The Zenith represents the absolute height of sophisticated luxury. She was built exclusively to offer ecological adventure Amazon river cruise charters to discerning clients, in unrivalled five-star luxury. Every single feature of the yacht - from her high-tech systems to spectacular cabins and a highly-accomplished crew - is designed to make the voyage as secure, comfortable and interesting as possible.
Iberostar Grand Amazon ~ Luxury Class
A luxury 72-cabin vessel with the 5* excellence of the best ocean-going cruise ships, yet exploring the remote Amazon. Conveniences include exclusive bars and restaurants, a wide range of entertainment activities, a conference room, shops, swimming pools, Jacuzzis and a disco.
Guardian Yacht ~ Comfort Class
The Guardian Yacht is a fantastic Amazon cruise charter option for those looking for that something a little bit extra. Operating out of the city of Manaus in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, this 100 ft modernized yacht has mod-cons throughout. It has 6 air-conditioned cabins, all with private facilities catering for up to 16 passengers. The sundeck is a real highlight!
Clipper Premium ~ Comfort Class
The Clipper Premium has 16 cabins and was built to be as comfortable as possible, while still offering a perfect interaction with nature. She has 3 and 4-day itineraries to the Solimoes or Negro Rivers, where the boat's shallow draught allows access to little-visited locations; and the outboard-powered canoes take trips in lagoons, creeks and flooded forest, where wildlife is most abundant.
Otter Premium ~ Comfort Class
The Otter Premium - with 9 cabins - was designed exclusively for cruising on the Amazon River and its tributaries, thereby offering the best small-ship cruising in the Brazilian Amazon. Like her sister ship, the Clipper Premium, she has itineraries of 3 and 4 days to the Solimoes or Negro Rivers, which are perfect for those who wish for a very comfortable experience while still enjoying unsurpassed wildlife-watching opportunities.
Jacaré-Açu ~ Comfort Class
The 8-cabin Jacaré-Açu combines adventure, ecology and comfort. Offering itineraries of up to 10 days Brazil's remote Amazon, this cosy, rustic boat, with its experienced crew, offers incredible scenery, wonderful wildlife-spotting opportunities, and constant adventure activities, such as tree climbing, jungle hikes, parasailing, inflatable tubes and piranha fishing.
Awapé ~ Comfort Class
The Awapé is the smaller sister ship of the Jacaré-Açu and offers the same itineraries in some of the most remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon - combining adventure, ecology and comfort - for smaller groups. Inspired by Amazon boat-building tradition, her 3 cabins can accommodate up to 8 passengers. The cuisine is rich in local ingredients, and the itineraries visit and support riverside communities.
M/Y Tucano ~ Comfort Class
Cruises aboard the Tucano are thoughtful, active, exploratory and every aspect is designed to enable guests to observe the wondrous nature and vibrant culture of Brazil's Amazon. The facilities and nine cabins are slightly more rustic than other Comfort-class cruiseships, but the quality of the guides and itinerary - going deep into the Central Amazon Ecological Corridor - more than compensates.
Amazon Dream ~ Comfort Class
The Amazon Dream operates from the city of Santarem, which is further downstream from Manaus, and offers equally intersting 5, 6 and 10-day itineraries in an area where the white water of the Amazon River meets the blue of the Tapajos. Her classic wooden design, with 9 cabins, and willing crew offer all the necessary comfort and hospitality for a wonderful Amazon experience.
M/V Desafio ~ Comfort Class
The Desafio is a recently-restored, classical schooner that offers old world charm and a comfortable, intimate atmosphere on Brazil's mighty Amazon. With only 12 cabins, the boat is small enough to explore remote areas and for passengers to get to know their fellow travelers; but still spacious enough to provide comfort and casual elegance during her 4-day itineraries from Manaus.
Iracema ~ Comfort Class
The 24-passenger Iracema is the newest of a fleet of six traditional riverboats, family-owned by one of the pioneers of ecotourism, who has operated expeditions in the region since the mid-80s. Built with comfort in mind, and with a wide design and powerful engine, she is ideal for long expeditions, like from Manaus to Belém or Tabatinga.
Victoria Amazonica ~ Comfort Class
With 12 air-conditioned double cabins with private bathrooms, as well as spacious and comfortable public areas, the Victoria Amazonica is an excellent charter for a group of colleagues, family or friends wishing for a comfortable cruise and the flexibility and attention of a personalized itinerary. She has been used for many years by the World Wildlife Fund.
Clipper ~ Budget Class
The Clipper was built with traditional riverboat lines and yet still boasts such comforts and facilities as air-conditioning in its eight cabins, en-suite bathrooms, a covered dining room with bar and library, and a panoramic sundeck. During her 3 and 4-day itineraries, the shallow draught allows visits to remote Amazon lagoons, narrow channels, creeks and flooded forest with incredible bio-diversity.
Lo Peix ~ Budget Class
Lo Peix prides itself on offering adventurous and environmentally-friendly cruises with itineraries away from the busy tourist locations, transporting travelers to wild, unique and sometimes unexplored waterways of the Amazon. It even has 2 day itineraries, ideal for those short on time who want to experience the highlights of Brazil's Amazon region near Manaus.
Manaus is the capital and largest city of the state of Amazonas, in Brazil, situated at the confluence of the rivers Negro and Solimões, 1,936 kilometers (1,203 miles) from the federal capital, Brasília, and serves as a port for the entire region.
It is the largest metropolitan area in Northern Brazil, being home to over two million inhabitants, and the eighth largest city in Brazil.
Manaus has quite a history. It was a small river village during the 1600's, populated mainly by indigenous tribes. Around 1669, because of its strategic presence on two major rivers, Portugal established a small fort in the town. Manaus grew steadily, increasing in importance as a port and, in 1850, it was named the capital of the Amazonas state.
Toward the end of the 19th century, as with Iquitos in Peru, fortune smiled on Manaus. Rubber trees grow throughout the region and with the introduction of rubber vulcanization for use in the growing automobile industry, the city prospered with the so called Rubber Boom, along with the rubber barons who settled there. Much of the significant infrastructure in the town was built by wealthy families who tried to convert the town into the Paris of the tropics. The most obvious vestige of this period is the Renaissance-style opera house in the center of the city.
Recently, Manaus has again emerged as an important commercial center. It continues to be the main port serving the Amazon region; it is also a duty-free zone and the center for travel, including our rainforest cruises, into the Amazon. As such, the Porto Flutuante (floating docks), an ingenious structure that rises and falls with the greatly fluctuating river level, are a fantastic sight; riverboats of all colors, shapes and sizes are a hive of activity, with some river dwellers travelling up to five days just to buy supplies there.
If you are heading to Manaus to board one of our Amazon riverboat cruises, good news! Manaus is the most readily-accessible city in the Amazon. Most European travelers arrive in Manaus via connecting flights from São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. There are also direct flights from Miami and Atlanta, ideal for North American visitors. For those already in Brazil there are countless domestic flights arriving from most of the largest cities.
Teatro Amazonas or Opera House (Praca Sao Sebastiao, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily except Sunday, guided tour only (in English), $7), a spectacular monument to what money and serious taste can do. Built at the peak of the city's rubber boom, it offers what was then the finest in European craftsmanship. The ballroom floor is composed of 12,000 pieces of rain forest woods laid without glue or nails and the unique dome was constructed so that the spectacular curtain (from Tiffany's) could be raised and lowered without folding or rolling it. The theater ceiling, depicting what it is like to stand looking up at the Eiffel Tower, was painted in Paris and reassembled in Manaus.
Encontro das Aguas (Meeting of the Waters) occurs where the black waters (clear with a rather high acidity) of the Rio Negro meets the white waters (murky with mud and a more neutral acidity) of the Solimoes about four miles downstream from Manaus, forming the Amazon. The waters flow side by side in parallel stripes for miles before finally merging, becoming a brown river that flows to the sea. The rivers do not mix more quickly because of the differences in water temperature and river flow rates. It is a phenomenon unique to the region and one that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your cruise.
Most city sights are within walking distance of the docks. However, be warned that Manaus is on a hill, so walking anywhere means walking uphill.
HINT: Watch out for...
The heat and humidity. Manaus has no real differentiation between seasons; it is either rainy season or not, but it is always hot and humid. A good excuse to treat yourself to a cooled coconut from one of the local street vendors or take a trip to Glacial, a local ice cream chain where you can choose a dish size, fill it up with as many flavors and toppings as you'd like, and pay by weight. Be sure to try the local tropical fruit flavors like acai and cupuacu!
Specializing in Amazon seafood and river cuisine this gem has a cozy and ambient atmosphere and offers excellent service, fine wines and sophisticated dishes full of Amazon ingredients and bursting with flavor. Try the award-winning rib of Tambaqui or any of their delicious fish dishes such as the Pirarucu or Matrinchã. Portions are sizeable and could be shared between two. Try to get there before 9pm as this place is very popular. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $40 - US $60
Address: Rua Libertador, 102. Tel: 092 3234-1621
There’s no better place in Manaus for rodizio, an all-you-can-eat meat extravaganza in which a cadre of tuxedoed waiters bring skewer after skewer of sizzling meat right to your table, accompanied by a full salad and pasta bar, as well as a sushi option. Offering personalized service and a family-friendly atmosphere, there is no chance of leaving this place hungry. Price range - meal for two without drinks approx US $30 - US $40
Address: Rua Pará, 490. Tel: 092 3131-9000
Skina dos Sucos
If you are near the Opera House, pop by and stake out some counter space at this busy eatery, where you can order snacks and sandwiches to go along with refreshing and delicious sucos (fresh juices) made from Amazonian fruits, including guaraná (a tropical berry thought to have numerous medicinal properties), cupuaçú (sweet cousin of the cacao fruit) and graviola (custard apple). Price range - juices and snacks approx US $2 - US $5
Address: Av. Eduardo Ribeiro, 629. Tel: 092 3233-1970
Please note that although these recommendations have been reviewed thoroughly, restaurant owners and standards can change quickly.
For more in depth information about Manaus, its history and attractions please see our jungle blog post.
The Central Amazon Ecological Corridor
Area: 20,859,987 ha (Biosphere Reserve)
Habitat Type: Very Diverse
Location: State of Amazonas, Brazil
Base City: Manaus
Introduction – Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve
Founded in 2000, the core area of the Central Amazon Ecological Corridor is the World Heritage listed Central Amazon Biosphere Reserve. The reserve was formed by joining several smaller protected areas together, including Jau National Park, Mamirauá Reserve, Amanã Reserve, and the Anavilhanas Reserve.
The Central Amazon Ecological Corridor covers the most pristine habitat in the Amazon Jungle, the watershed of the Rio Negro. The Brazilian Institute for the Environment (IBAMA) joined the smaller reserves together to offer more protection for the flora and fauna, but also for scientific research. The area is a constantly changing mosaic of habitats, and it enables researchers to study the large scale effects of habitat change on surrounding biodiversity.
The area of the corridor towards the lower Rio Negro is called the Anavilhanas Ecological Reserve. The reserve contains flooded forest, high forest, sandy soil shrub land, and also flooded shrub land. Here you can find a rich diversity of wildlife, including a high number of animals that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.
Animals of the Anavilhanas Reserve
The reserve protects the habitat of some of the most iconic species in all of Amazonia, including the threatened Amazon Manatee, jaguar; the world’s largest freshwater fish, the pirarucu; harpy eagles, giant river otters, caiman, black spider monkeys, and giant armadillos. The reserve also contains pink river dolphins, river otters, macaw parrots, toucans, among many others.
For bird watchers, 60% of the birds observed in the Central Amazon have been seen in this section of the Reserve. Records indicate there are around 25 species of amphibians and 42 species of reptiles, which is a comparatively small number for the Amazon. This is thought to be due to the flooded habitat, but black caiman and the South American river turtle are abundant.
There is a high diversity of wildlife found in the reserve and of the Amazon’s 53 scientific families, only 13 were not found in the Anavilhanas.
Santarém is a city in the state of Pará located at the confluence of the Tapajós and the Amazon River. It is named after the Portuguese city, and was once home to the indigenous Tapajós - after which the river is named - who controlled a large, agricultural chiefdom that flourished before the arrival of Europeans.
The city of some 350,000 inhabitants is an important regional market center in Lower Amazonia, located midway between the larger cities of Belém and Manaus, with an economy based on agriculture (especially soy), cattle-farming and mining. Tourism is another important activity in the region, with daily flights to Manaus and Belem; and the comfort class cruise ship the Amazon Dream operates out of here.
Like Manaus, Santarem features a fascinating 'meeting of the waters' whereby the Amazon River's milky-colored water, carrying sediment from the Andes in the East, runs side by side with the water of the Tapajós River, which is warmer and deep-blue in color, without mixing.
Half an hour's drive away is the village of Alter do Chão, located on the Tapajós River, and it is here that the Amazon Dream's 5-day voyage ends, and her 6-day voyage begins. Other eco-tourism highlights within striking distance of Santarem are Tapajoara Reserve and Tapajos National Park, along with a number of vibrant indigenous, riverside communities
World Cup Manaus Amazon Cruises
Manaus, the gateway to the Brazilian Amazon, will host four group games in June for the Brazil World Cup. We here at Rainforest Cruises have chosen select riverboats with specially tailored itineraries to offer fans heading to the city.
These World Cup Amazon cruises provide the opportunity not only to see the highlights of the region, but also stay in comfortable, unique accommodation, right on the Amazon river itself. Fans lucky enough to have tickets for matches will also be able to attend games, as the boats will be docked at the port in Manaus on match days.
Iracema ~ Comfort Class
The newest of a fleet of six traditional riverboats, the 24-passenger Iracema is family-owned by one of the pioneers of ecotourism, who has operated expeditions in the region since the mid-80s. Built with comfort in mind, she will provide the ideal base for those heading to Manaus for the World Cup to explore the region's highlights.
Victoria Amazonica ~ Comfort Class
With 12 air-conditioned double cabins with private bathrooms, as well as spacious and comfortable public areas, the Victoria Amazonica is an excellent boat for a group of colleagues, family or friends wishing to experience a taste of life on the Amazon during the World Cup. She has been used for many years by the World Wildlife Fund.