The Jaú National Park is the largest freshwater forest park in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with an abundance of wildlife and beautiful scenery; and yet it is still relatively unexplored by tourism.
This five-day itinerary offers the full Amazon experience, in a relatively short timeframe, as you explore the Park's paths, waterfalls, and creeks, and visit riverside communities bursting with genuine northern Brazilian charm.
Please note that the Jacaré-Açu is the sister ship of the smaller Jacaré-Tinga. When a departure has fewer than eight passengers, the Jacaré-Tinga is used.
The itinerary below is dependent on the river water level, weather conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary.
Day 1: Manaus - Novo Airão - Anavilhanas
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 in the early afternoon, and give you a briefing on the Amazon's biology, history and the things you may see, along the way.
After boarding the Jacaré-Açu, 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 dolphin, 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 the boat, we set sail to Madadá Observatory, a spectacular lookout over the Rio Negro, with basic bungalow facilities in the middle of the jungle.
After dinner on board, you can choose if you want to spend the night in your cabin or in a hammock at the Observatory.
Day 2: Anavilhanas - Madadá
After breakfast, we make a three hour round-trip hike through virgin rainforest to Madadá Caves, with our guides giving a mini jungle survival course, along the way.
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 with a dip in the Rio Negro.
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.
Day 3: Jaú National Park
This morning we sail to the Jaú National Park Ranger 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 tributaries. 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, a tributary filled with boulders and waterfalls.
On return to the Jacaré-Açu, we sail to the indigenous community of Aturia where we moor for the evening.
After dark, we go looking for caiman and nocturnal animals in the canoes, using spotlights.
Day 4: Jaú National Park
This morning, after breakfast, we visit Aturia village, where we can learn more about traditional life in the Amazon. The children of the village are always extremely happy to interact with visitors, so be prepared to get involved in a game of soccer or swimming or some impromptu arts and crafts.
We have lunch on board the boat and then you have the option of climbing a giant chestnut tree using ropes. All instruction and equipment provided on request.
We have a guided hike to Itaubal Waterfall, through virgin rainforest which is good for spotting jungle mammals. We can have a welcome shower in the waterfall on arrival.
Once back on the boat, we sail out of Jaú National Park.
Day 5: Novo Airão - Manaus
Today we continue sailing from Jaú to Novo Airão. On the way, we may have the chance to swim with 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.
We have a farewell lunch on board, before taking the van back to Manaus, arriving at approximately 3.30pm.
- Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in river and tributary water levels) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
- Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior.