Covering 550km of the great Amazon ecosystem and taking in the beauty of the spectacular islands of the Anavilhanas archipelago and the abundant nature within the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Jauú National Park, this itinerary offers a great mix of fun, adventure and wildlife spotting.
This seven-day itinerary combines the best of the shorter Anavilhanas and Jaú National Park itineraries to give passengers an incredible experience.
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 - Rio Solimões - Rio Negro
Embarking at 9am from the Tropical Hotel Pier in Manaus, we welcome you aboard the Jacaré-Açu, and give you an introductory briefing about the itinerary and the background to some of the incredible things you will witness.
Our first excursion is in our expedition canoes at Lago Janauary, a rich ecosystem fed by the waters of the Rio Solimões, which is abundant in organic nutrients, and therefore supports an abundance of Amazon birds, reptiles, exotic plants and giant trees. You are likely to see Tucuxi River Dolphins, Pink River Dolphin, Cocoi Heron, Great Egret, Blue-Yellow Macaw, Festive Parrot, Rufescent Tiger-herons, Yellow-rumped Caciques, Crested Oropendola and Jacamars, among many others.
Once back on board, we sail along the Paraná do Paracuuba to the Rio Solimões, enjoying our first lunch on board as we do so.
In the afternoon, we arrive at the famous Meeting of the Waters, where the black Rio Negro meets the clearer water of the Solimões and they run parallel for more than nine miles.
Then it’s time to search for pirarucu, the largest scaled fish in the world, nicknamed the Lion of the Amazon.
While we have dinner on board, the boat sails up the Rio Negro towards the Anavilhanas Archipelago.
Day 2: Rio Negro - Rio Ariaú - Acajatuba Lake
At daybreak, we can watch the sun rise over the Tupé Beach settlement, beside the high Rio Negro.
After breakfast on board, we visit the village where we will have the opportunity to witness their well-preserved history, customs, dance and handicrafts. The villagers communicate in two indigenous languages, Tuiuka and Tukano.
Once back on board the Jacaré-Açu, we have lunch and then sail to the Rio Ariaú, a beautiful blackwater river enclosed by giant trees and dense vegetation. Here we have the option of climbing one of the trees - or at least, some of it - using ropes.
We continue to Lago Acajatuba to see the iconic pink Amazon river dolphin up close, in an area where the locals live in floating houses region.
After dinner on board, we set out in our expedition canoes to search for caiman and other nocturnal animals.
Day 3: Anavilhanas Archipelago
Upon waking up, we are in the heart of the Anavilhanas River Archipelago - 100,000 hectares of islands and canals within the Rio Negro and a further 260,000 hectares of riverside forest. So, after breakfast, we take to the canoes to explore this stunning region of creeks, lagoons and river beaches.
After lunch, we visit an Amazon farmhouse, where the owner will explain his way of life, his ancestry, and the crops he raises, such as manioc and fruit.
We then make a 2-hour guided trek through the rainforest, to spot and learn about the flora and fauna.
Finally, this evening, we have the option of staying overnight in a hammock at an atmospheric jungle hut camp. Around the campfire, we can share stories and learn about the way of life of the Amazon's settlers.
Day 4: 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 5: 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 6: 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 7: 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.