Expert Review: Tucano Amazon Cruise in Brazil
| Expert Advice
My trip aboard the M/Y Tucano Amazon Cruise in Brazil gave me a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Amazon Rainforest. The riverboat itself is cozy, traditional and has all of the comforts needed for this type of adventure. What's special about the Tucano boat is that it's designed to be able to explore small tributaries and hidden channels where wildlife can be found, but where larger vessels cannot go. All aspects of the cruise are designed to help enjoy the best that the Amazon has to offer and to appeal to travelers who are looking for a fun, but also genuine experience. Read on below for a summary of my adventure. I did the 7-Night Itinerary during the high-water season.
Tucano’s Wild Cruise Itinerary
The itinerary you get to experience aboard the M/Y Tucano is wild, authentic and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Below I will go through the day-by-day of our exciting activities.
Day 1 (Saturday): Embarkation at the Tropical Manaus hotel, safety drill, introduction to the boat, crew and other travelers. We went out on 1 excursion, skiff ride through the wild jungle to look for birds and wildlife.
Day 2 (Sunday): 4 excursions, morning canoe ride to look for birds and wildlife, after-breakfast jungle trek through the wild jungle, after lunch visit to a local community and after dinner nocturnal wildlife excursion.
Day 3 (Monday): 4 excursions, early morning kayaking through small creeks and tributaries, after-breakfast jungle trek and canoe ride through the flooded forest. After-lunch piranha fishing, we caught piranha and had it for dinner. After dinner, nocturnal canoe ride and star-gazing.
Day 4 (Tuesday): 4 excursions, early-morning kayaking (long kayak ride), after-breakfast jungle trek to see old rubber-boom era ruins and medicinal plants, after lunch canoe ride exploring flooded forest, nocturnal wildlife excursion.
Day 5 (Wednesday): 4 excursions, early morning bird watching canoe ride (silent motor), after-breakfast jungle trek, after-lunch canoe ride through the flooded forest, nocturnal wildlife excursion.
Day 6 (Thursday): 3 excursions today, early morning canoe ride through the flooded forest, jungle trek and visit traditional “hunting traps,” Amazon beach visit, swimming in the Amazon, observe the famous meeting of the waters phenomenon. Onboard entertainment at night, live Bossa Nova music and caipirinhas cocktails.
Day 7 (Friday): Goodbye breakfast and disembarkation, drop off to the hotel. This is when you can do a Manaus City tour before your flight home.
I did the Manaus city tour on my last day after disembarking the cruise. We drove around the historical downtown learning about the history of the city. We stopped at the market and spent time shopping and learning about the history of the market. I also explored and learned about the produce, natural medicine and handicrafts in the market. We then drove to the Manaus Opera House and did a tour. We walked around the block to see a small “Artisan” museum and popular restaurant. The highlight of the tour was definitely the Manaus Opera House. It is a spectacular building with a very interesting history.
Tucano Service and Food
The guides and staff onboard are very friendly and helpful. They are all ready to work and help you with anything you may need while onboard or off-board the Tucano. The guides are very knowledgeable and can spot wildlife from miles away. Guest onboard were very surprised how the guides could identify all of the wildlife by their sounds and tracks throughout the jungle. The naturalist guides are Amazon jungle locals and it was very interesting to hear their stories about growing up in the Amazon rainforest. There is turndown service daily and staff will even clean your shoes if they get too muddy out in the jungle.
Arguably the best part of the Amazon cruise was trying the local cuisine. The chef Tania is a very nice lady, she was very energetic and can accommodate any special diets. We had someone who was gluten intolerant onboard and he had no problem with his meals. Her cooking was delicious and everyone commented on how they will miss the food. Meals are always buffet-style. Breakfast is served at 8:30am. Variety of ham, cheese, eggs, toast, breads, pancakes, cake, fruit, yogurt. Lunch is served at 12:30pm. Dinner is served at 6:30pm. Lunch and dinner is always a variety of fish, chicken, meat, rice (different flavors), pasta, vegetables, potatoes, yuccas, fruits, cake, ice cream. There is also a snack before dinner, around 5pm. Coffee, tea, water and fresh juice is available all day. Soft drinks, wine and beer is available for sale. On the last day of the cruise, free wine and caipirinhas are served. There is also a large fruit bowl in each cabin.
In summary, I would highly recommend the Tucano Amazon cruise for anyone looking to go on an authentic Amazon jungle experience. The excursions were very wild. We did not go on a typical tourist trail. Everywhere we went seemed very virgin and untouched. The boat makes a big effort not to leave a footprint. You can read all about the Tucano's conservation efforts on the Solar Energy Aboard the Tucano blog post.
Everyone really enjoyed the excursions because of how alone we felt. We all felt like we really were in the middle of the Amazon jungle. If the opportunity arises, I would love to go back on the Tucano during the low-water season to further explore the beautiful Brazilian Amazon rainforest.
This expert review was written by Pats Krysiak-Illich, Marketing at Rainforest Cruises.