To celebrate the change, Amazon Nature Tours, a small ship expedition company that sails further into the Brazilian Amazon basin than any other line, introduced new 'Into the Wild' four-day sailings. These are an enhancement of the previous shorter cruises, going deeper into the Amazon basin and giving travelers a greater opportunity to explore the dense forests and small tributaries within the Central Amazon Conservation Complex, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
The Amazon's least inhabited major river
Amazon Nature Tours is the only line to offer four- and six-day sailings in the Brazilian Amazon basin, exploring the least inhabited major river, the Rio Negro. While most lines sail the Peruvian Amazon or offer day trips on the Brazil side, Amazon Nature Tours goes far into the Brazilian rain forest. These expedition cruises are led by trained naturalists and include kayak and launch excursions into the 'flooded forests,' rain forest hikes, visits to native villages, fishing for piranhas, outings to the beach and more.
Highlights of the four-day trip include the Anavilhanas Archipelago, a reserve that contains the world’s largest system of river islands and areas of tall, dense rain forest called the igapó, trees grow from the dark water of the Rio Negro.
Another highlight, Encontra das Aguas, is a stark several mile-long line where two of the world’s largest rivers, the Amazon and the Rio Negro, join in a turbulent maelstrom. There the dark water of the Negro runs beside the opaque brown water of the Amazon.
Visitors can search for nocturnal creatures like caimans (the Amazon’s crocodiles) and large night birds such as the potoo, with its bulging eyes and large mouth adapted to swallow the huge mariposa moths.
While the four-day sailings explore more of the region than before, the price has remained unchanged, with rates starting at $1,750 per person. Passengers sail on Tucano, an 18-passenger motor yacht that has been completely refitted to make it one of the most sustainable vessels in the region.
A significant portion of the energy used on board is generated by solar panels. Solar energy is used to heat water for showers, refrigeration in the galley, to make ice and to power the ship's launches. There are 'solar hours' each day, when all generators are turned off and the ship operates on solar energy alone.
Amazon Nature Tours has eliminated all plastic on board and now provides complimentary, reusable aluminum water bottles that can be refilled at large dispensers. All staff, food and linens are sourced locally.
'The Brazilian Amazon is one of the greatest ecosystems in the world and still largely undiscovered,' said Mark Baker, president of Amazon Nature Tours. 'We hope that the elimination of the visa requirement makes it easier and more enticing for travelers to visit Brazil and explore its magical rain forest.'
Authentic, deep wilderness experience
Baker said the four-night 'Into the Wild' expedition cruises enable travelers to have an authentic, deep wilderness experience and still be able to visit some of Brazil's other iconic destinations. And, for those with more time, Amazon Nature Tours operates the six-night 'Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon' that explores some of the farthest reaches of the rain forest.
Year-round sailings operate round-trip Manaus.