Brazilian Amazon

June 10-16, 2016

We started our trip spending the day in LA, since the flight time to Miami was better from LAX than SFO. The next morning, we flew to Manaus, state of Amazonas, Brazil. We visited a park, swam in our hotel pool, and went to a churrascaria for dinner. Early the next morning we set out for Tupana Lodge, 180km away. We stayed at the lodge for 4 nights. Every day, we walked around, went in the boat, and lounged around in hammocks. Our last afternoon, we walked around historic Manaus before our late flight home.
Grandma picked us up at LAX, then drove us across LA to the California Science Center. We had lunch and cookies, then saw a National Parks IMAX and saw the space shuttle Endeavour.
We flew all day to get to Manaus, where we stayed at the Chez les Rois B&B for two nights. During the day, we went to Bosque da Cienca, a patch of rainforest in the city.
breakfast by the pool at Chez les Rois
Evan climbed a tree while we waited for a taxi
entrance to Chez les Rois
manatee in the clear water tank at Bosque da Cienca
manatees eating breakfast; all of the floating leaves were gone when we came back this way a few hours later
we saw several kinds of monkeys along the path
Evan was really excited to see the monkeys
spiky tree
caiman lurking in the water
an iguana climbed down a tree while we were having lunch
swimming at Chez les Rois
We ate lots of different kinds of beef at Gaúcho's Churrascaria, plus a couple kinds of chicken and fish. The price for men was R$10 (about $3) more for men than women.
Gaúcho's had a supervised kids' room with a ball pit.
Tupana Lodge picked us up and took us to a ferry dock, where we got on a water taxi to cross to the south bank of the Amazon. Then we drove for a few hours to the Rio Tupana. We got into a motorized canoe and drove through the flooded forest for 15 minutes to arrive at the lodge. We met the resident animals: dog, cat, parrot, tapir, and monkey.
leaving from the Manaus dock to cross to the southern bank of the Amazon
Meeting of the Waters, where the darker, warmer, and slower-moving Rio Negro meets the cooler, faster, muddy Rio Solimões. They don't fully mix for about 7 miles.
giant lily pads along the side of the road
we stopped for a bathroom break and snack at a small market
through the flooded forest to the lodge
we met Maya the resident wooly monkey shortly after arrival
Sofia the tapir also lives at the lodge
two monkeys in the hammock
After lunch, we went down the dock to the boat for a cruise around the lodge. It was cloudy when we left, and then started pouring.
heading out to the boat on our first afternoon
it rained really hard; the guides bailed water out of the boat three times
Nina the resident parrot
The next morning, we put on long pants for a walk in the forest behind the lodge.
morning hike into the forest behind the lodge
ant nest on a tree
posing in front of a termite nest
The next morning, we went out in the boat again. We saw a rainbow reflected in the still black water.
the water was smooth and reflective
path to the open air lounge with hammocks
panorama from hammock house
view from hammock house
another afternoon rain shower
In the afternoon, we went out in the boat to go piranha fishing. We tried three spots with only a few nibbles. The last spot we watched a wooly monkey play in the trees, then watched the sun go down over the river.
piranha fishing
we heard thunder in the distance
fishing for piranha; fortunately we didn't catch any
wooly monkey in the trees across from the lodge
Tupana Lodge from the river
sunset reflection
caipirinha from the bar
giant moth with glowing eyes landed on a chair
In the morning, we got in the boat and went to visit a local family. We walked around their farm with cashew and cassava trees. Our guide showed us how they process the cassava root into flour.
our guide describing how the farmers process cassava to remove cyanide and make a rice-like flour
last step is roasting over a wood-fueled fire
Evan tried the "Indian makeup" from bright red seeds of a fruit
no electricity but they do have a soccer field
dining room at Tupana Lodge
our room
In the afternoon, our guide took us in the boat to look for river dolphins. As the sun got low, we stopped to watch three dolphins. After dinner, we cruised around in the dark looking for caimans. We didn't see any, but we did see small deer, a sleeping bird, a bat, and rats in the trees.
a couple seconds after this picture, the monkey yanked the cat's tail and Paul had a monkey-cat-fight on his lap
In the morning, we paddled the boat around in the flooded forest.
parade of caterpillars on a tree
praying mantis on the edge of the boat
lunch buffet
In the afternoon, we packed our toothbrushes for a night in hammocks in the forest. We walked about half an hour to get to the camp. We hung our hammocks under a structure with a tarp. The guides made a fire and a spit, then cooked a chicken they'd brought from the lodge. The guides moved a shelter made of palm fronds to shelter the fire when it started raining; it stopped before dinner time.
carrying our hammocks for a night in the forest
our guide split wood, made a fire, and cooked a chicken for dinner
dinner at camp
Evan in his hammock and mosquito net
Our last morning, we went swimming in the river from the dock. We swam out to a tree and jumped off into the water. After lunch, we repeated the boat - car - boat - car trip back to Manaus.
the parrot tried to steal our potato chips
hammock house from the dock
the water is a dark brown-red from tannins leached from submerged leaves
Evan jumping into the river from the tree
panorama from the dock
panorama from hammock house
Our flight wasn't until 11pm, so we got a hotel room near the Teatro Amazonas. It was built in 1896, at the height of the rubber boom. Most of the materials were imported from Europe. We walked around it and had dinner before heading to the airport and home.
Teatro Amazonas in Manaus