HOW TO EXPLOrE THE BrAZILIAN AMAZON
A number of small cruise lines navigate the great river and its tributaries, with excursions by land and water that offer a close look at rain-forest wildlife. Consider hiring a travel advisor who can expand your visit with further adventures throughout S
Most Amazon cruises in Brazil depart from Manaus, in the state of Amazonas. There are several flights per day to Manaus from major cities, including Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, as well as nonstop flights from Miami on the Chilean airline LATAM.
Locally owned charter cruise company Amazônia Expeditions has been navigating the Amazon for 37 years. The team excels at small-group cruises tailored to passengers' interests, such as botany or fishing. amazonia expeditions.com.br; cruises for up to eight people from US$2,350 per group per day.
Amazon offerings from conservation-minded tour operator Wildlife Worldwide include group river safaris and bespoke private itineraries that take you to see the region's animal inhabitants. Tack on a transfer to the biodiverse Pantanal, a wetlands region in southwestern Brazil, for a jaguar-tracking trip. wildlifeworldwide.com; nine-day trips from US$3,690.
Rio-based Brazil travel specialist Paul Irvine (paul. firstname.lastname@example.org) is the founder of the South American travel firm Dehouche and a longtime member of the A-List, T+L's collection of the world's top travel advisors. He can plan custom riverboat itineraries, with stays at Brazil's best rain-forest lodges, and a variety of post-cruise extensions, like a transfer to Trancoso to experience Bahia's beaches and Afro-Caribbean culture. dehouche.com; US$800 minimum daily spend.
Mary Curry (1-406-5401901; mary.c@adventurelife. com), an adventure-cruise specialist on the A-List, can organize itineraries that put a river excursion in the context of a broader South American expedition. Her team at Adventure Life can book a small-ship cruise supplemented with a visit to Iguazú Falls, Machu Picchu, or the Galápagos Islands. adventure-life.com; US$200 minimum daily spend.
WHEN TO GO
Irvine notes that fluctuating water levels mean the Amazon changes dramatically from season to season. The rainy season, with intense showers, runs from December to April. River levels are highest between January and August, allowing access to small tributaries and secluded swimming holes. But the drier season, from September to November, is best for fishing, hiking and visiting the region's white-sand river beaches.
WHAT TO PACK
Curry encourages travelers to take precautions against mosquitoes. Bring a strong repellent, pretreat clothes with Permethrin spray and get antimalarial medication from a doctor. Plan on taking light, loose-fitting pants and longsleeved shirts in light colors. Evenings are cool, so pack layers to keep warm.