Though everyone has heard of the Amazon Rainforest, few realize the true scope of its presence. It’s two-thirds the size of the continental United States, sprawling more than two million square miles across three countries. The bulk of it is located in Brazil, with access through the frontier city of Manaus.
Many people visit the gateways to the Amazon, poking around the headwaters of various rivers via day tours. Few make the trip into its tangled interior. After all, it’s not a place that’s easy to explore on your own, with staggering changes between the wet and dry seasons, limited services, dangerous wildlife, unpredictable weather and, you know, legendary tales of unfriendly tribes
But, while these are all things that impede travel in the Amazon, they are also what makes it so interesting, what adds to its allure. And it turns out there is a way to go deeper into the world’s largest rainforest—via a multi-day, overnight boat trip. One company operating out of Manaus, Amazon Nature Tours, is owned by an American and runs expeditions upriver.
Just like an African safari—only in the Amazon.
As a whole, the Amazon is vastly underexplored. But why? Part of it is because while the Amazon has succeeded in capturing the imagination of the world, it has done so in a way that doesn’t exactly scream “come visit”—tales of missing explorers and giants snakes (see below) and all that good stuff have no doubt made some skeptic. Unlike, for example, Africa, which despite similar history and similar dangers, has succeeded in softening its image and getting its name on bucket lists around the world (i.e. Lion King).
I think there’s room for this to change, though, because the experiences are quite similar. Different terrain, for sure, but a similar experience in many ways.
First, nature is the main event, and the entire adventure is based around understanding and exploring an ecosystem. Second, the logistics are the same, except you are swapping out a wilderness lodge and a safari van for a boat and a rainforest-worthy dingy. Each day with Amazon Nature Tours, you scoot off in a smaller, more-mobile boat on a “safari”—once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night—to search for wildlife and get an explanation of the terrain.