Amazon River cruises are something that many South America travelers choose to add to their agendas, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. The chance to take a boat down the second longest river in the world is tempting enough, and then there’s the allure of what you might see along the way. Perhaps an anaconda or endangered pink dolphins will swim by the vessel at some point, and there’s no telling what you might witness on land. Colorful macaws and slow-moving sloths are among the creatures that inhabit the trees of the Amazon rainforest, and on some boat trips along the Amazon River, passengers will have the chance to see and maybe even visit indigenous tribes.
The Amazon River moves west to east across the upper portion of South America, primarily cutting through the countries of Peru and Brazil. If you consider the river’s many tributaries and its overall river systems, however, the area in question also includes such countries as Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela. This explains why some Amazon River cruises don’t originate in Peru or Brazil. Also of interest when it comes to general information about Amazon River cruises is the fact that one part of the Amazon River is wide and deep enough to accommodate large ocean liners. This profound portion is the stretch between Manaus, Brazil and the Atlantic Ocean. Some cruise ships actually cruise the Amazon River at some point before or after they venture off to other parts of South America, the Caribbean, or even Antarctica.
Chances are good that you won’t find yourself spending all of your time on a big boat during an Amazon River cruise. In addition to including on-land excursions that involve such things as wildlife viewing or visiting indigenous settlements, many boat trips in the Amazon Basin allow their guests to explore remote waterways by way of canoes and small skiffs - sometimes fishing for piranha. There might even be an opportunity to spend some time surfing or sunbathing on a beach. Among the Amazon beaches that are popular tourist attractions are Ponta Negra Beach near Manaus and Alter-do-Chao, which is approximately 18 miles from the Brazilian city of Santarem and can be accessed via the Tapajos River.
All kinds of boats are used for cruises in the Amazon region. In Ecuador, for example, riverboats the likes of which you might expect to see plying their way down the Mississippi River are used to navigate the area waters, and this is also true in the other regional countries. The most popular cruises on this great river are three to seven days in length, departing from and returning to Manaus, and utilize surprisingly luxurious boats. As mentioned, larger ocean liners are used for some Amazon River cruises, and sometimes you will find yourself in a canoe, skiff, or something similar. Guides are almost always in place to provide Amazon River cruise passengers with insight into the different places that they visit, and on extended cruises, both food and lodging are often included in the upfront price. Lodging doesn’t always mean an onboard cabin or a hotel room, it should be noted. Jungle camping is also an option.