Cruising on the Amazon River is about as far as you can get from a staid river cruise on one of Europe’s well-kempt rivers like the Rhine or Danube.
If you dream of experiencing a topsy-turvy world — where fish swim through the upper branches of trees, where rasping frogs perch, and where long-tailed monkeys occasionally swing by to play with your hair — you should add an Amazon River cruise to your bucket list.
The sheer scale of this gigantic “ocean-river,” running through the heart of the Brazilian rainforest from French Guiana to Peru, will simply blow you away. It ranks as the world’s largest river for its multitudinous tributaries and the volume of water it discharges, which is estimated (during full flood) to reach a mind-boggling 32 million gallons every second.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||San Francisco International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.|
But no statistics could ever be as impressive as the Amazon itself. Its broad waters flow past banks dense with the greenery of the rainforest, where flame-haired monkeys and DayGlo-tinted parrots flash through the trees, their vivid colors matched by the brightly painted wooden canoes in which the local tribespeople go about their daily business.
Day 1: Departure
- The locals do it on narrow canoes or larger motorboats hung with tiers of coloured hammocks (their version of an overnight ferry).
- Visitors do it rather more comfortably on cruise ships or substantial, well-appointed river boats.
- Cruise passengers also have the choice of sailing the Amazon in Brazil or in Peru.
- On the latter, cruises run from the Peruvian city of Iquitos along the Ucayali River (the Amazon’s largest tributary) and explore the rain forest banks of the Yarapa and Dorado Rivers, other tributaries like the Maranon and Puinahua, as well as several hidden black water lakes.