Your first vacation begins by flying to Manaus, Brazil where you will check into your luxurious 5-star Hotel Villa Amazonia for a one-night stay before joining your luxury 5-star cruise of the Amazon the following day. Villa Amazonia is located in the centre of Manuas, just a few steps from the renowned Amazon Theatre, an Italian renaissance style opera house built in 1896. The hotel has 30 luxury apartments all facing a beautiful indoor garden, natural stone pool and terrace. The façade, reception and restaurant preserve the design of a restored historic mansion that dating back to the golden rubber age. The hotel has a fitness centre, swimming pool and the Fitz Carraldo Bistro offers a contemporaneous menu, blending international classic dishes with the exotic Amazonian culinary and a bar.
The spacious rooms have a sophisticated and modern design that come equipped with an en-suite bathroom, a bathtub and toiletries, high-quality bed linen, convenient amenities and a whole infrastructure of equipment and services offered by the most premium hotels as well as complimentary WiFi. The location is the perfect place for a stroll along its historic streets where you will find amazing places such as Sao Sebastiao and Nossa Senhora da Conciecao churches, Provincial Palace, and the Museum of Northern Man, all within a short walking distance of your hotel. As you will be boarding your cruise from mid-afternoon up until 4.30pm, you have plenty of time to have a stroll around the area as it’s only an 8-minute taxi drive to the Manaus Port.
The ship’s knowledgeable team will offer you opportunities to learn about the Amazon’s exotic local flora and fauna and the biodiversity of its river and ecosystem. You will be amazed by the ship’s entertainment crew, showing off their talents as they swing to the samba in lively cruise shows, you will certainly learn a few moves if you are not familiar with this South American dance. Beautifully bright, traditional costumes and music bring stories to life in local folklore-theme festivals. On your last night of your cruise, the Captain will throw a folklore themed dinner extravaganza. Your onboard retreat will be in an elegantly designed Royal Suite, the ships comfortable largest cabin with access to exclusive amenities. As part of your royal treatment, your cabin with its king-sized bed en-suite bathroom, coffee and tea making facilities, cable TV, wide private balcony, the perfect location for a romantic dinner deliver by room service and your cabin will be serviced twice-daily. When Royal Suite guests want to enjoy the ship’s entertainment or dinner in the gourmet restaurant, they have easy access from their room on the second-level Deck. The ship’s gourmet cuisine offers one of the finest Amazon cruise dining experiences, set among Amazonian art and décor.
Before embarking on your adventurous voyage of a lifetime, let’s give you some background on the Amazon and why it’s crucial to life on earth.
The Amazon contains 40,000 plant species, covers 6 million km2 (600 million hectares, or ⅔ the size of USA), spans 9 countries and is one of the largest terrestrial carbon (trees ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere) of sinks on the planet. It is estimated the Amazon sequesters around 430 million tonnes of carbon annually, roughly 4 times the of the UK’s total emissions, producing 20% of the planet’s oxygen. In context, that’s almost the equivalent of all cars on the road in UK, France, Germany and Italy combined plus the UK’s total industrial carbon emissions. The Amazon river contains around 3,000 freshwater species, 370 reptiles, is the second longest in the world after the Nile, the earth’s largest in terms of its body of water and stretches 6,400km from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. To get an idea of its length, it’s the equivalent of a human walking from New York to Rome 1km every12½ minutes taking almost 2-months 24-hours a day. It produces 20% of the earth’s freshwater and has approximately 1,100 tributaries,17 of which run 1,500km each draining into the mighty river.
How important is the Amazon?
It’s vital to Global Climate Stability, pumping 7 trillion tons of water into the atmosphere annually. How can you help preserve this crucial lung of the planet? Take this voyage, return home and share what you experienced and all that you have learned, the more people speak about the threats of deforestation, the more international pressure is applied to protect the most biodiverse region in the world.
Amazon River Cruise
Now let’s take you on your journey on the incredible Amazon River:
Day 1. Manaus – Embarkation
Today you embark on your voyage of the Amazon River, boarding at the Port Manaus, getting settled into your Royal Suite, after which the ship sets sail. Tonight, the crew welcomes you with a delicious cocktail and a sumptuous evening dinner. Tonight, is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of the ship’s open bar policy and get to know some of your fellow passengers.
Day 2. Lake Janauacá and Manaquiri
This morning you will wake up at Janauacá Lake and if you are an early riser, a wonderful continental breakfast on the upper-deck and absorb the sounds and beauty of the rainforest. If not so early the is the breakfast buffet spread awaiting you in the restaurant. After breakfast you are charged up and ready to explore on your first exploration by skiff (a flat-bottomed boat) along the marked trails of the rainforest, keeping your eyes peeled for the famous Pink River Dolphins and jungle birds. The dolphins are born grey but become translucent with age, allowing blood to show through its skin. When they see you and they probably will from afar as they have amazing eyesight, they may even flush brighter in an analogous way humans blush, there pinkness glows brighter when they become excited. The clicking of their noses, emitting between 30-80 clicks per second will allow you to recognize their proximity. Don’t forget to watch out for the Giant Otters but be careful not to touch the Dart Frog as one touch is deadly.
Next stop will be the home of the local Caboclo, renowned for their traditional handicrafts which you can purchase from them. This is your first introduction to Amazonia human life on the river. Then it’s back to the ship for a great lunch with a lecture on Amazon fruits.
In the afternoon its back on the skiff through closed-in stream, and to try your hand at piranha fishing, there are around 20 distinct species in the Amazon. Just in case you never knew, not all have a taste for blood, some are vegetarian and some omnivorous, eating more seeds than meat. This is also a great chance to take in the beauty of the flora and fauna, this is after all the most biodiverse place on earth. Live music welcomes you back to the ship, time for a few drinks with your fellow passengers and share stories you encountered on the river. After a palatial dinner, you are off on a night tour spotting caiman (a crocodilian related to the American alligator) with spotlights lurking along the riverbanks, they can reach lengths up to 16ft with a 1911psi bite (humans bite is 120psi). The nighttime sounds of the forest are almost hypnotizing, over 2,000 animal species live in the trees alone, of which 1,300 are birds.
Day 3. Rio Manacapuru and Lake Janauari
This morning the boat enters Manacapura River. Be sure to wake-up early, enjoy a hearty breakfast and get ready to go birding on a skiff as the sun rises. The birds which comprise of a third of the world’s species are an array of stunning colours such as the Hyacinth and Scarlet Macaw (parrot family) considered to be the most beautiful, Spectacled Owl, King Fisher, King Vulture, the iconic Toucan which regulates its body heat through their beak, and the Amazon’s (and the world’s) largest winged predator, the Harpy Eagle. Next its off on an expedition jungle walk safari, where your guide will bring you to some amazing places to take some amazing photos that you will cherish for a lifetime.
Upon returning to the boat, a fascinating lecture on the people of the Amazon and their culture. Historians say human settlements on the Amazon have existed for 11,200 years. The largest of the estimated 500 tribes that occupy the Amazon, are the artistic Tikuna (estimated over 40,000), known to paint for the sake of painting. The largest tribe by land ownership (44 million acres, around the size of 4 Switzerland’s) is the Yanomami, residing in the remote northern parts of Brazil and southern Venezuela. They live in communal houses called yanos that house up to 400 people.
After a delicious lunch and a short break, you are off to Lake Janauari, where you will have the opportunity to visit a regional houseboat, get to know the local crafts and take a short walking tour of the area. At dusk you return to the boat, a wonderful time to spot a lot of the animals, especially birds in substantial numbers. Tonight, the Captain throws a farewell dinner, giving you a chance to relax and enjoy the company of your newfound friends you have made during your voyage. The Folklore Show will have you all singing and dancing into the night long, complimented by the animals chirping away in the forest.
Day 4. Meeting of the Waters and Disembarkation
With a full continental breakfast on the menu, the tone is set for you to see a fascinating phenomenon, the Meeting of Waters at sunrise. The point where the black water of the Rio Negro and brown water of the Solimoes meet - but don't mix, a fantastic end to your river journey. Now it’s back off to Manaus to bid farewell to the crew and friends you made, then make your way to the airport to catch a flight to your second vacation in Rio de Janeiro.
Your second vacation is a 7-night stay at the Blue Tree Design Premium Resort, located on the beautiful beach front of Praia do Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro and only 33km from Rio’s International Airport.
The resort has a panoramic swimming pool with pool-bar, fitness centre, spa with steam rooms, solarium and massage therapies, restaurant, lobby bar, complimentary WiFi throughout the resort, room service, 24-hour front desk, parking and bicycle hire.
This part of your second vacation is all about relaxing and enjoying some of the most beautiful scenery in Rio, away from the overcrowded beaches that’s both safe and a place that you can immerse yourself in true Brazilian culture. The tastefully designed rooms come equipped with en-suite bathroom, toiletries, hairdryer, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV with cable channels, safe and a minibar and balcony with spectacular views of the sea.
This most beautiful landscape upper-middle-class beach location of Rio with clear waters and white sands offering a variety of water sports including kitesurfing, skysurfing, body boarding and the most popular surfing (especially weekends) as there are 2km of strong waves. Young people of all ages play frescobol, volleyball and beach soccer, taking advantage of the long beach. There is an extensive boardwalk with bike path and it’s the perfect setting for a bike ride. The beachfront is lined with restaurants, cafes, bars so you can stop at your pleasure to frequent any of these establishments.
The giant rock-looking island close to the coast “Pedra do Pontal” is an optical illusion, as during low tide it can be accessed on foot with the path disappearing when the tide rises. It is well worth a climb as not only will you find it adventure, locals say it’s the best spot in the whole of Rio to watch the sunset. There are several steep paths, surrounded by vegetation, and once at the top, the view is simply breathtaking, in the distance the mountains of the Tijuca Massif and those of the White Stone.
The Municipal National Park of Marapendi, nearby is worth a visit, open from 8am to 5pm (in the summer time until 6pm), it has a children's park, guided tours on trails, lectures on ecological themes, and art workshops.
For those of your that want to visit the statue of Christ, the resort can organize a day trip tour.