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Trip Report If you Do the Amazon-Some Don't Miss Excursions

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We were on a cruise with Oceania that spent 8 days on the Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers this past month. We stopped at 4 ports.
I researched and reference checked guides and they made the trip very special. Instead of boring city tours or seeing defunct rubber factories and plantations we went by boat and 4xr4 into tributaries and visited remote villages where in some cases the locals had never seen people with blue eyes such as my wife has. They were really curious though we were the curious ones about their culture and their way of life. Along the way to the different villages we were fortunate enough to see pink dolphin, caiman (a type of alligator), sloths, monkeys and a wide variety of birds including parrots and tucans. The trips were costly because the guides had to charter covered speed boat and fuel is quite expensive . So, I communicated on CruiseCriitic,com for other individuals who were on my cruise that might be interested in these 6-8 hour excursions. I received more than I wanted so in Santerem with the 6 of us we used Gil (gilserique.com) who has 15+ years experience and it showed in the depth of his knowledge. So divided by 6 it cost us $200/person for a trip that was partly in an air conditioned 4x4 and half in a large speedboat.
In Manaus we went to a village where the President lived in a home separate from the rest of the community, almost like the White House, and visited the school which though primitive had teachers but learning was supplemented by a monitor providing distance learning from Rio, Our guide Marco was a botanist so he was able to explain just about every plant and the most unusual and multiple uses of certain plants. We went to a jungle lodge that required us to walk up a number of stairs but at age 68 I was able to manage and we were in a bio-sphere or canopy of the rain forest, Marco works for Anavihas Eco Turisimo. Here as well the cost was high so I invited 4 others again so we had 6 and the cost was $200/person as well, Marco had beer, soda, and bottled water for us.To each village that we visited we brought school supplis we had purchased in the US and they were a big hit.
I mention there names because the guides so enriched our experience rather than riding around on the mainland in a car or a bus and we avoidied the crowds. Both trips could accommodate up to 10 people but we did not want to overwhelm the little communities plus with only 6 we had a lot of room to spread out. It was a great two days.
In Parintins we had a similar excursion but evewn more primitive villages butvbecause of it's location we did not see much animal or bird life along the way, Our guide Fredzer was good but he is going to medical school in Bogota in Feb. and therefore will not be available for guiding. If you can get to Santerem and Manaus they are special places still not to too damaded by industies that has ravagied miles of the land around the Amazon for wood,

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