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Trip Report Xixuau Xiparina Reserve - A genuine Amazon experience

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I stumbled upon the website of Xixuau Reserve by chance last year. After three consecutive years going to the Pantanal I was looking forward to know the Amazon but it seemed quite difficult to avoid the usual Jungle-lodge circuit. The tour offers on the web were huge too, but all offered quite standardized trips.
Xixuau looked just perfect and very interesting, a community run project far away from Manaus, in a remote and pristine environment. I contacted them and we managed to arrange a 13 day trip for the beginning of July. I would have the chance to participate in a mixed expedition to the far north of the Reserve, in a completely unexplored area.
I was arriving from Southern Pantanal, where I stayed 8 wonderful days at Fazenda Barranco Alto; I can just confirm all the raving reviews about them on travel forums...the place is wonderful, the hospitality really special and the wildlife and nature in this particular corner of Pantanal outstanding. So my standards were set up high!
The Amazon just overwhelmed me...the 30 hours boat-ride on the rio Negro gave me the time to absorb the vastness of the rivers and the forest, to talk to local people and get a feeling for this completely different world.
Then we arrived at Xixuau, a real corner of paradise. A small Amazonian village really far away from so-called civilization in a landscape of unearthly beauty. But beside the amazing natural environment, which for itself is worth the trip, their plus in my opinion is that you get to live at narrow contact with the community, they are not 'employees' of an eco-tourism venture but it's their own business and one of their means of sustaining their life there. You are treated like a friend, a guest and it's really hard to leave after a stay there.
It's not all paradise, people have a very low living standard in this part of the world. Poverty, illiteracy, lack of sanitary and educational infrastructures are written on the faces of the people who live here. But the Xixuau project in 20 years of hard work has achieved a lot of improvements in the living standard of the community. They now have a school, a health post, a satellite internet connection, nice facilities to accomodate guests and several scientific partnerships with national and international institutions going.
It was a really enriching trip and participating in the 8 days expedition to the buritizal in the north of the reserve was a real privilege. I'm still trying to find the words to describe the feeling of being in a place where almost no human being has put foot on..
You can find pictures and a detailed report of my trip (I'm still writing at it) at: http://00somewhereinbrasil00.blogspot.com/

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