The Amazon Feature


What to Expect at a Jungle Lodge

Most of the jungle lodges near Manaus are around 200 kilometers northwest of the city, in the district known as Novo AirĂ£o. Whether luxurious or rustic, they offer similar activities that revolve around boat rides along the Rio Negro. Here's what you can expect from a stay in a jungle lodge:

Night sighting of animals and caimans: Although the Amazon jungle is full of wildlife, some visitors may be disappointed at how few animals they actually encounter. Your best bet at spotting wildlife comes from night tours of riverbank areas, where you might find large snakes in the treetops, sloths, and small owls. Caimans, a smaller type of alligator, are also usually sighted at night.

Spotting pink dolphins: Tours to see Amazon river dolphins, also called pink dolphins or boto in Portuguese, are popular. Some lodges include such excursions in their packages, others charge extra. Some lodges will allow you to stand in the water and interact with the dolphins, but be careful not to move your hands or legs suddenly, as they might bite. Their long beaks have sharp rows of teeth on each side of the jaws.

Hiking through the jungle: Led by knowledgeable local guides, usually of indigenous origin, these hikes offer visitors the chance to learn about various Amazonian plants and insects. The massive ant hills and ground-level homes of tarantulas are especially impressive. Be sure to wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, and bring along insect repellent and bottled drinking water.

Fishing for piranha: Although there are more than 30 varieties of piranhas, you will probably be fishing for the smaller variety of these carnivorous fish. Some lodges will gladly cook any fish you catch, most likely in a fish stew since their bodies have little flesh and are full of spiky bones.

Watching the sunrise: Expect a wake-up knock at your cabin at 5 am in order to glimpse the spectacular colors of the sunrise over the Rio Negro.

Visiting riverside communities: At these communities, visitors often learn how to make manioc flour, a staple of the Amazonian diet, and sample fruit from Amazonian trees such as the tucuman, which has round fruit with a fleshy, orange-colored inside. Riverside communities carve the pits of these fruit to make black-colored bracelets and rings.

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