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Trip Report about guiding on the Amazon

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Dec 26th, 2010, 09:22 AM
  #1
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Trip Report about guiding on the Amazon

We were on a cruise that spent 8 days on the Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers. 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,
StanKase is offline  
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Dec 26th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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"visited remote villages where in some cases the locals had never seen people with blue eyes such as my wife has."

LOL.
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Dec 27th, 2010, 04:38 AM
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thanks for posting good info...
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Dec 27th, 2010, 04:46 PM
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My husband has bright blue eyes, and we were in that village 25 years ago.
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Dec 28th, 2010, 01:32 PM
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Ah but the best bit is this:

"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...."

Manaus is sprawling city with nigh on 2 million inhabitants. It is also the most unattractive, dirty and unpleasant city I have ever been to. Leaving aside the teatro, there's really very little to see in the city itself.

I'm always mildly amused by people who take luxury cruises and guided tours syet omehow come to the conclusion that they are Dr Livingstone or Percy Fawcett. I suppose, for them the fact that they are able to visit a village with an English speaking guide, by way of an airconditioned car and speedboat, is insufficeint evidence that they might not be the first gringos to have taken the trip.
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Dec 28th, 2010, 02:13 PM
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Carlos,
When we went to Manaus about 25 years ago, it was an exotic destination for us, me especially. I'd read Marcio Souza's "Emperor of the Amazon" and "Mad Maria", plus some other books like that. It took quite a bit of effort to get there -- via airplane not cruise. Anyway, I knew that I wasn't going to experience the "real" Amazon jungle in Manaus and nearby environs, but I found the experience very interesting in the short time we had. The meeting of the waters, teatro, etc. I found it interesting, also, that such a large city had developed in an area with limited road access. I was even wowed back then that such a nice hotel as the Tropicale existed there. I wouldn't mind revisiting for another short time. It was damned hot and humid when we were there in February. But once when we were sitting on the hotel steps waiting for a taxi, some U.S. businessmen started to chat with us. They were amazed that we had traveled there voluntarily as tourists. I think they didn't find it fascinating as I did.
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Dec 28th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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carlos69; Sounds like your envious. The city itself is not attractive now nor was it much nicer in 1979 when we visited for 2 days prior to going to Gov. valedares. But our outings in Manaus, Santerem and Parintins were very interesting where locals were using a 5HP engine to grind root vegetables for multi-uses. It was not "show and tell" though you would like to make it sound like it was. When we saw children studying via distance learning via a laptop computer I doubt we were on the campus of Harvard or Columbia. Our donation of school supplies was a precious moment and you cannot contort it regardless what you say.
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Dec 28th, 2010, 06:55 PM
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Envious? Not at all. Manaus isn't somewhere I have any desire to return to. I suppose those aspects which you might find picturesque or exotic or probably a little more familiar to me though.

I'm glad you enjoyed your holiday, I just felt you rather over egged the omelette in relating it. I haven't attempted to contort your tale.
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Oct 27th, 2011, 01:32 PM
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Carlos has left the room, it seems.
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