The mighty Amazon River is the world’s biggest and most incredible waterway. Home to an astonishing diversity of flora and fauna, the best way to discover its beauty is by floating along her tranquil waters on a fully equipped cruise ship. A number of different vessels ply the river and its tributaries, from luxurious cruise liners to more basic and intimate offerings. Let’s take a look at the best river cruise ships in Brazil.
As Brazil’s most grand vessel, the 148 passenger Iberostar offers five-star luxury similar to what you’d expect on an ocean-going cruise liner. Just some of the many on-board amenities include a restaurant, bar, conference room, two swimming pools, a jacuzzi and even a discotheque. Cruises depart from Manaus and run anywhere between four to eight days, including numerous dinghy launches to bring guests right up close to the wildlife.
As the most luxurious small ship in the Brazilian Amazon, the Amazon Clipper offers comfort and sophistication on a vessel capable of getting right up close to the action. Featuring 16 cabins, some of which come with private balconies, the Clipper’s petite stature makes for a superb wildlife viewing experience. Guests can relax on its top floor sundeck or jump in an outboard motor-powered canoe to scour narrow channels and flooded forests for native fauna.
Perhaps the most charming of Brazil’s river cruise ships, the Desafio is a classic old schooner that takes guests on a journey back to the days of yesterday. Recently refurbished, this small luxurious vessel has just 12 cabins which creates a sociable atmosphere while still retaining a high level of comfort. Most voyages travel from Manaus to the Anavilhanas Islands and the grand Rio Negro, including plenty of canoe trips and hikes along the way.
For an authentic experience, consider opting for a voyage on the Amazon Dream, a wooden vessel built in the traditional Amazonian style. With just nine cabins, this small and intimate ship sails for five to ten days around Santarem – a little known region that is rife with wildlife and natural beauty. Particularly popular with French passengers, the Amazon Dream offers the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation, well off the beaten path.
Although not as luxurious as other offerings, the M/Y Tucano is a hit for its low cost and authenticity. This small wooden vessel often departs with as few as 14 passengers, making for a friendly on-board experience with an excellent guide to guest ratio. Departing from Manaus, her focus is on exploring rarely visited sections of the Amazon in order to escape the crowds. Best of all, the the M/Y Tucano provides the option of sharing a cabin which is perfect for solo travelers on a budget.
Boasting one of the strictest environment policies on the river, the Lo Peix runs entirely on solar energy which avoids the need for a generator and allows guests to truly appreciate the sounds of the jungle at night. The vessel tends to stick to lesser known regions such as the Anavilhanas islands and is particularly popular for its highly customisable itineraries that include an array of exciting activities. From swimming with river dolphins, to climbing trees or camping overnight in the jungle, every day is an adventure on the Lo Peix.
The smallest vessel on our list, the tiny Jacaré-Tinga has room for just eight passengers, giving it authorization to sail through the more remote regions of the Amazon. Highly traditional, everything from the boat’s construction to its on-board cuisine has been inspired by the traditional caboclo culture, riverside people of mixed European and indigenous descent. Some love it for the numerous cultural community visits while others are more appreciative of its all inclusive policy (unlimited caprihinis, anyone?).
Keen to cruise down the tranquil waters of the mighty Amazon? Then get in touch with the folks at Rainforest Cruises, the true experts in the region.