Amazon & Natal


Our most recent trip went to the Amazon rain forest followed by a few days on the north coast of Brazil in a city called "Natal", which means "Christmas" in Portuguese.



We left Montes Claros on the July 16th heading North up to Manaus, the capital of the state “Amazonas” which is one of the states in Brazil where the Amazon rain forest can be found. As with all trips from Montes Claros we had to head 400 km South first, to catch our flight to Manaus, which lies North West of us. Varig our airline company had since claimed bankruptcy and cancelled about 90% of all their flights. We left MOC on the Sunday morning early, hoping on being able to speak to Varig and get them to book our flight with one of their code shares. After a short 5 hrs in the airport a very nice flight attendant managed to book all four of us on a flight from Belo Horizonte to Brasilia that Sunday with a connecting flight to Manaus the next day, meaning we only had to find accommodation for the night in Brasilia. After a relaxing night in Brasilia we headed of to the airport to catch our flight to Manaus and found that Varig had cancelled all flights - except ours. The flight was only delayed 3hrs which meant that we only arrived at 5 p.m. meaning 3 hrs to late to get our transfer the 160 km (which takes about 4 hrs) into the Jungle. One more relaxing evening and a morning in Manaus, where we visited the Theatre, made approximately 100 years ago – when Manaus was a rich city for rubber barons and other European VIP’s. To make the theatre they ordered the materials from Europe and they were then shipped to Manaus where it was constructed. All the wood was harvested in the jungle, then shipped to Europe where it was crafted by the artisans and then shipped back to Brazil. After the historical part it was off to the shopping centre so the boys could get there dose of Mc Donald's before the trip into the wilds (we do NOT have Mikkel Donald in MOC, so it is NOT something we do very often J). At 1.30 p.m. our transferee to the harbour arrived and took us to our boat taxi. On this first short boat trip we saw the meeting of the Rio Negro and Rio Salimões. These two rivers converge and flow next to each other for about 10 km without mixing. This is due to differences in temperature, salinity and speed of the water. After about 45 min we reached the other side of the water way and were driven about 45 km to the next river, where we were transferred further up-stream to the eco river lodge where we spent the next three nights.

While out there we went swimming in the rivers and lake Juma where the lodge is situated, we went canoeing around the lodge and piranha fishing. We also visited one of the local families in the area and had an introduction to how they survived there before being subsidized by rich tourists. We went for a walk through the jungle and tasted some of the different things found in the forest; Richard was lucky enough to taste a grub (yummiest), which tasted of coconut. There was a tower built around a tree that was 40 m high which gave a great view from up there of the surrounding area. Where we were the water level rose and subsided as much as 15 meters during the course of the year, while we were there the water was about 12 meters above low water level. What to us looked like bushes growing in the water where actually the tops of trees and if we came back in about 4 months time we would be able to walk below these trees. On the last evening we went Caiman (Brazilian version of a Crocodile) hunting by boat. The guide caught one and told us a bit about it before releasing it. The last day was a transfer from the lodge back to the city where we spent the night.

Early the next morning, 4 a.m. (some, including Ghita, would call it the middle of the night) we left to take a flight to Natal via Santarèm, Belèm, São Luis and Fortaleza .




After a flight that felt like the aero version of the local train we arrived in Natal, where we had a pick up arranged to our hotel. When we got in the bus Ghita and I looked at each other wondering if we had booked the right hotel, as all the people in the bus where over 65, but luckily for us (and them) it was a bus to various hotels and when we got to ours we where the only ones who got off. The weather in Natal was very unreliable you had everything from sunshine to overcast to downpour in the course of a couple of hours. While in Natal we visited one of the local reefs where we snorkelled and saw a few different types of tropical fish. We cruised up and down the coast which is the third nearest point to Africa - only about 5500 nautical miles if I understood the captain of the boat. We spent numerous hours on the beach when the sun was shining and when not. The one day we went to the local aquarium which cost us more in taxi fare than it would have done to rent a car, the taxi driver thought this was great and offered to wait for us free of charge so he could get the next weeks salary the same day. The last day we rented a dune buggy with a driver and went cruising the dunes of Natal - a great way to spend the day if it's not raining. While out you stop at various places along the way to take pictures and buy curios. You can also ride donkeys and dromedaries, try dune surfing and slides and visit various lagoons, stop for lunch at one of the beach front restaurants to enjoy fresh shrimps lobster and crayfish, before heading back to the city.

Thursday July 27th the holiday was over – and we caught yet another flight – first back to Brasilia, then to Belo Horizonte and finally – five hours in the car back to our nice home in Montes Claros. Luckily we had no Varig flights coming back – so we made it all in the same day J


Amazon I   Amazon II   Natal Tours page


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