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Brazil

To the rhythm of the Amazon, deep in the heart of the forest...

What better way to discover the Amazon than to zigzag in the heart of the forest on the Amazon River, taking the time to travel by boat to observe the life that runs along its shores and the wonderful colours of the Amazon over the days, from dawn to dusk. 

Pass through the Gates of the Amazon

The Amazon opens its arms to you! From Belém, its great Gateway, take a seat on board one of the picturesque hammock boats, which offer to take you up the river to Manaus, or even beyond if you so desire. 

For me, no doubt, navigating the largest river in the world is an experience not to be missed! 
After choosing the hammock that you want (in one of the markets that run along the port of Belém) you just have to climb aboard and dive into the heart of the forest.  

Nature lovers will not come out unscathed from this trip where the important thing is not so much the destination but the path that promises to lead us there. How quickly we forget the large city of Belém behind us, and we let ourselves be carried by the magestic waters of the Amazon. From port to port, we discover the local life that has blossomed on the river's edge, the fishermen who come and go, and the children who play and watch the boats with curiosity. 

Fishing in his canoe...

Santarem is about halfway between Belém and Manaus. These are the three largest cities to see during your journey. 

Let yourself go deep in thought

The trip lasts for several days. It all depends on the destination you choose (Santarém, Manaus, or perhaps for the more adventurous, one of the small little-known villages where life is good and the hammock boats will also stop). On board, time seems to stand still. The time is for deep thought.

For those who get fidgety, this may be a test of patience, because during the voyage over the water, people converse with their hammock boat neighbours, they observe the beauty of the forest, they greet residents in their canoes, they read, they write, they draw, or do whatever, but certainly, one must appreciate taking advantage of the passing time. Nevertheless, going across the Amazon on the roads on a bus is nothing more than a long journey, and in my opinion, I felt more comfortable on the boat, rocked in my hammock, with the possibility of walking on the bridge than sitting in a seat on a bus being tossed around by the steep Amazon roads. 

Sometimes so vast that you can barely make out the banks and other times narrow and strewn with green islets, the Amazon River captivated my senses the entire time I spent on its waters. I remember these children coming up to the boat to sell some bananas before diving back into the river behind their canoe; colourful birds and butterflies flying close to the shore; little houses on stilts here and there in the middle of all this emerald greatness... and then the friends that you make on board, playing a game of cards which I never actually understood the rules, good meals shared, and the sunsets of reds, oranges, and violets until the sky is scattered with stars for the night. What was offered before my eyes during these few days at the rhythm of the Amazon did not leave me any time to be bored!

Fishing boats resting

Anne-Laure Paffenholz
13 contributions
Updated 20 November 2015

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