My previous Manaus reports are here:
Since our time in Manaus was limited–we only had three full days and a game ticket–the logistics made us forgo a two-day Amazon adventure I was eying and settle for the easiest and most touristy boat trip we could get: The Meeting of the Waters.
The Meeting of the Waters is arguably the most popular Amazon tour in Manaus. It’s easy, not time consuming and the cheapest of all Amazon tours; it’s “only” R$210 per person if you buy it at a local downtown tour company. The waters of the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões (which is actually the upper stretch of the Amazon) flow next to each other side by side for a few miles without mixing before forming the Amazon. Unfortunately, it rained heavily on the day of our tour. The rain made the scenery in whole more dramatic, but the lack of sunlight equalized (speaking in soccer term) the difference in color, which wasn’t good.
The company we used.
There are all kinds of tourist vessels navigating the Amazon, from small boats to large cruise ships. The second one is Iberostar Amazon ship-hotel.
The rain begins
The Amazon floods its basins every year during the rain season, so much so that the state of Amazonas routinely declares the state of emergency year after year in order to get access to the federal funds. This year, the water has raised over 90 ft in some areas.
The reason why the waters of the Rio Negro and Solimões are not mixing for several miles is threefold: different speed, density, and water temperature. The Rio Negro is considerably warmer than the Solimões. I have never swum in any natural body of water that would be this warm. Hot springs do not count.
Here are some more pics of the Rio Negro and Solimões. You can still see the difference.
Drinking in the rain. Note to self: rain and caipirinhas are mixing just fine.
Who’s flying the boat? Timmy is!
A floating village.
We stopped for lunch (included in the price of the tour) and took a stroll along the wooden bridge over the flooded forest. It was eerie and beautiful.
While we were browsing the souvenir shop, our guide loaded the rest of the group into small boats and took them on a ride through the forest. Our captain found another boat for us that took us on the same journey. It was a 3-bench boat, so the captain asked me to leave my bag with him. That wouldn’t have been a problem, but my camera had been in that bag, and my phone battery was dying. Still, I managed to squeeze a few pics out of the phone before it bid me adieu.
The tour lasted from 9AM to 4PM, and was well worth the money. When we got back to Manaus, we were going to shop for some souvenirs, but the city was celebrating Corpus Christi. Everything was close, and everyone was in the streets.
So we had some food and watched France devour Switzerland on a giant screen in the Central Square. There were a few French guys jumping up and down the stage, who had apparently had one too many, but all in a good fun.
All in all, it was time and money well-spent, and I’m already planning to return for a more serious Amazon exploration.