River Cruising in Novo Airao

Taking the boat across the Amazon
Taking the boat across the Amazon

We had our first experience of how Brazil does breakfasts this morning at our pousada, with a wide spread of various sweet cakes, fruits, breads, plantains, and donuts. Since we wanted to catch the World Cup games in the afternoon, we opted to sign up for a quick 2-hour boat tour of the Anavilhanas archipelagos early in the morning. Our guide took us on a small speedboat through the area, which constituted the second largest river archipelago in the world, expertly navigating through narrow channels within the Amazon River system. Known as igapós, or flooded forests, the area was characterized by “islands” of treetops that were up to 20m under water caused by the wet season from December to May. Since we were visiting at the beginning of the dry season, not much of the flooding had evaporated yet, creating a very interesting landscape only accessible by boat. We didn’t see too many animals today since our excursion didn’t take us too far, but we did go by an area that was frequented by botos vermelhos, or pink river dolphins indigenous to the Amazon River.

Iguanas at breakfast
Our friendly breakfast companions
Tarantula in our dining room..
Yes, this is a real tarantula in the outdoor breakfast room
View from our lodge
Picture-perfect view from our pousada’s window

We got back to the pousada by noon, just in time for the day’s games to kick off, so we laid back at the lodge to watch some games before taking off to search for lunch. Today’s local exploration was yet another fail, as our expanded exploration of the area didn’t really uncover too many other interesting spots. There were a few all-you-can-eat buffets available which we didn’t completely trust, but in the end opted for since those appeared to be the only option. We ate at a place that was called Restaurante Tucunare – nothing too notable, except for the fact that we ate some mystery meat which may have been horse but was never confirmed. I’ll continue to remain in my blissfully ignorant state for that one. We walked around a bit more, attempting to stop by the dolphin place to see if we could arrange for a visit, but there was a long wait and it was super muggy so we decided not to stick around. Good thing, since this would later be included in our bigger Amazon tour a few days later. After taking an air conditioning break (seemingly only available in our hotel room), we loyally turned back around to our watering hole, Giga Byte, to watch the evening game before heading to a new restaurant, Ze de Pinga for dinner. We ended up eating with a group of Americans who stayed at our pousada, and had a pretty decent meal consisting of pao de queijo (my favorite Brazilian snack – magical cheesy bread), fried fish with rice, mashed potatoes, and some large Brahmas before calling it a night.

Natural gateway through the channels
Natural gateway through the channels
Fellow rowers
Rowing through the flooded forests
Six months of flooding
Six months of rain = 20m under water
Canopies above us
Lush green canopies above us
Perfectly still river
They look like bushes but these were actually treetops 75% submerged under water
Morning on the Amazon
Morning on the Amazon

HOW WE DID IT:

Tours – arranged on-site through our pousada, Pousada Bela Vista

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