White Waters Amazon Expedition

Mamirauá Reserve, Amazon Rainforest

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

The rare White Uakari lives only in the flooded forests of the Upper Amazon.

White Uakari, Mamirauá Reserve, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Luiz Claudio Marigo
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

“A unique journey of discovery…”

Dr. Charles A. Munn

 

Land Price (9 days/8 nights)

US$ 7,485 per person

Includes intra-tour flights Manaus – Tefé – Manaus

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a guest room. Travel insurance for United States and Canadian residents through the age of 59 years is included (over that age, there is a supplementary fee). Residents of other countries will receive an allowance to purchase travel insurance in their own country. See all inclusions.

 

For an Amazon lodge in Peru,

we recommend

Amazon Research & Conservation Center

 

 

“So many experiences and new concepts to explore further.”

“Thanks very much for sending the Google Earth overflights. It was a wonderful trip, made all the more so by your presence and careful arrangements. There are so many experiences and new concepts to explore further. I think the thing that surprised me the most was how similar rather than different the forest is to the ones I know. Guess I was influenced by the old Tarzan movies… I hope our paths cross again sometime in the future and send you very best wishes concerning your work in preserving the Amazon.”

–Dr. Michael Brines

 

It was truly memorable.

“I am still re-living our trip and thinking about all we did and saw. It was awesome. I showed my best photos twice today to two groups; as soon as I winnow it some more, I will send the best ones to the team. I haven’t seen Mike’s photos yet but expecting with his HD camera and monopole, he will have some great ones. I also saw Gil’s on his blog, and some he put on my flash drive. Thank you for making the expedition as interesting, informative and rewarding as it was. It was truly memorable.”

–Dr. Michael Yamin

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

The two great ecosystems of the Amazon – blackwater and whitewater.

Central Amazon Conservation Corridor, Amazon, Brazil.
Map: Arcana Mundi Expeditions
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Introduction

 

White Waters Amazon Expedition

Location: Mamirauá Reserve within the Central Amazon Conservation Corridor. Corridor size: 15,000,000 acres, by far the largest stretch of protected tropical rainforest on Earth.

Miraculously, the greatest wilderness on Earth, the Amazon, still resists our most strenuous efforts to force it to our will. Despite dire reports over the past four decades, more than three-quarters of the Amazon forest is still standing, storing trillions of tons of carbon. The Amazon basin, strictly defined, is the size of the United States, and that doesn’t even include the mighty Orinoco, which anywhere else in the world would seem huge, but in the context of the world’s great rivers, is dwarfed by the Amazon.

How did the Amazon develop over geological time? What are the facts about the biology, geology and anthropology of the pre-Columbian Amazon? What has happened to the Amazon since 1492 and what are the possible futures of the world’s greatest rainforest? What can we do to change the outcome for the better? These questions and more are the topics to be examined on a unique journey of discovery to the prolific Whitewater World of the Amazon River.

The tour will travel to the greatest protected area of tropical rainforest on the planet – the 15-million-acre (six-million-hectare) Central Amazon Conservation Corridor, where guests will visit the greatest of the reserves in the Whitewater World – the 2.7-million-acre (1.1-million-hectare) Mamirauá Reserve, which lies at the western end of the protected area. Mamirauá is an amazing reserve that protects the largest flooded forest in the world – a huge triangle of rainforest that lies between the confluence of the Amazon River and the much smaller Río Japurá. In most countries of the world, the Japurá would be considered an enormous river, but in the water world of the Amazon, the Japurá is like a tiny European stream that one might expect to hear extolled in a Schubert lied such as Die Forelle (The Trout). The Japurá is, in fact, the size of the Thames, Rhein or Danube.

This White Waters Amazon Expedition has been designed by one of the world’s leading conservation biologists, Dr. Charles A. Munn (B.A. Summa cum laude Princeton, M.Sc. Oxford, Ph.D. Princeton). Dr. Munn has decades of field experience in wildlife research, park creation and ecotourism planning in the two most important Amazonian countries – Brazil and Peru. His work there now guarantees the protection and sustainable viewing of wild Jaguars, Giant Otters, Tapirs, Anacondas, Maned Wolves, Giant Anteaters and many species of large monkeys in the 15 million acres of new parks and Indian reserves that Munn and his teams have established during his 35 years in the Amazon. These conservation successes have appeared in two cover stories in National Geographic as well as in numerous, award-winning TV documentaries.

 

Highlights

International arrival in Manaus, Brazil, Day 1

Day 1: International arrival in Manaus. Afternoon or evening arrival in Manaus, reception, transfer to the dock and board a quiet motorboat for the short trip to the Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge. Full board and overnight in Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Air-Conditioned Bungalow with Private Bath.

Day 2: Manaus – Giant Water Lily Lake – Meeting-of-the-Waters – Teatro Amazonas. Cruise in a covered speedboat to the Giant Water Lily Lake and then to the Meeting-of-the-Waters, where the black waters of the Río Negro meet the white waters of the Amazon River. Afterward, travel to the city’s amazing opera house, the “Teatro Amazonas”. After taking in this curiously-located tribute to European culture, transfer to the dock and board a quiet motorboat back to the Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge. Time to relax. After lunch and a nap, visit the Monkey Forest. After dinner, a short boat ride, using a spotlight to search for caimams. Early to bed. Full board and overnight in Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Air-Conditioned Bungalow with Private Bath.

Day 3: Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Lago do Bin. We board our speedboat. Cruising up the mighty Río Negro, we reach Lago do Bin, where we will have a chance to swim with, pat and even hand-feed a number of wild, amazingly gentle, powerful Amazonian Pink Dolphins. By 9 am or 9:30 am at the latest, return to the dock and board a quiet motorboat back to the Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge. Time to relax. After lunch and a nap, there is another chance to visit the Monkey Forest. Full board and overnight in Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Air-Conditioned Bungalow with Private Bath.

Intra-tour flight Manaus – Tefé, Day 4, 7:32 am – 9:00 am, Azul 2802, TBA
(Sunday flights are not recommended)

Day 4: Manaus – Tefé – Mamirauá Reserve. Depart the EcoPark at 6:00 am and transfer by boat to the Manaus Airport for the 7:30 am flight west, up the Amazon River. After arrival in the small city of Tefé, it is a ninety-minute speedboat ride to the floating Uakari Lodge, in the Whitewater World of the Mamirauá Reserve. The forests of the Mamirauá Reserve spend nearly half the year flooded up to 18 meters (60 feet) deep during the annual ebb and flow of the entire Amazon basin. Morning outing in small motorboats and canoes at the Uakari Lodge, during which we will try to find troops of beautiful monkeys, including the rare, emblematic white monkey, known as the White Uakari. Lunch, a nap and an afternoon outing. Cocktails on the river before returning to the lodge. Dinner. Full board and overnight in the Uakari Lodge – Room with Private Bath and Forest View Terrace.

Days 5, 6 & 7: Uakari Lodge. As we continue our search for the White Uakari on our morning and afternoon outings, we won’t neglect observing the other abundant wildlife of the flooded forest, such as the Paichi, Gray Dolphins, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Black Caimans, Spectacled (or White) Caimans, Red Howler Monkeys, Brown Capuchin Monkeys, Common Squirrel Monkeys, Vanzolini’s Squirrel Monkeys, Festive Amazon Parrots, herons, egrets, Neotropic Cormorants and Hoatzins. Cocktails on the river before returning to the lodge for dinner. Full board and overnight in the Uakari Lodge – Room with Private Bath and Forest View Terrace.

Intra-tour flight Tefé – Manaus, Day 8, 2:00 pm – 3:07 pm, Azul 2831, TBA
(Sunday flights are not recommended)

Day 8: Uakari Lodge – Tefé – Manaus. Speedboat to Tefé and flight back to Manaus this afternoon. Transfer to the Park Suites Hotel, towering over the mightly Río Negro. Relax and shower. As the late afternoon sun descends, go to the restaurant and outside porch on the top floor of the hotel to enjoy the panoramic view of the river and Amazon Rainforest. Drink a sundowner (on your own), and then have dinner (on your own). Three hours before the takeoff time of your midnight jet, your guide will accompany you on the 15-minute drive back to the airport and assist you with checking in for the flight to your next destination. Day room in the Park Suites.

International flight Manaus – Miami, 24 June, 12:02 am, US Airways, TBA

Day 9: Manaus – Miami or Your Next Destination. Flight and arrival home or your next destination.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – the best introduction to the Amazon.

Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge, Manaus, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Itinerary

International arrival in Manaus, Brazil, Day 1

 

Day 1: International arrival in Manaus

Afternoon or evening arrival in Manaus, reception, transfer to the dock on a small tributary of the Río Negro and board a quiet motorboat for the short trip to the Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge. The EcoPark is a simple but comfortable and entertaining rainforest lodge that most scientists consider the best introduction to the Amazon. Its bungalows are scattered strategically among tropical trees on the edge of its private reserve. Full board and overnight in Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Air-Conditioned Bungalow with Private Bath.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

Heralds the glory of a bygone era of opulence during the peak of the rubber trade…

Teatro Amazonas, Manaus, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: David Leventi
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Day 2: Manaus – Giant Water Lily Lake – Meeting-of-the-Waters – Teatro Amazonas

Cruise in a covered speedboat for a half hour to the Giant Water Lily Lake, and then a quarter hour to the amazing Meeting-of-the-Waters, where the name of this expedition comes alive. Here, the black waters of the Río Negro, the Amazon River’s largest tributary, meet the white waters of the Amazon River. For several miles, the waters run side by side without mixing. This phenomenon is due to the differences in temperature, speed and water density of the two rivers. What do we mean by “black water” and “white water”? Black water refers to the outrageously pure, virtually sterile, transparent, tea-colored, tannin-laden waters of the Río Negro. White water refers to the sediment-laden, opaque, “café con leche” appearance of all the Amazonian tributaries that originate in the mighty Andes to the west, the world’s youngest (and still rising) major mountain chain. Any exploration of the Amazon that visits only one of these two ecosystems cannot possibly provide an understanding of the geological and biological underpinnings of the past, present and future of Amazonian biodiversity that is necessary to develop conservation options. Because of its huge scale, the Meeting-of-the-Waters is best seen from the air, and we’ll see it that way on our flight back from the Jaú National Park.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

Meeting-of-the-Waters, where the Amazon River meets the Río Negro.

Meeting-of-the-Waters, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography:
VisitAmazonas. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Afterward, travel a quarter hour by boat and taxi to the city’s amazing opera house. The imposing and ornate “Teatro Amazonas” was designed by Italian architect Celestial Sacardim in the Renaissance style, but was planned to be state of the art and to include electric lighting. It was inaugurated on 31 December 1896 and the first performance occurred on 7 January 1897 with the Italian opera La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli. The opera house heralds the glory of a bygone era of opulence during the peak of the rubber trade in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is featured in the film Fitzcarraldo, directed by the German director Werner Herzog in 1982. At the beginning of the film, the opera-obsessed character “Fitzcarraldo” makes his way to the opera house to hear Enrico Caruso sing in Verdi’s Ernani. He arrives right at the end of the opera and there are scenes of the interior of the house. While it is believed that the house was constructed to attract Caruso to perform at its opening, there is some doubt that he ever did perform there. After taking in this curiously-located tribute to European culture, transfer to the dock on a small tributary of the Río Negro and board a quiet motorboat for the short trip back to the Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge. Recommended film: Fitzcarraldo, directed by Werner Herzog.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

At EcoPark’s Monkey Forest, enjoy views of wild, free-ranging monkeys…

Common Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri sciureus), Monkey Forest, Manaus, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Time to relax. After lunch and a nap, visit one of the lodge’s most interesting locations. The Monkey Forest is a tract of protected Amazon forest only one kilometer away from the lodge across a blackwater bay. Once there, you will have the chance to enjoy views of wild, free-ranging monkeys of a number of species. The monkeys are rehabilitated animals that were confiscated from the illegal pet trade, nourished well, given veterinary care and vitamins, then released in an enormous rainforest and allowed to go wild. The monkeys now are visible twice a day because the lodge’s nonprofit conservation foundation gives the happy, wild primates a modest supplement of varied, fresh fruit to keep them in top shape and tide them over even during the annual, natural shortage of wild fruits that is typical of virtually all Amazonian forests. Guests are not allowed to feed the monkeys, and the monkeys ignore the humans, while going about their lives at close range, which makes for superb photo opportunities.

Professional biologists and conservationists agree that these wild monkeys are in excellent condition both physically and psychologically, so there is no reason at this point to feel sorry for them. It is heartening to see them forming natural social groups and dominance hierachies, which is normal for their species. The EcoPark monkey release program is a standout success in the proper rehabilitation and reintroduction into nature of primates that in captivity would have a life of misery and social deprivation. Even if you were to do nothing else at all on your entire trip to the Amazon, a visit to the EcoPark and their rainforest reserve full of happy, newly “rewilded” monkeys is a sign that there are successes in the Amazon and hope for the future.

After dinner, a short boat ride, using a spotlight to search for Spectacled (or White) Caimans, Caiman crocodilus, one of the two most widespread of caiman species. The other is the Black Caiman, Melanosuchus niger. Early to bed. Full board and overnight in Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Air-Conditioned Bungalow with Private Bath.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

Wild, amazingly gentle, powerful Amazonian Pink Dolphins.

Pink Dolphins, Lago do Bin, Río Negro, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Kevin Schafer
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Day 3: Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Lago do Bin

After an early breakfast, we board our speedboat. Cruising up the mighty Río Negro for an hour, we reach Lago do Bin, where we will have a chance to swim with, pat and even hand-feed a number of wild, amazingly gentle, powerful Amazonian Pink Dolphins. The dolphins visit the spot early each morning to take just a few fresh fish from the local family who took years to befriend these intelligent marine mammals. Dolphin specialists have evaluated this relationship for years and decided that it poses absolutely no threat to or problem for the animals. These self-confident, friendly cetaceans are healthy, free-ranging, entirely unconfined and choose of their own free will to spend some minutes with the helpful humans. Then, the dolphins swim off and disappear for most of the day. We plan to reach the dolphins early enough to enjoy these creatures in private before other visitors arrive.

By 9 am or 9:30 am at the latest, return to the dock and board a quiet motorboat back to the Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge. Time to relax. After lunch and a nap, there is another chance to visit the Monkey Forest. Full board and overnight in Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge – Air-Conditioned Bungalow with Private Bath.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

The floating Uakari Lodge was designed for minimum environmental impact…

Bungalow, floating Uakari Lodge, Mamirauá Reserve, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Uakari Lodge
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Intra-tour flight Manaus – Tefé, Day 4, 7:32 am – 9:00 am, Azul 2802, TBA
(Sunday flights are not recommended)

 

Day 4: Manaus – Tefé – Mamirauá Reserve

Depart the EcoPark at 6 am and transfer by boat to the Manaus Airport for the 7:30 am flight west, up the Amazon River. After a 9 am arrival in the small city of Tefé, it is a ninety-minute speedboat ride to the floating Uakari Lodge, in the Whitewater World of the Mamirauá Reserve. The prize-winning yet rustic lodge is composed of seven floating structures made of wood, covered with thatch and connected by floating runways. It was designed for minimum environmental impact on the 2.5-million-acre reserve, a huge triangle of flooded forest between the Japurá River and the Solimões River, the name that Brazilians use for that stretch of the Amazon River. During your two days at the Uakari Lodge, your English-speaking guide will translate and amplify the running commentary in Portuguese delivered by your local, non-English-speaking guides.

Mamirauá is the western part of the great Central Amazon Conservation Corridor that also includes the Amanã Reserve and the Jaú National Park. The forests of the Mamirauá Reserve spend nearly half the year flooded up to 18 meters (60 feet) deep during the annual ebb and flow of the entire Amazon basin. Most of the main rivers of the Amazon lie south of the equator and swell during the austral rainy season, which is from November through April. This massive pulse of water, unlike anything else on the planet, works its way east and northeast from the rain-drenched eastern slopes of the Andes (the only mountain chain in the world that runs from far north of the equator to far south of it) until it backs up along the Amazon in Mamirauá, reaching an annual peak on or near the 4th of June.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

The rare, emblematic white monkey, known as the White Uakari…

The rare White Uakari Monkey (Cacajao calvus calvus), Mamirauá Reserve, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Luiz Claudio Marigo
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

The nutrient-rich sediments of the rivers that are cutting into the young, growing Andes provide natural fertilizer that makes trees in the floodplain of these rivers grow 10 times faster than the trees in the floodplains of the blackwater rivers, all of which originate in the lowlands, far from the Andes. The production of fruit in the whitewater floodplains is so much more massive than that in the blackwater floodplains that the density of animals, whether monkeys, macaws, or caimans, is very obviously much higher than in the black waters of the Río Negro and the “small” tributaries of the Río Negro such as the Danube-sized Jaú River. In fact, animal densities are 20 to 50 times greater per square mile in such forests than in blackwater forests. The reason is that the Guyanan and Brazilian Shields, north and south of the Amazon, are among the oldest soils and landscapes on Earth. Each is a billion years old and with no more nutrients to give to the rivers that start there. It is incredible that rivers as big as the Río Negro, Río Tapajós, Río Tocantíns, Río Xingú and others in these two ancient shields have so little nutrients in them, even during full flood. They are nutrient deserts, those rivers, and the whole structure of the plant and animal communities are infinitely diverse, but also infinitely nutrient-limited.

Morning outing in small motorboats and canoes at the Uakari Lodge, during which we will try to find troops of beautiful monkeys, including the rare, emblematic white monkey, known as the White Uakari, which lives only in the flooded forests of the Upper Amazon. Lunch, a nap and an afternoon outing. Cocktails on the river before returning to the lodge. Dinner. Full board and overnight in the Uakari Lodge – Room with Private Bath and Forest View Terrace.

 

Days 5, 6 & 7: Uakari Lodge

As we continue our search for the White Uakari on our morning and afternoon outings, we won’t neglect observing the other abundant wildlife of the flooded forest, such as the Paichi, a living fossil from the Miocene era (23 to 5 million B.C.). We are also likely to see Gray Dolphins, Scarlet Macaws, Harpy Eagles, Black Caimans, Spectacled (or White) Caimans, Red Howler Monkeys, Brown Capuchin Monkeys, Common Squirrel Monkeys, Vanzolini’s Squirrel Monkeys, Festive Amazon Parrots, herons, egrets, Neotropic Cormorants and Hoatzins. Cocktails on the river before returning to the lodge for dinner. Full board and overnight in the Uakari Lodge – Room with Private Bath and Forest View Terrace.

 

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

The Paichi, a living fossil from the Miocene era (23 to 5 million B.C.).

Paichi (Arapaima gigasi), a 10-foot-long Amazonian fish, Mamirauá Reserve, Amazon, Brazil.
Photography: Uakari Lodge
. Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris.

 

Intra-tour flight Tefé – Manaus, Day 8, 2:00 pm – 3:07 pm, Azul 2831, TBA
(Sunday flights are not recommended)

Day 8: Uakari Lodge – Tefé – ManausAmazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge

Speedboat to Tefé, snacks and flight back to Manaus this afternoon. Transfer to the Park Suites Hotel, towering over the mightly Río Negro. Relax and shower. As the late afternoon sun descends, go to the restaurant and outside porch on the top floor of the hotel to enjoy the panoramic view of the river and Amazon Rainforest. Drink a sundowner (on your own), and then have dinner (on your own). Three hours before the departure of your midnight jet, your guide will accompany you on the 15-minute drive back to the airport and assist you with checking in for the flight to your next destination. Day room in the Park Suites.

 

International flight Manaus – Miami, 24 June, 12:02 am, US Airways, TBA

 

Day 9: Manaus – Miami or Your Next Destination.

Flight and arrival home or your next destination.

 

Inclusions

The price includes escorted transfers, excursions with a naturalist guide, entrance fees, specified accommodations, specified meals, all land and water transportation, the Manaus – Tefé – Manaus flights, and travel insurance for United States and Canadian residents through the age of 59 years (over that age, there is a supplementary fee). Residents of other countries will receive an allowance to purchase travel insurance in their own country. All prices are per person based on two people sharing a guest room.

Exclusions:

The price excludes international and intra-tour flights, unless specifically mentioned as being included. Also excluded are passports, visas, vaccinations, soft drinks, bottled water, beer, wine, mixed drinks, laundry, phone calls, tips and any other item of a personal nature.

 

Flights

The Manaus – Tefé – Manaus flights are included. Arriving and departing Manaus flights are not included.

 

Visas

A visa is required for residents of some countries, including the United States. Contact your nearest Brazilian Consulate for details.

 

Health Advice

No vaccinations are required to enter Brazil. A yellow fever vaccination is recommended. Malaria is very low risk, but since there is malaria in some parts of the Brazilian Amazon (which might be transmitted by a human carrier to the mosquitos in the Manaus area), malaria prophylaxis also is recommended, Malarone is the treatment of choice. It is important to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants. In addition, apply an insect repellent that contains 30% to 35% DEET to exposed skin. If you prefer a natural repellent, one possibility is TheraNeem Leaf & Oil Herbal Outdoor Spray by Organix South, Inc. We further recommend a cap or a hat with mosquito netting to keep insects away from your face. Such items are available at outfitters and should be purchased before leaving home. Take an ample supply of your medications with you and your doctor’s prescription for each, in case you need refills. Further health information for travelers to South America is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

 

 

“Dreaming of that next epic wildlife adventure? Here are your go-to guys.”

–Condé Nast Traveller

 

Contact

 

Amazon Wildlife Photography Tours & Safaris

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