This is a very big river and it’s not very busy. Or maybe it doesn’t seem to be very busy because it’s a very big river! The jungle comes right up to the river bank in most places so there is not much to see from the ship. Needless to say, If you really want to see the land of the Amazon, a ship is not the way to do it. Our ship made two “landfalls” as we traveled down the Amazon River.
The first was Parintins (pronounce ‘para-chintz). It is on an island, Tupinambarana, about 350 miles from Manaus.
The townspeople set up a market for our arrival.
We took a short walk around town.
Shoot….a little too big for a souvenir!
Each June Parantins hosts a folk festival called Boi Bumba. Thousands of visitors come to town for a week long party. The festival involves lots of music, dancing, costumes and huge animal floats. The costumes and sets are very elaborate. They compare it to Rio’s Carnival. We were treated to a “mini Boi Bumba” where characters and giant puppets presented myths and legends through dance and song.
It is quite a production. Many people have posted clips on YouTube so you can see a short video of the show here.
It was a gray day and we did get caught in a little rain shower after the show. Then it was back to the ship and on down the river.
The second stop on our Amazon River Cruise was Santarem, Brazil. It’s about halfway to the sea from Manaus.
We chose to do the Santa Lucia Arboretum tour. First we were bussed along the Santarem-Cuiaba Highway, the only road connecting this remote region of the Amazon with the rest of Brazil.
Then we covered ourselves with bug repellant and headed into the jungle. Our guide took us on a walk pointing out and naming plants, trees and flowers.
These are bird’s nests.
The black blob on the left is a termite nest. On the right are wasp’s nests.
A cut in a rubber tree starts a slight flow.
A peanut headed butterfly and bullet ants. One sting is compared to being shot with a bullet! Yikes!
Back on the river we could see the town of Santarem.
There is another “meeting of the waters” here. The dark water of the Tapajos River runs side by side with the muddy Amazon for several miles before mixing.
We cruised down the Amazon River for another day, crossed the equator and entered the Atlantic Ocean.