Off Grid with Kids in the Brazilian Amazon

Our kids just had a week off from school here in Rio, and we took advantage of the break to fulfill our dream of seeing the Amazon. My husband found us really good fares with Gol Airlines. Evidently it’s the off-season for the Amazon. We flew from Rio de Janeiro, to São Paulo, to Manaus (arriving late at night and going straight to our hotel)

Day 1

The next morning, our guide for the duration of our Amazon stay came to pick us up. We drove to Porto do Ceasa, a port just outside of town with ferries and water taxis that transport people to the other side of the river (there is no bridge). After checking out the unusual fish at the port’s market, we caught a small boat with our guide Terry to Careiro on the other side.

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The gorgeous water and big sky blew us away!

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“Meeting of the Waters” (Encontro das aguas) where the darker Rio Negro meets the sandy colored upper Amazon.

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Arriving in Careiro

Here we grabbed a few bottles of water, traded our boat for a van, and drove 45 minutes through floodplains/farmland.

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Nilson, the owner of the pousada where we would be staying, came to pick us up in one of his boats. We rode for almost an hour through the beautiful waterways, searching for animals in the trees, and seeing how the locals live along the rivers and lakes – our excitement grew. We were in the Amazon!!!

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See the hairy arms forming a V in the middle of the pic? They belong to a sloth.

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The blobby texture on the dead tree is a major termite infestation.

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Finally we reached Pousada do Nilson on Rio Paraná do Mamori

Nilson and his family live in the pink house and we stayed in two rooms left of the round building with the palm roof. The buildings float on huge logs. There was no wifi, no satelite or mobile phone reception, and no hot water. We were definitely off the grid.

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The beds had mosquito netting and the water for the sink, toilet, and shower was from the river. Our guide made a point of telling us that the toilet did not empty into the river – there was a septic tank.

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My daughter trying out one of the hammocks.

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My husband and son canoeing.

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Just after my husband jumped into the water to cool off, my son exclaimed, “Look, there’s a big lizard!”

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We looked under the decking and discovered it was a small (alligatorid crocodylians) caiman. It couldn’t take a leg off but maybe a hand or at least several toes 🙂 We didn’t swim in the open river again. Nilson, had a small enclosed river swimming pool made out of wood that kept critters out, so we hopped in there whenever we felt the need to cool off.

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After lunch the sun was shining again and we went for an “explore the neighborhood” boat ride in one of the smaller wooden boats with our guide Terry.

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River Dolphins at dusk

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Breathtaking first sunset in the Amazon!

IMG_6135After dinner we headed back out onto the water to look for creatures of the night. Terry and Nilson brought flashlights and searched the banks, trees, and floating islands of vegetation for glowing eyes. We saw this bright green snake in a riverside tree.

Terry swooped up a small Caiman that he spotted in the tall grass.

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After pointing out a few of the caiman’s features, he released him back into the river. Alligatorid (I’ve learned a new word) hunting was exciting and a bit creepy. At one point, while Terry was holding on to the caiman, the flashlight dropped and we were plunged into darkness. We heard a thud. When the light came back on, the kids and I all had our feet raised up off the bottom of the boat just incase the thud was Terry dropping the caiman. Everyone started laughing.

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What a fun filled day of new experiences! Hiking tomorrow!

Day 2 “Into the Rainforest We Go! – https://wanderlusting4life.com/2015/04/28/into-the-rainforest-we-go/

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