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Route of Rubber

Route of Rubber,
From Manaus to Belem

And better in this order to take advantage of the current of the river. Maybe in this case we should write RIVER. The giant, huge, superlative Amazon River. This is our Route of Rubber.

This river belongs to the world of giants: it is the largest in volume and length; represents one fifth of the world’s freshwater, its flow is greater than the combined flow of the three that follow in size – the Nile, Mississippi and Yangtze. In the dry season it is up to 10 km wide, and in the wet season it could reach almost 50 km. In some stretches its depth reaches 90 m with a range of 15 meters depending on the time of the year. It discharges up to 120 million litres of water per second, changing the colour of the ocean as far as 320 km from the river mouth.

The rainy season starts in November and ends in June. However, because the climate corresponds to the tropical rainforest, it can also rain at night during the dry season. And it is hot, always.

No matter what the season, the river is always impressive. When it is at its highest level, canoeing amongst the treetops it is possible to find animals that got there looking for dry shelter. When it is at its lowest level, it is easier to see the river dolphins or sea cows.

The meeting of the waters (Encontro das Aguas) is a special sight. Since the Amazon has a density and alkalinity different from its tributaries, the water does not mix immediately. When its brown water meets with the Rio Negro (Black River), they form a fully defined stark several mile long line, which is a wonderful sight to behold.

The logical and only way to travel is by boat. Starting in Manaus, you may stay in an eco-lodge in the jungle on the banks of an Amazon tributary with more acidic waters (which decreases the mosquito population). Canoeing you can tour ‘igarapés’ (channels of water connected to the Amazon) where you can easily find crocodiles, dolphins, and sloths. And the more daring can sleep one night in the open, in hammocks, and be guided by an aborigine to enter deeper into the jungle and appreciate its lush rich flora and fauna.

By boat the journey downstream stops in Santarém for a few days on the banks of another tributary, the Tapajós, where the phenomenon of the merging of the waters is repeated.

Finally you get to Belém, on the Equator and ocean gateway to Amazonia, but in our case it will be the exit.

A must see is the ‘Ver-o-peso’ Market, the natural wealth of the jungle on a scale. Açai berries are one of this market’s recognizable staples, but many other products are completely foreign to visitors: nuts, handicrafts, fish and fruits found deep in the forests of the Amazon are for sale here, and not for sale (or even seen) anywhere else in the world. This is a place where the true wealth and diversity of this still largely unexplored region of the world are on display, and you can bring them back home to remember the taste of the jungle.

Belém by boat again to Marajó Island. The size of Denmark, it has been formed at the mouth of the Amazon by the deposition of 3 million tonnes of sediment per day. It has culture, beaches and wildlife.

The largest population on the island is the buffalo, which means delicious meat and cheese and a significant tanning industry. The buffaloes live in flooded areas together with the ‘guarás’ (scarlet ibis). Here you can hear the roar of the ‘pororoca’ (Wave River). If you dare, with a longboard you can surf a wave upstream for about an hour.

The Amazon is definitely a colossus, especially in its disproportionate beauty. Let get introduced to the Rainforest with our Route of Rubber

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