Updated: Dec 21, 2018
Have you ever been offered something to eat by a host that you cannot refuse? and it was an ant? ... I was! and that was just one of the many experiences I had in the incredible Amazon Rain Forest.
We arrived in the city of Manaus, the gateway to the Amazon, and we drove over the Amazon river through a long bridge to the other side of the river and into the forest.
The beginning of the forest was very odd, because there was sand instead of soil in some parts. We were told after, that the layer of soil is very delicate and thin and there is sand under it. The soil is not very fertile. They were destroying the forest to build more homes because of the population growth in Manaus.
We stopped in a rest stop where we learned about the aquatic wildlife. After we ate and rested a little, we got back on the van and drove all they way to the hotel.
The hotel was a perfect mix of nature and comfort, it was right on the banks of the Rio Negro and in the Amazon jungle. The Rio Negro is a river with a lot of organic material which makes it acidic, which meant no mosquitoes were near the hotel. We had the opportunity to swim and paddle board on the river, which is full of piranhas and alligators, and we took the chance.
One day, I was paddle boarding and a group of dolphins came out of the water. One came close to me and it wasn’t a pink dolphin, it was a Tucuxi dolphin. I was in disbelief, I didn’t know there was a different kind of dolphin living in the river.
In Anavilhanas National Park Conservation Center, we fed a supplemental diet to pink dolphins and I was astonished at their color. They look pink/orange under the water because of the mineral filled water and outside the water they are grey with some amount of pink.
The hotel offered a hike through the dense rainforest and we gladly accepted. We started walking and we heard monkeys near by, but we didn’t see them because the size of the Amazon is so great. The rainforest borders nine countries, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. They taught us some life skills on how the natives live and they impressed us, for example they showed us how they disguise themselves with the smell of ants.
The next day, we woke up at four in the morning to go to the middle of the river to the most colorful and beautiful sunrise of the Amazon. I was tired before I saw the sunrise and after I was wide awake.
Later that day we went to meet a group of indigenous people and learn how they live. The chief of the tribe welcomed us and showed us his homes. Men and women danced in their traditional outfits and we were able to join them. As the chief showed us around, he showed us his traditional cuisine. He offered cooked ants and I knew that it’s disrespectful to decline something that has been offered by the host, so I ate it and turned around to see my family walking away from me to avoid eating the ants.
At the end of our trip we went on a boat to the "Meeting of the Waters" which is a natural spectacle that has the dark Rio Negro and the sandy-colored Rio Solimoes cross paths but don’t mix. It’s a natural wonder and it was great to see.
The Amazon in Brazil was a must see for me and I hope to return there one day.
written by Diego