The Amazon. Just hearing the name brings all sorts of pictures into mind. Amazon pictures of muddy water, jungles, wild animals, and Indian tribes. Pictures of the "meeting of the waters", where two great rivers of very different colors merge together. Pictures of the vastness of the Amazon River, the greatest river in the world.
Cruising the Amazon on a luxury cruise ship like the Seven Seas Mariner is a great way to have an Amazonian experience without having to put up with the bugs or heat (unless you want to). However, don't expect to see a narrow river and lots of wildlife from the ship. The Amazon River is very wide all the way from the Atlantis up to Manaus.
Those looking for a more wildlife or nature-oriented cruise should sail the Upper Amazon in Peru. I cruised from Iquitos, Peru, on a small river ship with G Adventures. On this river voyage, we saw many different types of wildlife such as birds, tarantulas, piranhas, and even mammals like the pink dolphin.
Here are some photos taken on our Regent Seven Seas cruise from the mouth of the Amazon on the Atlantic Ocean to Manaus, Brazil--900 miles upstream.
Amazon River Cruise Fishing Boat
As we entered the mouth of the Amazon River, we saw this small fishing boat tied to one of the buoy markers.
Amazon River Cruise
Much of the Amazon River below Manaus looks like this - wide and muddy with miles of unending rain forest lining the river banks.
From the balcony of our suite on the Seven Seas Mariner, we loved watching the Brazilian scenery of the Amazon River pass by.
Macapa, Brazil on the Amazon River
Macapa sits on the north shore of the Amazon River near where the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Seven Seas Mariner picked up a pilot in Macapa for our cruise up the Amazon River.
Amazon River Cruise Photo
Although most of the Amazon River rain forest canopy was flat, the scenery was occasionally broken by a mesa like this one.
Amazon River Insect
On the Seven Seas Mariner cruise ship, the staff kept telling us to keep our balcony doors closed to keep out the insects. It worried us some at first, as I could picture swarms of mosquitoes or other nasty creatures attacking me each time I set foot on our balcony. However, this little fellow was one of the very few that found its way to our balcony, so I had to take his picture.
Small riverboats are frequently used as transportation taxis on the Amazon River.
Santarem, Brazil on the Amazon River
Santarem is a city of about 200,000 people and is the second largest Brazilian city on the Amazon River.
White Sandy Beach on the Amazon River
Between Santarem and Alter do Chao, the river is dotted with white sandy beaches such as this one.
Tourists flock to Santorem and Alter do Chao when the river is low to sun and swim from the picturesque white sandy beaches on the Amazon and the Rio Tapajos.
Amazon River Cruise
Beautiful large trees such as this one make the rain forest canopy of the Amazon River.
"Meeting of the Waters" on the Amazon River
The "Meeting of the Waters" on the Amazon River occurs about 8 miles from Manaus, Brazil, when the "white" Solimoes River meets the "black" Rio Negro.
The tributaries and the Amazon River are two different colors -- the "white" water rivers, which are really muddy and look much like cocoa, the "black" water rivers, which are filled with tannin and are clear like coffee. At any point where two of these rivers join, their density is so different that they will not mix for several miles. No where is this natural event more dramatic than near Manaus, where the Solimoes and the Rio Negro merge. The Amazon River is formed at the point these two rivers join together.