The price for the trip is $1999 per person for adults and $800 for children 8-18 (must be accompanied by an adult). The trip is not suitable for children under 8.
The following are included*:
Accommodations in both Santarém and Alter do Chão will be double occupancy in a small three-star hotel with air conditioning. Please note that accommodations in the region do not meet the standards common in the more developed parts of Brazil or in the US or Europe, but are perfectly acceptable.
In Jamaraquá you will stay in a locally owned and operated rustic guesthouse located along the water's edge and run by a delightful host family. Rooms in both guesthouses are made up of a mix of beds and hammocks, and can be shared by up to four guests. There is running water, showers, and sit-down toilets. Electricity isn't readily available in Jamaraquá and guests may have to recharge electronic devices in the community of Maguary, about one km to the north.
You will stay with host families while in the Eixo Forte. Hosts will provide you with a room with a fair amount of privacy; however houses are small and in most cases you'll share the family's bathroom, so expect to spend your time as "part of the family" while you're there. Electricity is pretty reliable in the Eixo Forte; however it's always a good idea to bring a flashlight since power outages are not uncommon.
Both communities are very safe and secure, so visitors shouldn't have any problems with theft or other crime.
The tour starts in Santarem, which has an airport currently served by three flights daily from Manaus and two daily from Belem, with connections to the rest of Brazil. It's also possible to take a slow boat (plan on 40 hours) and fast boat (16 hours) from Manaus.
Most major US and many international carriers offer flights to Brazil, although pricing can vary widely. While most flights from the US route through São Paulo, it is possible to find reasonably-priced flights to Manaus from Miami and Atlanta, avoiding an overnight stay en transit. From the West Coast of the US, Copa Airlines through Panama City to Manaus is a reasonable option. Unless you plan on visiting other part of Brazil, selecting Manaus as the international termination of your flight will normally save money over terminating in São Paulo and purchasing a domestic ticket on to Santarem. We recommend using either an Internet travel site (Expedia, Orbitz, or Kayak) or contacting airlines directly for the international portion of the flight.
You might encounter problems booking the domestic portion of the flight through an online travel site or through a US-based carrier. If you encounter this problem, you can purchase domestic tickets from the domestic airlines' GOL and TAM own websites. Please note that TAM might use an unfavorable exchange rate when they charge your flight in US Dollars. We recommend using a Brazilian travel agent when booking on TAM to avoid this. We can recommend a reliable Brazilian travel agent to purchase the domestic tickets for you, if you like.
Please consult your doctor or qualified travel advisor. No vaccines are required to enter Brazil, but yellow fever and other vaccines may be recommended by your doctor. Please consult the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Health Information for International Travel for up to date information on proper health safety safeguards for traveling to the region.
To take anti-malarial medicine is a personal choice; however malaria is not endemic to the area you'll be visiting.
We always recommend high-protection sunscreen and insect repellent. Also remember to bring a sufficient supply of any medicines that you normally use or anticipate needing.
We require all travellers to provide us with your medical needs on your Registration Form. We do this for your safety so we have the information immediately available in the unlikely case of you needing medical care.
US Citizens are required to have a visa when entering Brazil. A tourist visa, which is good for up to five years, costs $150 plus processing fees (usually $35-$45). Visas can take as long as 21 days to obtain once you’ve purchased your airline ticket. For more information, please visit the Brazilian Consulate website. You will either need to appear in person at a Brazilian consulate to make your visa request or use an expediter. Please contact us for recommendations of visa expediter services.
Traveling creates memories of a lifetime, and can also mean encountering the unexpected; ranging from an inconvenient flight delay to a cancellation for sickness, or a truly serious medical emergency. Considering the unpredictable nature, remote destinations and conditions encountered we require all travellers to have travel medical insurance, and trip cancellation insurance is highly recommended. If you're going to spend your hard-earned money to enjoy your holiday - why not spend a bit more to safeguard it?
Upon starting your tour, we will ask everyone to provide a copy of their insurance details to keep on record. Failure to provide this information can result in travellers being unable to continue on tour, so don't leave home without it.
What insurance is required?
Travel medical insurance is mandatory. With a wide variety of company, credit card and travel policies out there, how do you know if your coverage is sufficient for this trip? We require a minimum of USD$100,000 (or equivalent in other currency) coverage for medical emergency evacuation and repatriation and $15,000 coverage for medical expenses for both sickness and accidents. If your pre-existing coverage does not meet these needs, you will be required to purchase travel medical insurance.
Where can I purchase travel medical insurance and other travel insurance?
For a true sense of security, a comprehensive policy from a reputable, independent travel insurance company is paramount. In addition to travel medical insurance, we recommend that trip participants purchase travel insurance to covers theft, loss and trip cancellation policies are also available. Including the cost of your airfare, as well as your tour(s), ensures that you do not have to worry about any unforeseen situations such as having to rush home to a family member or having a tour changed or cancelled because of a natural disaster. There is a wide variety of policies available, so check the fine print. Be sure to check that the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home.
How much does it cost?
Travel medical insurance is based on the number of days of coverage - so how long you will be away. All-inclusive insurance, which adds cancellation to your medical insurance, is based on the dollar value of the tours, airfare, hotel nights and other services being covered. Typical costs, in USD, on a 10-day tour valued at $2000 with airfare coverage at $1500 as well would be:
The following are two reputable insurance providers:
What to Bring
Dress in the Amazon is very informal so pack plenty of shorts and light shirts. Here’s a list of items we recommend you bring:
Santarem is on GMT – 3. Although Santarem is in the same time zone as Rio, Brasilia and Sao Paulo, it doesn’t change for summer time.
Santarem is 5 hours ahead of US Pacific Standard Time, 2 hours ahead of US Eastern Standard Time.
Santarem is 4 hours ahead of US Pacific Daylight Time, 1 hour ahead of US Eastern Daylight Time.
Being only a few degrees south of the equator, the temperature is more dependent on whether the sun is out than how high the sun is in the sky.
During the dry season (June-December) the temperatures usually range from the upper 60’s (F) at night to the low 90s during the day. Between noon and 3 pm, it can be downright hot. Humidity during the dry season can be felt, but isn’t usually extreme, except after a rain (yes, it rains during the dry season too). The river level in front of Santarem drops way down and the beaches are broad.
During the rainy season (January-May) is can rain heavily, but even during this time it is frequently sunny. Humidity is usually higher, but it’s usually cooler. Temperatures usually range from the low to mid 60s to possibly 90 degrees (F) and a dry day. During April and May, the river can be three or more meters higher than during the dry season, and in some years floods the city. Beaches nearly disappear.
Brazil’s currency is the Real (rey-al) and the plural is Reais (rey-cice). Dollars or Euros are very rarely accepted and although currency exchanges do exist in Santarém (but not anywhere else we’ll be visiting), the exchange rates are usually pretty unfavorable. We recommend you use an ATM when you need money, although you might exchange a few dollars into Reais either before you leave or immediately upon arrival at the airport in Manaus in case you have trouble with the ATM machine in the Manaus airport. (see the section about ATMs below)
You might also carry some extra dollars in cash for an emergency, as well as at least two different credit cards. Please note that credit cards are not accepted everywhere in Santarém, and even when they supposedly are, the system can frequently be down. Try to make sure you always have enough Reais on hand. Also, you’ll usually get a 1% to 2% better exchange for cash then travelers checks, and quite frankly, our staff has had trouble cashing travelers checks in Santarém.
Be sure to carry around small bills and even change in Reais because it’s often not regularly available, even in busy restaurants. They might try to give you change in boxes of gum. (You don’t need to accept it, by the way. Just try to pay your bill with the same boxes of gum and see their reaction). Also remember that the local people you meet make and sell small handicrafts (jewelry and small gifts) and we recommend that you bring cash in small denominations so you can make these purchases.
ATMs are the easiest way of getting cash in Santarém, although it can still be a hassle to find a machine that accepts non-Brazilian ATM cards. Look for the stickers on the machines that say Cirrus, Visa, or whatever system your card uses – although this may not mean the machine will necessarily work. Often the bank staff doesn’t even know. We’ve found HSBC to work the most reliably; however even HSBC's international network can be down and your card refused. Your only choice is to come back later.
There is now an ATM in Alter do Chão, but it doesn’t always accept international cards. There is no ATM or bank available in any other community we’ll be visiting so do all your banking the day you arrive in Santarém.
Telecommunications and electricity
While the hotel in Santarém might officially offer internet service, don’t count on it to work. The same is true for the free city-wide wi-fi service. The most reliable internet is usually found in one of the local cyber-cafes. Unless you want to play games, we’d recommend you try to find one that doesn’t cater to gamers. Our staff will be able to direct you to a suitable cyber-cafe. Please be aware that Internet service can be very unreliable and slow, especially if it’s been raining or during the work day (evenings are usually the best).
Using your US-based cell phone in Santarém can be very expensive – if your service is even supported at all, since most US cell phones aren’t compatible with the GSM-based system used in Brazil. Cell phone coverage may be very spotty or even non-existent outside of Santarém. To complicate matters further, the local network is overburdened and so service is unreliable. If your phone does support GSM, has a SIM slot, and you feel you really have to use your cell phone, you might buy a local SIM card (buy Vivo network because it has the best local coverage) to use while there. Another alternative would be to buy a cheap phone that accepts a SIM card (most in Brazil do) and buy a local SIM card. You can pick a SIM card up with a few minutes for US$25, but remember that outbound international calls really rack up the minutes.
An alternative if you need to make international calls is to use Skype. The call quality might not be great, especially when the internet is slow, but it’s usually useable. Forget trying to make international calls from your hotel room or using a phone cabin. It’s almost impossible to find one. If you need to make or receive a call, please let our staff know and we’ll help you the best we can.
Most of Santarém and the region uses 110 volts, the same as the US; however the outlet type varies between two round prongs used in Europe, non-grounded flat prong common in the US, or on the rare occasion a grounded three-prong US-style outlet. We recommend you bring a three prong (three prong to ungrounded 2 prong) adapter with you if you’re device has a three prong plug. Two flat prong (US) to two round prong (European) adapters can be purchased inexpensively in Santarem.
Please consult Travel Dates to view the next scheduled dates for the trip.
* Activities are subject to cancellation or modification due to weather