Go West, Passport To Knowledge!

As everyone settles in for the 2 hour trip up the river, you can see that the other passengers can’t help but be curious about our motley crew—and the man hanging off the front of the boat with a video camera!

The amazing thing about travel up the Amazon by boat is the sheer SIZE of the river! Everyone knows about how the Amazon is the second (or maybe the first, depending on exactly how you calculate distances) longest river in the world, but this isn’t something that can be appreciated with a single glance. What can be appreciated is being out in a boat in the middle of the river and marveling at just how far away the shorelines are! This is in no way your amusement park "Jungle Cruise" ride, with sinister tree limbs and vines hanging over a narrow, muddy channel. This is more like sailing down the middle of one of the Great Lakes, but with waters, today at least, as smooth as glass.

Did I say it wasn’t the expected "Jungle Cruise?" It soon became one. After two hours smooth cruising, we eased closer to one shore and soon the guides pointed out what would turn out to be the tops of the hotel towers. The place we’re going to consists of a series of wide, mostly wooden, cone-roofed "tree-top" towers connected by elevated walkways. The towers and walkways are nestled in among thick trees. What we were seeing was actually the farthest-out tower; our destination was the hotel’s primary dock, which required leaving the main river and traveling for quite a way down a small tributary.

This, certainly, was the Jungle Cruise of our imagination. Our little boat was no match for the choking vegetation of the waterway. After the third or fourth time our guides had to stop the boat to try to free the propeller of aggressive lily pads, we had to radio to the waiting hotel to send a rescue boat to tow us in. Obviously, they were well prepared for just this sort of thing. Within a few minutes the towers themselves came into view and we had finally arrived.

Ann’s Journals Go West, Passport To Knowledge!    1     2     3     4     5