We’ve reached our first port-of-call in Brazil, the city of Belem, about 60 miles inland from the Atlantic ocean on the Para River. This city is the gateway to the Amazon, and the 11th largest city in Brazil with about 2.2 million residents in the greater metropolitan area. Being this close to the Amazon, we’ve opted for a ships sponsored excursion that offers a boat trip to a local island where our guides will escort us into the jungle on a short 45 minute hike. This area of the Amazon delta is tidal and with our arrival during low tide, we end up anchored about 20 minutes east of Belem in Icoraraci.
After shuttling ashore and a short coach ride into central Belem, we’re onboard our small river launch by about 10AM. The sky scrapers of Belem in the background are a stark contrast to the metal roof stilt houses that line the river ways.
About 45 minutes up the river, we disembark at a small island with a village of about 15 homes. Within just a few steps from the boat, the jungle envelopes everything along the way, the narrow trail weaves through the vines and trees, the tall canopy blocks much of the sunshine. Along with way, our guides point out plants that provide everything from rubber to berries and nuts. After our jungle excursion, we return to the boat and enjoy a cold beer on our way back to the pier in Belem. On the pier shopping area we located the Amazon Brewery and have some lunch and a few beers before returning to the ship. It was a hot humid trip into the jungle, but an enjoyable and informative morning. We have a day at sea tomorrow, then a half-day in the beach resort town of Fortaleza, Brazil.