City, Sports and the Amazonian Escape

Keen to visit the Amazon and also interested in the Olympics? Well, did you know that some of the Olympic events are taking place in the city of Manaus, the gateway to the Amazon? Why not combine a city break in Manaus and attend some world class sporting events with a trip into the Amazon rainforest, where you can sail down the river, stay in a jungle lodge and spot a multitude of wildlife.

1.07 Jul 2016 - Arena da Amazonia
(source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Olympics take place in Brazil from 5th – 21st August. Most of the events are taking place in Rio de Janeiro, however some of the Olympic football competitions are taking place in Manaus.

The city itself has a population 1.8 million of making it the largest city in the north of Brazil and the capital of Amazonas state - it is an urban metropolis in the heart of the dense Amazonian jungle. Manaus is set to host 6 Olympic football matches at the Amazonia arena that holds 43,000 spectators and was originally constructed for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Here are some suggestions for jungle lodge experiences that you could choose to combine your Olympic adventure:

1) Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge

If time is not on your side and you can only afford to spare a few days in the Amazon then this proves a good option. One of the benefits of this jungle lodge is its close proximity to Manaus (around 1 hour boat transfer from the city centre) and the lodge arranges transfers privately for its guests. It is good for families, the elderly or travellers who prefer to have everything pre-arranged for them, as they operate on an all-inclusive basis and offer a number of additional tours to book on arrival. It is possible to take a trip down the Rio Negro and spend time interacting with dolphins. Alternatively you can join a fishing trip and go hunting for the elusive Piranha, as well as many other fish. If you prefer to stick to dry land then why not hike through the forests with an experienced guide, who can inform you on all the flora and fauna you may see. One of the negatives about visiting this park is that being so close to the hustle and bustle of Manaus means that you are only likely to see limited amounts of wildlife. If you have the time, it is worth trying to immerse yourself fully in the rainforest by visiting a more distant and remote lodge.

1.07 Jul 2016 - Amazon Eco Park
(source: Amazon EcoPark Jungle Lodge)

2) Amazon Village Jungle Lodge

This lodge is located on the banks of the Puraquequara Lake, around 19 miles from Manaus. It can only be accessed via boat and the transfer takes around an hour and a half. Because the water here has a high acidity level, there are less mosquitoes here. The lodge has 45 eco-friendly apartments. Bear in mind that there is limited electricity and no hot water here (though with the warm temperatures, a cold shower can be quite refreshing). From this resort you can arrange rainforest treks, sunset and sunrise tours, fishing trips and visits to see the native Caboclo people of the region. Enjoy locally sourced foods in the on-site open air restaurant.

1.07 Jul 2016 - Amazon Village Lodge
(source: Amazon Village)

3) Juma Amazon Lodge

For a more remote and authentic Amazonian experience, try Juma lodge. This lodge is situated 62 miles southeast of Manaus and can be accessed by bus and boat (3 hours) or by seaplane (30 minutes). Because the Amazon River level rises as high as 15 metres during flood season, the accommodation here is built on stilts, with bungalows rising high into the canopy. En route to this lodge you can observe the meeting of the waters, where the Solimoes River meets the Rio Negro. The differing colours, speeds and temperatures of the rivers collide here and is an impressive sight. You can go on canoeing trips down the river, Piranha fishing, search for the Cayman Crocodile or for the more adventurous try an overnight jungle hike, where you hike through the rainforest with a guide and pitch a hammock to stay overnight out in the wild.

1.07 Jul 2016 - Juma
(source: Juma Amazon Lodge)

Health in the Amazon

All visitors to the Amazon (including those visiting Manaus only) should ensure that their Tetanus, Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Yellow Fever vaccinations are up to date. If travelling deep into the Amazon or visiting for long trips (1 month plus) then a course of Rabies and Hepatitis B may also be recommended.

The Amazon poses a high risk of malaria and a preventative anti-malarial medication must be taken. The options that are effective here are either Doxycycline, Malarone or Mefloquine. This is prescription only medication and cannot just be purchased over the counter in a pharmacy. We have this available to purchase in clinic.

It is vital that all travellers use a strong DEET-based mosquito repellent at all times. The warm, tropical climate found here creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and many other insects, so it is vital to protect yourself from getting bitten. Mosquitoes can carry other diseases, such as Dengue Fever, Zika Virus and Chikungunya, that cannot be vaccinated against - repellents and wearing long loose clothing is the only way to avoid bites. Remember to carry a bite and sting relief cream to soothe any unavoidable bites and if you react badly to bites then pack an anti-histamine cream to reduce inflammation.

Ensure that all water you consume is either bottled water or fully sterilised. Most jungle lodges will be highly geared for tourism so should provide this, however it is wise to double check beforehand. The Amazon has much of it’s own vegetation and, therefore, the cuisine can be rather different to the rest of Brazil. Be sure to try a nutritious breakfast of Açaí, served by the bowl; it is packed full of vitamins and is a great source of energy to boost your day. Make sure any meats you eat are cooked thoroughly and ideally stick to boiled foods, as boiling food kills all germs. Take one of our Tummy Kits with you in case of any stomach upsets. These contain antibiotics and a range of other medications to treat anything from mild to severe stomach bugs. Access to medical facilities from these lodges may be somewhat limited so it is good to arrive adequately prepared.

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