Day 9 – Amazon Rainforest (Day Three), Manaus


Last night we slept in the hammocks our guides had brought with them on the jungle tour. Woke up to an amazing sunrise in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, and in middle of nowhere! After winding up the camp site, we headed back to the lodge early morning before the sun came up (mainly to avoid the heat, but also to reach ledge before the breakfast).

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[Hammocks as sleeping beds for the night]

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[Hammocks as sleeping beds for the night]

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[First view of the rainforest from the hammocks]

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[View of sunrise on way back to the lodge]

 
About 45-minute boat ride brought us back to the lodge, right in time for breakfast.

We were scheduled to return back to Manaus at 9am, taking an almost 3 hour journey back in boats, and jeep. So after a good breakfast and freshening up, we just sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the pets wandering around the lodge.

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Amazon Backpackers (Jungle Tours)

Value
Rooms
Service
Address: Hotel 10 de Julho, Centro, Manaus, Brazil
Phone: +55 (92) 3084-7557
Email: amazonjunglebackpackers@gmail.com
Website: www.amazonbackpackers.com.br

Location
With a high rating on TripAdvisor, the tours with Amazon Backpackers can be a hit or a miss (read the ‘terrible’ reviews to see what we mean). I did the Macaw 3D/2N tour with this company and Eduardo was my tour guide. As you’d read all the reviews on TA, he’s simply the best tour guide to go with. So make sure you ask for him. Some fellow travelers (and my personal experience of having him with us for a day) informed us that James was the worst guide to be with; he’s quite rude, and very racist!

Overall, it was a wonderful experience to be in the forest, but two things were very very disappointing – 1) No dolphins were shown, although promised to see “hundreds of them at a location nearby”. And 2) No animals were shown in the forest walk. Not even one!

A lot of time was wasted in relaxing at the lodge rather than activities that could have been used to make the experience complete.

Lodge
The lodge is pretty basic – a huge kitchen-cum-dining area which is in the center of the lodge, from where the path leads to the rooms on one side and the home of the residents on the other side (where you can lay on the 6 hammocks).

There are 6 rooms in all, each having either a double bed or two twin beds with a creaky door and a netted-window. Every room has a power plug and a fan. Note that the electricity runs on a generator and will not be available 24/7, but usually it’s available for 2 hours in morning, 2 hours in afternoon and 3-4 hours in night with everything shutting down at 9:30-10:00pm. The beds are comfortable with a thin sheet to be used as blanket (which you will never need it because of the high temperatures!)

There are two bathrooms (that includes toilets) with running hot water available in the mornings & evenings only.

 
Around 9:15am, our boat to return back to Manaus was ready. On the way to Paraná do Mamori river’s bank, we were promised that we will see pink dolphins, but were able to see only one and that too far far off! So after an hour’s ride to the Paraná do Mamori river bank, we hopped on to the jeep for another 45-minute drive to Careiro Village, where we stopped over for the famous water lilies.

waterlilies1

waterlilies2

 
After reaching Manaus at about 12:30pm, all I wanted is to go to a hotel and have a nice shower. So for a cost of BRL 75 the guide from Amazon Backpackers dropped me to the hotel and also agreed to pick me up the next morning to drop me to the airport.

My stay at Sombra Palace hotel for the first night in Manaus was terrible, so I decided to spend more than I ususally do on a hotel and book the last night in Manaus in Intercity Premium Manaus. Check-in was simple and rooms were awesome for a budget traveler like me!

Just stayed in the hotel for the rest of the day rather than going out in 43°C heat, while ordering-in food. Called it an early day for an early morning flight to Rio de Janeiro!

Partner Offers

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = BRL 3.73 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
Intercity Premium Manaus $45.57 BRL 170 for a double-bed room, for one night, one person.
Dinner at Intercity Premium Manaus $15.28 BRL 57. One way.
Snacks & water $5.36 BRL 20. Breakfast.
Tip to tour guide $20 For 3-day tour.
Taxi $20.10 BRL 75. From tour office to hotel & and to airport (next day)
Total Costs $106.31 Per person
Overall Costs $931.83 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 8

Amazon Forest (Day Two)

Day two in Amazon Rainforest.

Day 9

Amazon Rainforest (Day Three), Manaus

Day three in the Amazon Rainforest & return to Manaus.

« Sixteen days in Brazil

Day 10 – NEXT »

Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema, Ipanema Beach, Leblon.

 

Day 8 – Amazon Forest (Day Two)


Day two in the Amazon Rainforest started early, with a boat ride to the swamps to see the sunset, and perhaps some fishing! We were asked to be ready at 5:30am, when we gathered at the lodge waterfront for a 30-minute boat ride to a spot best known for the sunrise.

morningdaytwo1
[Waiting for our guide at the lodge waterfront]

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[Right after sailing from the lodge waterfront]

morningdaytwo3
[Before sunrise in the Amazon Rainforest]

morningdaytwo4
[Before sunrise in the Amazon Rainforest]

morningdaytwo5
[Sunrise in the Amazon Rainforest]

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[Sunrise in the Amazon Rainforest, with Eduardo, our guide, sailing the boat]

morningdaytwo7
[Sunrise in the Amazon Rainforest]

 
After heading back to the lodge at 8am, we had breakfast (scrambled eggs, OJ, bread, butter, jam, coffee/tea) and were asked to relax for the next two hours, before we set out for a walk in the jungle at around 11am.

The jungle walk includes activities like bird watching, swinging on a tree branch, eating worms (yes, you read that right!), snakes spotting, etc. The walk is about 3-4 hours and easy for all ages, but make sure to cover your hands and legs for any potential snakes or insects. Carry lot of water, a small towel (to wipe off the sweat), some bandages and good walking shoes.

The walk starts with a boat ride for about 30 minutes to middle of nowhere, from where your guide will direct you to the trail going in the jungle. Make sure to follow their trail and instructions because trust me, you have no idea what’s out there (see more below on that)!


[Boat ride to the starting point of walking trail]

 
These are highlights of our walking trail:

walking1
[We began to just walk around while trying to spot birds, but with the thick foliage it’s not easy to spot any animals or reptiles around you.]

walking2
[Stopped for instructions on how to cross the swamp on a wooden log]

walking21
[Yeah, that’s the wooden log we had to cross!]

walking3
[The part of a tress used as a mosquito repellent. Just put it on fire and the smoke will keep those pests away.]

walking4
[Eduardo, our guide, on the walking trail]

walking5
[If you find yourself bitten by a poisonous snake, then cut the bark of this tree and start chewing on it. They say you have 6 hours to reach a hospital before it will kill you, but chewing on this will extend that to 12 hours!]

walking6
[Swinging on the tree branch!]

walking7
[The sap of this tree has medicinal benefits. It was yucky though!]

walking8
[While walking around, I noticed this baby snake right next to my feet. I jumped and called out, when Eduardo picked it up. This is the baby of Surucucu or Bushmaster snake, a type of Viper, and extremely venomous!]

walking9
[Opening the mouth of the Surucucu snake]

walking10
[Mosquitoes make a pin hole in this coconut shells and lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae eat the seed of the coconut and house there.]

walking11
[Some coconut shells have more than one larvae]

walking12
[We pulled out the larvae from the shells]


[And then you pop the larvae in your mouth and chew it!]

 
Upon finding the Surucucu snake, our guide was confident that there would be more snakes around the area, so we decided to get away and walk around a bit more in other areas of the jungle. Eventually, we got back to the boats and after sailing a bit more, we reached our camping ground where we would be spending the night.

We picked twigs and branches from the ground to create a bonfire, just before sunset.

walking13
[Our final campground]

walking14
[Bonfire was ready!]

walking15
[Put up the hammocks brought by the tour guides, which will be our sleeping “beds” for the night]

 
Next thing to do was to start the hunt for dinner – fish or anything we can find in the jungle. We hopped back on the kayaks, out to hunt for fish in the dark. This took us about 2-3 hours to gather as much fish as we can.

But surprises come along your adventure: and Eduardo was super quick enough to grab this baby Cayman along the banks of a swamp. Of course, we let it go in a few minutes!

cayman1
[Baby Cayman with Eudardo]

cayman2
[Me with baby Cayman]

cayman3
[Andreas with baby Cayman]

 
And after catching some fish and a bird, dinner was served!

cayman4
[Fresh fish and a bird]

 

After a good meal, some songs and chat later, we called it an early night!

Partner Offers

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = BRL 3.73 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
All expenses are included in the tour.
Total Costs $0 Per person
Overall Costs $825.52 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 7

Amazon Rainforest(Day One)

Beginning of a three-day trip into Amazon Rainforest.

Day 8

Amazon Rainforest (Day Two)

Day two in the Amazon Rainforest.

« Sixteen days in Brazil

Day 9 – NEXT »

Amazon Rainforest (Day Three), Manaus

Day three in the Amazon Rainforest & return to Manaus.

 

Day 7 – Amazon Rainforest (Day One)


I had booked the 3D/2N Macaw tour offered by Amazon Backpackers with office in Manaus. Costing US$60 per person, per day, all meals, water and transportation are included in the tour, EXCEPT the meals for the last day. You will be dropped at the office in Manaus by noon on the third day and you’ll have to manage your own meals since then.

Partner Offers

Starting early on day one, I was picked up by the driver from my hotel (Sombra Palace) in Manaus at 8am and taken to their office. After completing the formalities (payment, forms, briefing), we (driver and another traveler in the group) headed to the Ceasa port, which is about 30 minute drive from the office.

manaus1
[Ceasa Port, Manaus]

On arriving at the port, our speed boat was ready to cross the Amazon river over to the rainforest on the other side. It’s a 45 minute smooth ride across the river, with a brief 10-minute stop to see the ‘meeting of the rivers,’ the point where Rio Negro and Rio Solimões meet. It’s a wonderful experience to see the distinct colors of the two rivers – black/grey water of Rio Negro and brown/muddy water of Rio Solimões.

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[Speed boat across the Amazon river]

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[‘Meeting of rivers’ – Rio Negro (black) and Rio Solimões (brown)]

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[‘Meeting of rivers’ – Rio Negro (black) and Rio Solimões (brown)]

 

The boat stops at the meeting of rivers for 10-minutes for pictures, and onward to Careiro Village on the other side of the Solimões river.

careirovillage
[The port on the other side of Amazon river leading to Careiro Village]

careirovillage2
[A typical house in Careiro Village]

 

The next guide was waiting for us at the village, from where the journey continues by car or by van for about an hour to the Paraná do Mamori River. Our van driver decided to take a detour to drop a local woman to her house in the middle-of-nowhere, which added additional 30 minutes to the road-trip.

Upon reaching the Paraná do Mamori river, we got a break for 10-minutes before leaping on to another speed-boat taking about an hour to reach the lodge arriving there at about 12:30pm.

paranadomamori1
[Beginning of speed-boat on Paraná do Mamori River]

paranadomamori2
[Beginning of speed-boat on Paraná do Mamori River]

paranadomamori3
[Paraná do Mamori River]

paranadomamori4
[Speed boat on Paraná do Mamori River]

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[Paraná do Mamori River]

amazon_map
[This is how far you’ll be (blue dot) in the Amazon rainforest from the city of Manaus]

 
The lodge is pretty basic – a huge kitchen-cum-dining area which is in the center of the lodge, from where the path leads to the rooms on one side and the home of the residents on the other side (where you can lay on the 6 hammocks).

There are 6 rooms in all, each having either a double bed or two twin beds with a creaky door and a netted-window. Every room has a power plug and a fan. Note that the electricity runs on a generator and will not be available 24/7, but usually it’s available for 2, hours in morning, 2 hours in afternoon and 3-4 hours in night with everything shutting down at 9:30-10:00pm. The beds are comfortable with a thin sheet to be used as blanket (which you will never need it because of the high temperatures!)

There are two bathrooms (that includes toilets) with running hot water available in the mornings & evenings only.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE on Mosquitoes
The first tip anyone will give you about mosquitoes in Amazon Rainforest is to carry mosquito nets and repellents. This is mandatory and precaution is necessary. Having said that, note that neither the tour company nor the locals in the lodge DO NOT provide mosquito nets or repellents. You must carry your own.

We didn’t find the need to use repellents, nor any mosquito nets in our rooms in the lodge. After the lights are turned off, the mosquitoes don’t enter the room via cracks in the door, forget bothering you.

 

amazonlodge1
[The lodge for two nights]

amazonlodge2
[Bedrooms]

amazonlodge3
[Bedrooms in the lodge]

amazonlodge4
[The central hut where meals are served]

 

After reaching the lodge, lunch was served – rice, beans, juice, coffee, frilled fish, fish curry, chips, water. And after which it was siesta time where you’re allowed to take a nap, or just walk around the forest. With daytime temperatures about 43°C (~ 110°F) and a 98% humidity, you are better off staying inside and taking a nap rather than walking around in the sun.

Come evening, we hopped into a small boat and a short ride for about 30 minutes brought us to middle of nowhere for some fishing and watch the sunset from the boat.

fishing_sunset1

fishing_sunset2

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fishing_sunset4

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Arriving back to the lodge at around 7:30pm, the dinner was served, which is mostly the same as lunch, but served fresh! Remember that when you’re eating fish for a meal, it has been caught the night before by the locals living in the lodge; or by tourists like you who will be heading out every night for hunting for fish in the river or swamps nearby. And that is exactly what we did.

After dinner, we walked around to see some tarantulas that come out in the dark. These hairy spiders can be 5 to 12 inches long and remain static when light is exposed on them. Being mindful of snakes luring in the dark ground, we returned to the lodge and played cards until 10pm, when our guide, Eduardo, made us hop in to small kayaks for fish hunting! We were four of us, so two passengers each in one kayak, along with the guides to navigate around.

tarantula1
[Tarantula on the roof of the dining hut]

tarantula2
[Tarantula on a tree right outside the dining hut]

catchofday1
[Catch of the night – two fishes by 11pm]

catchofday2
[Catch of the night – about 12 fishes by the end of day!]

It’s quite a challenge to catch the fishes in the night, but the best time to hunt as they swim to the surface of the water on the banks of the swamps or river. The guides use traditional methods to hunt fish by searching them with headlights and spearing them with full force!

The whole fish hunting can last for about 2-3 hours and can be quite enduring for someone with back problems or any physical challenges that arises from sitting without a back support. The kayak is very small and can low, so you cannot stand in the boat, not even for a bit. Movements in the boat will fill in water that needs to be emptied out often.

Returning back to the lodge after a 3-hour hunt will tire you out, just in time for a good nights sleep.

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = BRL 3.73 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
Amazon Tour $180 Three day tour including meals & transportation.
Water $1.34 BRL 5
Total Costs $181.34 Per person
Overall Costs $825.52 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 6

Manaus

Exploring the gateway city to Amazon.

Day 7

Amazon Rainforest (Day One)

Beginning of a three-day trip into Amazon Rainforest.

« Sixteen days in Brazil

Day 8 – NEXT »

Amazon Rainforest (Day Two)

Day two in the Amazon Rainforest.

 

Day 5 – Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes


Our the previous night at Casa de Maa, I had booked the tour for Sacred Valley with some tour company affiliated to the hotel, eventually dropping off at Ollantaytambo to take the evening train to Aguas Calientes. The day tour costs PEN 80 per person that includes transportation and lunch. Entrance fees are extra.

Sacred Valley tours & ticket details

With tons of tour operators in Cusco, it is easy to book a tour of Sacred Valley – be it for one day or for multiple days. Almost all the operators has a set plan for you which basically takes you to Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero, with stops for lunch and local markets for shopping. While it usually costs PEN 80 per person for the tour (incl lunch), prices may vary slightly for different operators. Every single place will see lots and lots of tourists, especially on a Tuesday when the Pisac local market is in its splendor!

You can take local taxis between these places with an average price (per taxi, between two places, one-way) of PEN 30. Or you can rent a car and spend the whole day visiting all the sights.

Entrance ticket or boleto turistico
The entrance ticket to the archaeological sights of the Sacred Valley is called boleto turistico (tourist ticket).

If you want to experience nearly everything Cusco and the Sacred Valley have to offer and you want to do it over more than one or two days, the best option is the boleto general. For PEN 130, you can visit a variety of archaeological sites, cultural locales and museums over a 10-day period. Visiting all 16 sites comes out to less than $3 per site. Spotlights include the Inca ruins of Saqsaywaman, Pisac and Moray.

If you don’t desire or may not have the time to visit all the sights then buying a boleto parcial (partial ticket), might be a better option. There are three partial ticket options broken down into circuits. While the boleto general includes all of the below offerings, the circuits give travelers a tailor-made taste of Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Each circuit costs PEN 70.

  • Circuit 1 – good for one day, includes sites of Pukapukara, Qenqo, Saqsaywaman and Tambomachay.
  • Circuit 2 – good for two days, includes Centro Qosqo de Arte Nativo (native art and folkloric dance), Monumento a Pachacuteq (Pachacuteq Statue), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (Musum of Contemporary Art), Museo de Arte Popular (Museum of Popular Art), Museo Historico Regional (Regional Historic Museum), Museo de Sitio del Qoricancha (museum only, not the Qoricancha site), Pikillacta and Tipon.
  • Circuit 3 – good for two days, includes sites of Chinchero, Moray, Ollantaytambo and Pisac.

    You can purchase the tickets at the tourist information center in Cusco or at the first site you visit. Important to note the circuit you want to opt for and the type of ticket yoy are purchasing. For example- if you go to Pisac first, then you will be purchasing the day-trip ticket for Circuit 3.

    Important Notes About the Boleto Turístico

    • Whether you buy the boleto general, or one of the more tailored circuits, each ticket is only good for one person and it is non-transferable.
    • Students can buy the boleto general for PEN 70, so if you qualify, be sure to bring your ID. The partial tickets are not available at a discounted rate.
    • The Turismo Interno Nacional tickets are only available to residents of Peru. A national ID card is required to purchase these discounted tickets.
    • The boleto turístico does not include the following: Machu Picchu, the Maras salt mines, the Cusco Cathedral, the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the Religious Circuit (temples), the Inka Museum, the site of Qoricancha or the Casa Concha museum.
    • The boleto turístico does not include transportation or guides.

 

All the tours begin at 8am where someone from the tour company will pick you up from your hotel and will make you walk to the Plaza de Armas (since buses or mini-vans cannot navigate around the small alleys of old-town Cusco).

First off on the tour was a stop at the local market of Puca Pucara, before heading to the archaeological site of Pisac. Situated at the Willkanuta River, the area is best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: P’isaqa, Inti Watana, Qalla Q’asa, and Kinchiraqay.

Pisac Inca Ruins

Pisac Inca Ruins

Pisac Inca Ruins

Pisac Inca Ruins

Pisac Inca Ruins

pisac6
 

It is a 10 minute drive from the ruins at the top of the mountain to the Tuesday market in Pisac. Shops line up along the side street selling souvenirs, which looks the same at every shop. Make sure to bargain, but don’t go too low on prices because the locals lose out on the tourist money that helps the local community and economy of the valley.

Pisac market
[Pisac market]

Pisac market
[Pisac market]

 

After a 15-minute break at the market, we drove for 30 minutes to Urubamba, where we stopped for lunch, which was included in the tour (except for drinks, for which we had to pay). If your tour did not include lunch, then you will pay PEN 35 for the meal. People with lunch-included go to one restaurant, whereas others are dropped at a separate restaurant. Our pre-paid lunch included six kinds of salads, three appetizers, four different main dishes (includes vegetarian dishes too) and five different desserts.

One thing to note here is that we were NOT shown any Inca ruins of Urubamba.

It was about 2 p.m. when we finished lunch so we headed to Ollantaytambo.

A former Inca administrative center and gateway to the Antisuyo (the Amazon corner of the Inca Empire), Ollantaytambo sits at the northern end of the Sacred Valley. At the time of the Spanish invasion and conquest of Peru, Ollantaytambo served as the last stronghold for Inca Manco Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance at the time. Nowadays the Ollantaytambo ruins and town are an important and popular tourist attraction in the Sacred Valley. The town’s primary attraction is the Ollantaytambo Fortress on the outskirts of the settlement in a section known as the Temple Hill. It is also the most common starting point for the famous Inca trail.

As you climb the Inca stairs to the top of the fortress of the Ollantaytambo ruins, you begin to fathom just how large this structure is. The terraces are taller than the average man and much wider than they look from the bottom. At the top of the fortress is the military area. From here is where Inca Manco and his soldiers watched for the Spanish invaders. This was a great vantage point, and only when you get up there do you realize how high you are up and how much you can see out to the Sacred Valley. A short distance from the top of the fortress, you enter the temple complex. This section includes many finely crafted stone pieces such as the Enclosure of the Ten Niches. As you enter the important Temple of the Sun you will see a number of discarded large stone known as piedras cansadas (tired stones). This uncompleted temple holds the Wall of the Six Monoliths. Each of these stones weighs 50 tons and were brought from the nearby quarry.

ollantaytambo0

ollantaytambo1

ollantaytambo2

ollantaytambo3

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ollantaytambo5

 
From the terraces if you look across the valley you can see the ruins of the old store houses built by the Incas. These were known as qollqa. They were used by the Incas to store agricultural crops to feed the town. They made the movement of the crops easier, through the specifically built and structured narrow windows in the store houses. If you take a closer look you will see a face carved into the rock face. This is the face of Wiracocha, the deity. The Incas believed he was the creator of all. He is depicted with a pointed bonnet on his head and carrying some heavy sacks on his back. It is possible to climb to the storehouses and to the face of Wiracocha, and is a 20 minute hike one way. It is a steep and vertical climb that can take your breath away. But when you reach the site you have a great view of the town below and across to the Temple Hill.

ollantaytambo6

 
Since we had booked a 7 p.m. train (more on trains in next chapter) to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo station, we walked back to the town center and stopped for coffee and refreshments. While the rest of the tour drove back to Cusco, stopping at Chinchero ruins.

ollantaytambo_town1
[Ollantaytambo main square]

ollantaytambo_town2
[Ollantaytambo main square]

ollantaytambo_town3
[Ollantaytambo street]

ollantaytambo_town4
[Church in Ollantaytambo]

 

We headed to the train station which is a 7 minute walk from the main square, about 30 minutes before the departure time. The departure was about 10 minutes delayed, reaching Aguas Calientes around 9 p.m.

All hotels in Aguas Calientes provide train station pickup, which is included in the price of the room. Our hotel receptionist was holding our name cards and after a short 5-minute walk, we checked in and headed out to dinner at one of the many restaurants along the main street running parallel to the river.

perurail_train
[Expedition train at Ollantaytambo train station]

Scheduled to visit Machu Picchu the next morning, we were told by the receptionist to purchase the bus tickets in advance. Although it is not necessary to purchase tickets in advance, it is recommended if you are planning to head to Machu Picchu early in the morning when the ticket counters are not open.

A return bus ticket costs $24 and can be purchased using your credit card.

After a busy day, we called it a night, hoping to be out of the hotel by 5:30 a.m.

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = PEN 3.30 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
Sacred Valley tour $24.24 PEN 80. Including lunch, transportation.
Sacred Valley entrance fees $21.21 PEN 70 for Circuit 3 (see above).
Snacks & water $13.63 PEN 45.
Coffee at Ollantaytambo $2.42 PEN 8.
Drinks at Urubamba lunch $3.03 PEN 10.
Dinner at Aguas Calientes $7.27 PEN 24.
Total Costs $71.80 Per person
Overall Costs $1,579.59 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 4

Arequipa to Cusco

Bus from Arequipa to Cusco stopping at Juliaca.

Day 5

Sacred Valley, Aguas Calientes

Pisac, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, ending in Aguas Calientes.

« Nine days in Peru

Day 6 – NEXT »

Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes

Visiting the wonder of the world & return to Aguas Calientes.

 

How much did it cost? – Brazil


Here’s a complete breakdown of costs per person for all the sixteen days of our trip to Brazil.

Where: Salvador, Lençóis, Chapada Diamantina national park, Manaus, Amazon Rainforest, Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, São Paulo
Transport: Airlines, Bus
When: October 2015, for sixteen days
Who: One backpacker
Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult. The exchange rate at the time of visiting is assumed to be USD 1= BRL 3.73.

Planning & Information

Coming soon »

 

Day 1 – Salvador

See details »

What Cost Notes
Bus from Salvador Airport to Praça da Sé $1.24 BRL 3. One way, one person.
Laranjeiras Hostel $51.47 BRL 192. For two nights, double bedroom, shared bathroom.
Souvenirs $30.56 Fridge Magnets (BRL 14), flag (BRL 100).
Lunch on street side $4.02 BRL 15.
Coconut water $2.14 BRL 8. Twice, BRL 4 each.
Elevador Lacerda $0.16 BRL 0.60. Return.
Snacks & water $2.68 BRL 10.
Dinner $5.36 BRL 20.
Total Costs $96.39 Per person
Overall Costs $96.39 Per person

 

Day 2 – Salvador

See details »

What Cost Notes
Taxi from/to Basílica do Senhor do Bonfim $8.84 BRL 33. Costs BRL 50 one way per taxi. Hence BRL 33 per person for two way.
Lunch on street side $4.02 BRL 15.
Coconut water $2.14 BRL 8. Twice, BRL 4 each.
Elevador Lacerda $0.16 BRL 0.60. Return.
Snacks & water $2.68 BRL 10.
Dinner $8.04 BRL 30.
Taxi from Barra to Pelo $2.68 BRL 10. One way taxi is BRL 40, for four persons.
Total Costs $28.56 Per person
Overall Costs $124.95 Per person

 

Day 3 – Lençóis

See details »

What Cost Notes
Taxi to Rodoviaria $9.38 BRL 35. One way.
Snacks & water $5.36 BRL 20.
Bus to Lençóis $32.44 BRL 121. Return for one person.
Lunch at Lençóis $8.58 BRL 32.
Lençóis Hostel $57.64 BRL 215. One person, double bed en suite bathroom. For two nights.
Dinner in Lençóis $9.38 BRL 35. Bodega Restaurant. One person.
Total Costs $122.78 Per person
Overall Costs $247.73 Per person

 

Day 4 – Chapada Diamantina National Park

See details »

What Cost Notes
Chapada Tour $50.94 BRL 150 plus BRL 40 as tip. One-day tour with EcoTur.
Snacks & water $2.68 BRL 10.
Souvenir Fridge Magnet $1.34 BRL 5.
Lunch at Chapada $8.58 BRL 32.
Dinner at Maria Bonita $13.94 BRL 52.
Total Costs $77.48 Per person
Overall Costs $325.21 Per person

 

Day 5 – Lençóis to Salvador

See details »

What Cost Notes
Snacks & water $2.68 BRL 10.
Souvenir Fridge Magnet $1.34 BRL 5.
Postal Stamp in Lençóis $1.60 BRL 6.
Taxi from Salvador Bus terminal to hostel $9.38 BRL 35. One way.
Hostel in Salvador $17.42 BRL 65. One night, double-bed room, shared bathroom.
Breakfast at Arte Natural $5.36 BRL 20.
Total Costs $37.78 Per person
Overall Costs $362.99 Per person

 

Day 6 – Manaus

See details »

What Cost Notes
Flight from Salvador to Manaus $199.69 One way. 05:52 SSA – MAO 11:30, with layover at Belo Horizonte (CNF), via Azul Linhas
Taxi from Salvador hostel to SSA Airport $24.13 BRL 90. One way.
Snacks & water at SSA airport $5.36 BRL 20. Breakfast.
Sombra Palace Hotel $28.42 BRL 106. Double bedroom, private bathroom. One night, one person.
Lunch in Manaus $11.26 BRL 42. Pizza.
Dinner in Manaus $9.65 BRL 36.
Snacks & Water $2.68 BRL 10.
Total Costs $281.19 Per person
Overall Costs $644.18 Per person

 

Day 7 – Amazon Rainforest (Day One)

See details »

What Cost Notes
Amazon Tour $180 Three day tour including meals & transportation.
Water $1.34 BRL 5
Total Costs $181.34 Per person
Overall Costs $825.52 Per person

 

Day 8 – Amazon Forest (Day Two)

See details »

What Cost Notes
All expenses are included in the tour.
Total Costs $0 Per person
Overall Costs $825.52 Per person

 

Day 9 – Amazon Rainforest (Day Three), Manaus

See details »

What Cost Notes
Intercity Premium Manaus $45.57 BRL 170 for a double-bed room, for one night, one person.
Dinner at Intercity Premium Manaus $15.28 BRL 57. One way.
Snacks & water $5.36 BRL 20. Breakfast.
Tip to tour guide $20 For 3-day tour.
Taxi $20.10 BRL 75. From tour office to hotel & and to airport (next day)
Total Costs $106.31 Per person
Overall Costs $931.83 Per person

 

Day 10 – Rio de Janeiro

Coming Soon »

 

Day 11 – Rio de Janeiro

Coming Soon »

 

Day 12 – Rio de Janeiro

Coming Soon »

 

Day 13 – Paraty

Coming Soon »

 

Day 14 – Paraty

Coming Soon »

 

Day 15 – Paraty to São Paulo

Coming Soon »

 

Day 16 – São Paulo

Coming Soon »

 

Planning

Itinerary, Planning & Information

Tips, info & everything you need to know.

Expenses

How much did it cost?

« Sixteen days in Brazil

 

Day 5 – Lençóis to Salvador


There are three buses from Lençóis to Salvador – 7:30am, 1:15pm and 11:30pm. These are on RapidoFederal bus, which is the most common state-run bus service in Brazil. One way takes about 6 hours with multiple stops in between. If you have specific plans then you can buy a return ticket at bus terminal. The buses arrive and depart almost on time so make sure to be at the stop at least 15 minutes before your departure time. Return ticket is BRL 121 (at the time of visit).

Having booked the return ticket from Salvador, and with the all-day tour of Chapada Diamantina national park the previous day, I had a late start to the day!

psm_lencoisThe tiny town of Lençóis was a 10-minute walk from the hostel I was staying at; and the heat was terrible in the town. But I walked to the town, had breakfast at Arte Natural restaurant and walked to the post office to get a stamp in my Postal Stamps Travelogue book.

Next up was some souvenir shopping, before heading back to the hostel.

Not wanting to miss the bus, I reached the “terminal” – which is just a stop on the main street from across the town that is separated by the river. The bus arrived on time and it was a relaxing 6-hour trip to Salvador’s main bus terminal.

lencois

 
Having reached Salvador at about 7:30pm, I took a taxi to Praça da Sé that takes about 20 minutes. Checked in to the Laranjeiras Hostel and headed out for dinner with friends (that I made from my stay in Salvador) before calling it an early night.

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = BRL 3.73 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
Snacks & water $2.68 BRL 10.
Souvenir Fridge Magnet $1.34 BRL 5.
Postal Stamp in Lençóis $1.60 BRL 6.
Taxi from Salvador Bus terminal to hostel $9.38 BRL 35. One way.
Hostel in Salvador $17.42 BRL 65. One night, double-bed room, shared bathroom.
Breakfast at Arte Natural $5.36 BRL 20.
Total Costs $37.78 Per person
Overall Costs $362.99 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 4

Chapada Diamantina National Park

Day trip visiting natural wonders of this national park.

Day 5

Lençóis to Salvador

Traveling from Lençóis to Salvador.

« Sixteen days in Brazil

Day 6 – NEXT »

Manaus

Exploring the gateway city to Amazon.

 

Day 6 – Manaus


Having booked the early morning flight departing at 05:50am from Salvador, I had asked the hostel (in Salvador) to get a taxi for me at 3am. It takes about 30 minutes from Praça da Sé to Salvador Airport (SSA) and costs BRL 90, one way. It was an easy check-in process for domestic flights, and with a connection in Belo Horizonte (CNF), I reached Manaus airport (MAO) on time.

Also having booked the Amazon Forest tour in advance, airport pickup was a part of the package. The driver of the tour company (who spoke English) was waiting for me at the arrivals terminal. A drive of about 20 minutes brought me to Sombra Palace Hotel.

 

Sombra Palace Hotel

Value
Location
Cleanliness
Rooms
Service

Breakfast included: No
Wifi: Free, included in price, good network across the hotel

Address: Av. 07 de Setembro 1325, Centro, 69000 Manaus, Brazil
Phone: +57-92-3234-8777
Email: contato@hotelsombra.com.br
Website: www.hotelsombra.com.br

Location
Located in the center of Manaus, just walking distance from the Teatro Amazonas, you can walk up to the local markets, center of the city and other hostels from this hotel.

Rooms
After arriving at the hotel, I was given room 304, which is a one double bed room with air-conditioning, fridge and a private bathroom. The AC in the room was located in a corner and after turning it on for 2 hours, there was barely any cooling in the room. Although this room faced the main road and had huge windows, considering the hot and humid weather of Manaus, one would need air conditioning! At the cost of R$106 (approx $27) a night, this was a huge room for one person.

A quick request to the staff about changing the room, I was given room 403 with a note that the AC worked excellent in that room. The only good thing that separated out from room 304 was the AC faced the bed. But that doesn’t mean it cooled the room! This room had a tiny window with no view and also a private bathroom. Another request to have something that actually cooled a room, I was told that these were the coolest rooms available.

Services
The people at the reception were very friendly and helpful, and I’m sure they were doing their best to accommodate all the room-change requests I had, but hotel industry services are considered best when they keep their customers happy!

Overall
There are other great hostels around Manaus that one may want to consider, which are not just cheaper, but come with great hospitality and rooms. Sombra palace hotel can be at the bottom of your list for selecting affordable hotels in Manaus.

sombrapalacehotel
[Room 403]
sombrapalacehotel1
[Room 403]
sombrapalacehotel2
[Room 304]
sombrapalacehotel3
[Room 304]

 
After checking in, I headed out to explore Manaus – in 43°C (110°F)!

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About 5 minutes walk from the hotel was Palacio Rio Negro.

This elaborate palace was the residence of a German rubber merchant named Waldemar Scholz and was later the seat of the State Government of Amazonas. In 1997, it was converted into a cultural center, and you can tour the main house and the adjoining art gallery of Brazilian works. The house is as elaborate inside as outside, with lots of marble and native woods. The grounds are beautifully landscaped with shrubs, trees, and flowers native to the Amazon rainforest.

palaciorionegro1

palaciorionegro2

palaciorionegro3

palaciorionegro4

 
About 10 minutes walk further was the most-visited sight of Manaus – Teatro Amazonas. Decorated with 36,000 ceramic tiles painted in the colors of the Brazilian national flag, the dome of this opera house soars in the city. The 39 of the 54-member Amazon Philharmonic orchestra are from Bulgaria, Belarus and Russia. The theater is also the location of an annual film festival.

And right next to the theater is Praça São Sebastião.

teatro_amazonas1
[Teatro Amazonas]

teatro_amazonas2
[Teatro Amazonas]

teatro_amazonas3
[Teatro Amazonas]

plaza1
[Praça São Sebastião]

plaza2
[Praça São Sebastião]

plaza3
[Praça São Sebastião]

plaza4
[Praça São Sebastião]

plaza5
[Praça São Sebastião]

plaza6
[Praça São Sebastião]

 
After lunch at a nearby restaurant, I wanted to go see the port, but I was instructed by the tour guide not to go there anytime of day or night because it was dangerous for tourists.

It was after 2pm by then and the day was scorching with the sun overhead and humidity levels at their peak. But one of the things to do in my itineraries is to get a postal stamp from the post office in my Postal Stamps Travelogue book, so a short walk from the Palacio Rio Negro was a visit to the post office.

From there it was 5 minute walk to the must-visit Mercado Adolpho Lisboa (Municipal Market) – the place for souvenirs, fresh produce and almost everything else locals would need.

mercadomunicipal1

mercadomunicipal2

mercadomunicipal3

 
Being inside the market was the best thing to do in the heat, so I spent a lot of time tasting some fruits and delicacies while shopping for souvenirs.

Ending the afternoon, drenched in sweat, I decided to walk along Ave. Manaus Moderna, right behind the Municipal Market, then stop by for a while to look at the sunset, before heading back 15 minutes to the hotel, and calling it an early day.

 

Costs

Note: All values in USD, unless otherwise mentioned, are approximate and based on the exchange rate of USD 1 = BRL 3.73 at the time of publishing. Each cost is for one adult.
 

What Cost Notes
Flight from Salvador to Manaus $199.69 One way. 05:52 SSA – MAO 11:30, with layover at Belo Horizonte (CNF), via Azul Linhas
Taxi from Salvador hostel to SSA Airport $24.13 BRL 90. One way.
Snacks & water at SSA airport $5.36 BRL 20. Breakfast.
Sombra Palace Hotel $28.42 BRL 106. Double bedroom, private bathroom. One night, one person.
Lunch in Manaus $11.26 BRL 42. Pizza.
Dinner in Manaus $9.65 BRL 36.
Snacks & Water $2.68 BRL 10.
Total Costs $281.19 Per person
Overall Costs $644.18 Per person

 

« PREVIOUS – Day 5

Lençóis to Salvador

Traveling from Lençóis to Salvador.

Day 6

Manaus

Exploring the gateway city to Amazon.

« Sixteen days in Brazil

Day 7 – NEXT »

Amazon Forest (Day One)

Beginning of a three-day trip into Amazon.

 

Brazil – Sixteen Days Itinerary


Where: Salvador, Lençóis, Chapada Diamantina national park, Manaus, Amazon Rainforest, Rio de Janeiro, Paraty, São Paulo
Transport: Airlines, Bus
When: October 2015, for sixteen days
Who: One backpacker
Currency: Brazilian Real (BRL)

 
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Map

 
brazil_map

 

Itinerary

  Planning
Planning & Information
  Day 1
Salvador
Arriving in Brazil and sights of Salvador.
  Day 2
Salvador
Sights of biggest Afro-Brazilian town.
  Day 3
Lençóis
Exploring the gateway town to Chapada Diamantina National Park.
  Day 4
Chapada Diamantina National Park
Day trip visiting natural wonders of this national park.
  Day 5
Lençóis to Salvador
Traveling from Lençóis to Salvador.
  Day 6
Manaus
Exploring the gateway city to Amazon.
  Day 7
Amazon Rainforest (Day One)
Beginning of a three-day trip into Amazon.
  Day 8
Amazon Rainforest (Day Two)
Day two in the Amazon Forest.
  Day 9
Amazon Rainforest (Day Three), Manaus
Day three in the Amazon Rainforest & return to Manaus.
  Day 10
Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema, Ipanema Beach, Leblon.
  Day 11
Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana, Cristo Redentor, Sugarloaf Mountain.
  Day 12
Rio de Janeiro
  Day 13
Paraty
  Day 14
Paraty
  Day 15
Paraty to São Paulo
  Day 16
São Paulo
Expenses
How much did it cost?
List of all the expenses.

#Brazil #SouthAmerica #Itinerary #Salvador #Lençóis #ChapadaDiamantinaNationalPark #Manaus #AmazonRainforest #RioDeJaneiro #Paraty #SãoPaulo

48 Hours in Istanbul


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48 Hours in Istanbul
 

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Experience the only city in the world spanning across two continents and visit most of the sights in 48 hours. With hour-by-hour details, this is an exhaustive guide to Istanbul.

Day 1: Sultan Ahmet Mosque, Aya Sofya, Basilica Cistern Column of Constantine, Çemberlitas Hamam, Grand Bazaar

Day 2: Topkapi Palace, Spice Bazaar, New Mosque, Galata Bridge, Galata Tower, Bosphorus Ferry, Istiklal street, Taksim Square

 

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