Amazon Explorer: Primates and Parrots Special!
AT A GLANCE
Bird & Wildlife River Cruise: birds, river dolphins, monkeys, rainforest scenery and photography
Manaus (Brazil) – Amazon River plus Madeira, Abacaxis, Maués and Amana – Santarem (Brazil)
Over 30 species of primate occur in the region plus other mammals including river dolphins, a huge variety of birds and we will concentrate on parrots and regional endemics in particular, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and forest trees and plants.
Warm to hot. Showers can be expected.
22 passenger comfortable live-aboard river boat, twin cabins with bunk beds and private facilities, (we will only put 17 passengers onboard this itinerary.)
Following the complete success of our inaugural and world first “Primates & Parrots” Amazon cruise in early May 2018, we are delighted to be able to run a repeat of this trip starting in Manaus in late April 2019. We enjoyed 28 species of primate (including the optional extension to Uacari Floating Lodge) and 22 species of the parrot family, plus much much more. Our illustrated trip report and species list can be found on the trip report tab above. Our second departure will also include an extra day afloat, with a Pink River Dolphin encounter now included too!
We plan to spend a couple of weeks sailing from the Brazilian city of Manaus exploring some of the remote rivers that flow into the Amazon.
One of our primary goals is to find some of the least known monkeys in Amazonia and over the course of this expedition, we will visit areas which are home to over thirty species, a number of which are extremely localised. Those we hope to find include Golden-white Tassel-ear Marmoset, Sateré Marmoset, Maués Marmoset, Silvery Marmoset, Santarem Marmoset, Midas Tamarin, Pied Tamarin, Lake Baptista Titi, Spix’s Black-headed Uacari and Amazon Black Howler. Other possibilities include White-faced Saki, Guianan Squirrel Monkey, Guianan Brown Capuchin, Spix’s White-fronted Capuchin and Spix’s (Red-handed) Howler.
As well as looking for monkeys, we will also spend some of our time searching for some of the unique birds which live in this rarely visited region and there are three special parrot species which we particularly want to find - Bald Parrot, Vulturine Parrot and Golden Parakeet, all of which we saw in 2018. Other possibilities include six species of macaws, Blue-and-Yellow, Scarlet, Red-and-Green, Blue-winged, Chestnut-fronted and Red-bellied, as well as Red-fan Parrot and Crimson-bellied Parakeet.
There are, however, literally hundreds of bird species in this region and we hope to find Sunbittern, Toco Toucan, Crimson-hooded Manakin and Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, as well as hummingbirds, antbirds and tanagers.
During our expedition, we plan to make several night time excursions and these will give us a very different perspective of the Amazon. Nocturnal creatures we could encounter include Brazilian Porcupine, both Three-toed and Two-toed Sloths, Amazon Bamboo Rat, Black and Spectacled Caimans, Red-tailed Boa, Northern Ghost Bat, Greater Fishing Bat as well as a selection of owls, nightjars and potoos. When exploring during daylight, we can also expect to see both Amazonian River Dolphin and the smaller Tucuxi on a more or less daily basis, so irrespective of your wildlife interest, this exciting trip offers enormous potential.
Our tour will start in the Brazilian city of Manaus (which is readily accessible from the UK and Europe) and will conclude in the equally convenient town of Santarem. As on our “Remote Amazonia” tour, we plan to use a very comfortable, air conditioned riverboat which has been specifically designed to allow us to explore areas many other vessels would find impossible to access. With a fantastic shaded top deck (which has been described by previous WildWings participants as akin to ‘a mobile canopy tower’) a very low draft and a fantastic crew, this exclusive charter will be able to visit places few tourists have previously been to.
Immediately prior to joining our vessel, we plan to make an early morning visit to a 40+ metre canopy tower in a forest park not far from Manaus. This will give us a completely different perspective on the surrounding forest and on our visits to this reserve in 2016 and 2018 we saw the extremely localised Pied Tamarin. There are many bird possibilities here too and these could include Black-faced Hawk, Paradise Jacamar, Guianan Toucanet, Red-fan Parrot and a host of other species.
We will also include an afternoon visiting a beach where it should be possible to swim with Amazon (Pink) River Dolphins. These are completely wild and whilst the local people do give them a small amount of fish, invariably the dolphins stay with us a long time after this has all been eaten. This fantastic interaction has often been described by previous participants as one of the major highlights of our Brazilian Amazon cruises and has drawn favourable comparisons with the Grey Whales at Baja California and the Mountain Gorillas in Africa.
Once on our specially chartered expedition boat, our itinerary will remain flexible to maximise on our wildlife opportunities but we will generally travel during the night and then spend our days exploring Amazonian tributaries visiting remote rivers such as the Madeira, Abacaxis, Maués, Amana and Erepucurú.
We will have three comfortable canoes with us and a maximum of eighteen participants, so each boat with have just six passengers plus a wildlife guide.
We are genuinely hopefully of making some significant discoveries on this trip and are very keen, for example, to relocate an interesting titi monkey we saw on our 2018 expedition which has so far defied identification. This holiday is, therefore, sure to be a real adventure with the comfort of an excellent boat, great food and a fantastic crew.
Prior to joining our vessel in Manaus, we plan to offer an extension to a remote community-run jungle lodge near the isolated Amazonian town of Tefé. The lodge is located in the Mamirauá Reserve and has the unusual distinction of being built on a series of floating pontoons, rather than on solid ground in terra firme forest.
Our main objective for visiting is to look for the Bald Uacari, surely one of South America’s most spectacular monkeys, although we will also want to find the Black-headed Squirrel Monkey. Both these species have relatively restricted ranges, with the entire world population of the squirrel monkey being within the Mamirauá Reserve.
The area is generally flooded in April/May (as it is dominated by varzea and swamp forest), so we plan to explore the area using the lodge’s canoes. High water is, however, considered the best time to find primates here and locating these two special species will very much be the priority during our stay.
The lodge is also an excellent location for seeing other wildlife and over 360 species of birds have been recorded in the vicinity with the possibilities including Wattled Curassow, Sunbittern, White-eared Jacamar and Paradise Tanager.
IMPORTANT: As our vessel will need to reposition back to Manaus after this expedition, it is unlikely that we will be able to offer this itinerary on a regular basis. If you want to be part of what could, therefore, be a unique opportunity, early bookings are strongly recommended.
Day 0 (27 April) – Manaus
Arrival in Manaus. In the afternoon we plan to begin our search for some of the special primates and birds of this region, looking for Pied Tamarin and White-faced Saki in a forested area close to our hotel. There are also some interesting birds here and the species we could find include Little Chachalaca, Black Nunbird, Green Aracari and Festive Amazon.
Day 1 (28 April) – Manaus and Solimoes River
We will make an early start to ensure we are at an excellent canopy tower on the outskirts of Manaus for dawn. We have previously seen both Guianan Red Howler and Pied Tamarin here and other primate possibilities include White-faced Saki, Guianan Bearded Saki and Guianan Brown Capuchin. This tower is also excellent for birds and we could find Black-faced Hawk, Guianan Toucanet, Red-fan Parrot and Scarlet Macaw, as well as both Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas.
We plan to sail from Manaus by late morning, as we want to spend the late afternoon looking for Spix’s Black-headed Uacari.
Day 2 (29 April) – Arisu and Solimoes River
During the morning, we plan to look for Golden-backed Squirrel Monkey and Spix’s White-fronted Capuchin and there is also a chance for Colombian Red Howler.
Our emphasis for the afternoon will be quite different, as we intend to visit a white sand beach where it should be possible to “swim” with Amazon (Pink) River Dolphins. These are completely wild dolphins and some have described the interaction as being as memorable as visits to the Grey Whales at Baja California or Mountain Gorillas in Africa.
Day 3 (30 April) – Mamoni Channel
Our morning excursion will be another opportunity to locate Golden-backed Squirrel Monkey and we could also find Grey’s Bare-faced Saki and Chestnut-bellied Titi here. Three-toed (or Brown-throated) Sloths are also reasonably numerous.
There are a number of new bird possibilities which could include Hoatzin, Black-throated Mango and Red-and-white Spinetail.
By late morning, we will need to depart for the Madeira River and we should have an opportunity to see the “meeting of the waters” where the Solimoes and Negro Rivers meet to form the mighty Amazon. As we cruise downstream and dusk approaches, it is likely that a range of parrot species will fly overhead on the way to their night-time roosts and these could include White-eyed Parakeet, Festive Amazon and Chestnut-fronted Macaw.
Day 4 (1 May) - Madeira River
We plan to wake early as our targets today are two very special primates, the Lake Baptista Titi and Golden-White Tassel-eared Marmoset, both of which are highly range-restricted. Other primates that occur here include Spix’s White-fronted Capuchin and Gray’s Bald-faced Saki.
We also hope to find a number of different parrot species which could include Chestnut-fronted Macaw, Short-tailed and Mealy Parrots as well as Tui and Golden-winged Parakeets. There are a number of other interesting birds here too with one of the possibilities being the stunning Crimson-hooded Manakin.
Day 5 (2 May) - Abacaxis River
This will be our opportunity to look for the extremely elusive Sateré Marmoset, a species which was only described in 1998. Another possibility is Ashy Titi and we could also find Two-toed Sloth.
Depending on our success on our morning excursion, we may continue looking for Sateré Marmoset in the afternoon or cross to the opposite bank of the Abacaxis River and begin our search for Maués Marmoset.
Day 6 (3 May) - Paraconí River
This is another area for Maués Marmoset, with Hoffman’s Titi also being a possibility. On our 2018 trip, we found a different species of titi which showed characteristics of the recently described Vieira’s Titi but we are keen to get further views and photos.
We also hope to find Bald Parrot, Kawall’s Amazon and Crimson-bellied Parakeet amongst a host of bird possibilities.
Day 7 (4 May) - Maués and Parauari Rivera
We plan a birding excursion in the morning and then, whilst our crew purchase further supplies, may make a short visit to the town of Maués. This is often known as ‘Guaraná City’ as there are extensive plantations of the berry which are used to make the famous Brazilian soft drink. In the afternoon we will begin the journey south to the Amana River and will use the excellent top deck to look for wildlife. As we continue south, this will be our first opportunity to find the stunning Golden Parakeet.
Days 8 and 9 (5-6 May) - Amana River
We hope to find both Amazon Black Howler and Red-nosed Saki with another possibility being Gray’s Bald-faced Saki.
There are also some spectacular parrots here with our major target being Golden Parakeet which we saw exceptionally well here in 2018. Other potential species could include Vulturine and Bald Parrots, as well as White-crested Guan and White-tailed Cotinga.
Day 10 (7 May) – Parana Andira
Our main target this morning will be the extremely localised Santarem (or Black-and-white Tassel-eared) Marmoset. We plan to explore an area where our excellent crew have found this species on previous occasions and we saw it in 2018.
It is a long journey to the site we want to visit on the Trombetas River, a tributary which flows into the Amazon on the northern side of this mighty river, so we expect to leave by mid-morning. There will be plenty of wildlife to look for and enjoy from the top deck as we travel with one of the possibilities being Toco Toucan.
Day 11 (8 May) – Trombetas and Erepecurú Rivers
We intend to spend the early morning looking for the extremely localised Martin’s Bare-faced Tamarin before continuing northwards up the Trombetas River and then onto the Erepecurú. Possibilities whilst we travel could include Guianan Squirrel Monkey and Guianan Howler.
Day 12 (9 May) - Erepecurú River
We plan to spend the early morning looking for Midas (Golden-handed) Tamarin and Red-faced Spider Monkey with other possibilities including the Guianan Bearded Saki. We also hope to find the stunning Guianan Cock-of-the Rock.
By late morning, we will have to leave for Alter do Chão but there should be plenty of opportunities for wildlife watching as we travel back south with Amazon River Dolphin, Guianan Howler and Guianan Squirrel Monkey all being possible.
Day 12 (10 May) - Alter do Chão
Our reason for visiting this area is to look for Silvery Marmoset and Spix’s (Red-handed) Howler and we hope to find both before departing in the late afternoon for Santarém. Another possible primate here is Red-bellied Titi and the birds could include Spot-backed Puffbird and Peach-fronted Parakeet.
Day 14 (11 May) - Santarem
We will disembark in Santarém after breakfast and then begin our journey home.
(NB: Exact itinerary subject to river, weather and other local conditions on the day)
Golden-white Bare-ear Marmoset
Golden-white Tassel-ear Marmoset
Midas (Golden-handed) Tamarin
Martin’s Bare-faced Tamarin
Golden-backed Squirrel Monkey
Guianan Squirrel Monkey
Black-headed Squirrel Monkey (Mamiraua pre-extension only)
Guianan Brown Capuchin
Spix’s White-fronted Capuchin
Humboldt’s White-fronted Capuchin
Guianan Weeper Capuchin
Humboldt’s (Northern) Night Monkey
Black-headed Night Monkey
Spix’s Night Monkey
Lake Baptista Titi
Gray’s Bald-faced Saki
Red-nosed Bearded Saki
Guianan (Brown-backed) Bearded Saki
Bald (Red) Uacari (Mamiraua pre-extension only)
Spix’s black-headed Uacari
Colombian Red Howler
Guianan Red Howler
Amazon Black Howler
Spix’s (Red-handed) Howler
Black-faced Black Spider Monkey
Red-faced Spider Monkey
White-whiskered Spider Monkey
Peruvian Woolly Monkey
Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.
Dates: 28th April – 11th May 2019
Naturalists/guides: Chris Collins & Regina Ribeiro plus the vessel’s guide & crew.
Cost: £3785 sharing a twin cabin
Single cabin sup. £949
Max no of participants: 18
Deposit: £600 per person
Or advance register for 2020! Dates are 26th April – 9th May 2020
Price includes: Travel and accommodation aboard the Victoria Amazonica, a Brazilian registered riverboat, in air-conditioned twin (upper & lower berth) cabins. Cabins include a window and private shower, toilet and washbasin. There is a restaurant/bar area for relaxing, socialising and eating, plus a small library, laundry facilities and a satellite phone. The upper deck is open with seating for enjoying wildlife and the world passing by (largely shaded by a roof) and there is plenty of space facing forward on this deck. We will have three motorized canoes for exploring from the main vessel. All meals are included aboard, transfers to the vessel from our group hotel and transfer to the airport at the end of the voyage, services of leaders and guides, canoe and shore excursions, local permits, WildWings pre-trip information pack plus a bird and mammal checklist for use during the cruise.
Flights (from approx. £1099pp return), pre cruise hotel in Manaus (£75 per person twin share b&b including arrival transfer), drinks, crew gratuities aboard vessel (we suggest $10 per person per day), travel insurance and other items of a personal nature.
23rd – 26th April 2019
Transfer to lodge from Tefe Airport for a three night stay. Two full days exploring the forest and area around this unique floating lodge using canoes with local guides (wet season). Your stay here includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, accommodation in two bed-roomed bungalows with private facilities. Canoe excursions including snacks and drinks with local guides. On the final morning, transfer back to Tefe Airport. (NB Regina Ribeiro will accompany this extension based on a minimum of 10 clients.)
£999pp sharing a twin
Excludes return flights from Manaus, approx. £215pp.
We can also combine your Amazon Cruise with other areas of Brazil eg Regua Lodge (Atlantic Forest) The Pantanal, Iguazu Falls etc.
28th April – 11th May 2019
23rd – 26th April 2019
26th April – 9th May 2020
Chris has birded in over 80 countries and territories around the world and now spends the quite a lot of his time at sea. Although professionally qualified as a Chartered Accountant, these days Chris concentrates on wildlife-related projects and was very instrumental in setting up the Western Pacific Odyssey and also guides our Russian Far East voyages.