Explore the amazing Amazon Rainforest with a Vacation Package aboard the M/Y Tucano.
Advantages/disadvantages of the location: There are two ways of exploring the Brazilian Amazon. You can either stay at a Lodge, and we have plenty of great options available, or you can do a wonderful cruise onboard the Tucano Boat.
One of the main advantages of the cruise is that you get to explore a larger area than when you stay at one of the jungle lodges. The boat travels along the river and each day you wake up and have the opportunity to explore a different region, whereas the lodge activities are always in the area where the lodge is located.
On the other hand, at the lodges you do have more space and comfort in terms of the facilities and structure. They have pools, land to walk around and larger rooms and bathrooms. The other disadvantage of the boat is that you are restricted by the precise arrival and departure dates of the cruises, and so there is less flexibility and choice. It is always recommended to have a night in Manaus before the boat’s departure date, just in case anything happens with the flights or luggage and you need time to sort it out before the boat leaves.
How to get there: The city of Manaus is the main gateway to explore the Amazon rainforest.
The Tucano Boat departs from Manaus on Saturday morning (for the 6-night cruise) or Monday afternoon (for the 4- night cruise).
You will board for the 6-night experience at 7am at the Hotel Tropical Manaus pier. Even though the hotel is closed, the pier is operating normally. Due to the early departure, it is essential to book somewhere to stay in Manaus the night before. Tucano Boat offers complimentary transfers from hotel Villa Amazônia and Hotel Millennium to the pier. This is a shared transfer, which takes approximately 20 minutes.
Check-in / out experience: You will leave the transfer van at the Tropical Pier and the Tucano staff will be waiting to take care of our luggage, on the way down to the pier. The luggage wil be tagged and transferred to the boat on a separate canoe. You will be taken by canoes to the anchored Tucano. Once on board, you will go to the upper deck while staff will take your luggage to your cabins.
You will be introduced to crew members, assigned your rooms, while having a freshly made fruit welcome drink.
Right after the cruise departs you will receive a mandatory emergency demonstration for all passengers on board. You will be asked to go to your rooms and only leave when you hear the alarm. The alarm is pretty loud and in less than a minute after everyone is on the upper deck you will receive the safety demonstration presented by the captain.
How many rooms; Categories; Size: The Tucano Boat has a total of 9 cabins; all with large windows, good natural light, private bathrooms with showers and air-conditioning. They don’t have a minibar or ceiling fans. The décor is elegant with varnished raised paneling, fresh flowers, and tasteful artworks.
The rooms are separated into the following categories:
*Yellow Staterooms: There are a total of 5 cabins in this category, with 2 on the lower deck (cabins 3 & 4), 2 on the middle deck (cabins 5 & 6) and 1 on the upper deck (cabin 0).
The 4 Yellow Staterooms located on the lower and middle decks are exactly the same inside. They are spacious and generally set up as two single beds side by side. Single beds can be turned turn into a queen bed if necessary. They have inserts that go between the mattresses and they use queen size sheets – 500 thread Egyptian cotton, of course!
Upon request there is also the possibility of turning these into 3-person rooms. They do this by putting a narrow bed in between the other two beds, basically resulting in one giant bed. This is really only best for families. With this set-up there is no space to move around in between the beds, but for 2 adults with 1 child it is still comfortable. For the triple option each traveller pays the green category rate.
The only cabin in this category that is different from the others is cabin number 0, located on the boat’s upper deck. Cabin 0 has a queen-size bed next to a single bed, but the disadvantage is that it has a VERY small bathroom.
On the plus side, this cabin offers a lot more privacy and is much quieter than the other cabins on the lower decks. Also, when you open the cabin door you are already outside with a breath-taking view of either the sunrise, the river, the sunset or the brightly star-lit sky at night.
Cabin 0 Bathroom
The beds were extremely comfortable but it is a little hard to organize things in the space available. The bathroom is very small.
*Green Staterooms: There are a total of 4 rooms in this category. The staterooms in this category have bunk beds and are significantly smaller than the Yellow category. There are 2 on the lower level at the front (cabins 1 & 2) and 2 on the middle deck at the back (cabins 7 & 8). The bathrooms are just as spacious as the Yellow category cabins on the lower and middle decks.
*Blue Staterooms: These staterooms are the same as the green ones, but for single occupancy they take off the top bed of the bunk bed. On request, this bed can be converted to a Green Stateroom by putting in a bunk bed.
General notes about the rooms and amenities: Each bed has 2 pillows per person and all the bed linen is 500 thread Egyptian cotton. The towels and duvets are white, good quality and personalized for Tucano.
The bathroom amenities such as shampoo, conditioner and soap were all L’ Occitane.
There is a life vest for each person in the room.
Maximum capacity for families in the same room:
The maximum capacity is 3 people in a cabin, and this is only available in the Yellow Stateroom category. There are no connecting cabins on the boat.
Bathroom; Closet; Amenities:
All the bathrooms are a very good size, considering you are on a boat. There is enough space above the sink for toiletries and a place to hang towels. The boat has two completely separate water systems, ensuring that even when there are no generators operating, the sinks, toilets, and showers still work.
It’s important to note that boat doesn’t heat water for the showers 24 hours a day. Instead, they have ‘on-demand’ water heaters installed in each bathroom, as well as an auxiliary solar-heated water system.
All the water in the bathrooms comes from the Rio Negro itself, and so you shouldn’t drink it due to the high volume of minerals. It is highly recommended to brush your teeth with mineral water.
The only cabin with a very small bathroom is cabin 0.
Bathroom Green and Yellow Cabins ( apart from Cabin 0)
The Upper deck of the Boat is where the Sun deck, Shade Canopy, Cabin 0, Wheelhouse and Captain’s cabin is located. This is also the best place to be while the boat is cruising or anchored. Either reading a book, enjoying the sun while sipping a beer or a glass of wine while admiring the unique bright sky and spotting the numerous pink dolphins do their daily show to us throughout the day!! Sitting in front of the boat while it cruises on the sunset was also sublime!
On the Second level of the vessel, the restaurant (Salon) is at the front. There are four cabins in the back section: 2 Yellow cabins with twin beds and 2 Green or Blue cabins that can be set up with either a single bed or bunk beds. This deck is quieter than the lower level.
On the boat’s Lower level there is the main entry and the staircase for the upper levels. It is recommended to take extra care going up or down the stairs.
The corridor going towards the front of the boat is where the 4 lower level cabins are located (2 cabins with single bed or bunk beds, and 2 cabins with twin beds).
On the other side of the stairs, towards the back of the boat, are the kitchen and the crew and service areas.
Cleaning and Maintenance: The cleaning and maintenance of the boat are of a very high standard. It is not a new vessel, but it’s impressive how well it’s been taken care of. There is an engineer on board who is always ready to sort out any issues quickly and efficiently.
Every morning when you get back to the boat from your first activity before breakfast, the cabins will already be cleaned and refreshed.
After each excursion you will asked to leave your shoes in the main entrance hall so that they can be cleaned by the crew and then returned to you later in the day.
Wi-fi: There is no Wi-Fi on board for the entire journey.
Accessible for wheelchair: The boat is not accessible for a wheelchair.
Other observations: Electricity on board the M/Y Tucano: The electrical system is 110 volt/ 60 cycle alternating current. Passengers coming from countries that use a 220 volt system may need to bring a transformer for some electrical appliances. The wall sockets are the type most common in North America and have two flat vertical parallel pins. European travellers will need an adaptor. Please remember that in the morning and for a short time in the afternoon, the generators and other noise-making machinery are turned off in order to make the voyage more sustainable. This also allows us to better appreciate the wonderful stillness of the wilderness and the natural sounds of the forest. It is recommended to take an extra battery / power plug.
Restaurant / bar: The restaurant is on the boat’s middle deck and offers lovely views of the river.
There are 4 round tables that usually sit up to 4 people each. There is also a small library in this area. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in the restaurant.
Coffee and tea are available throughout the day when meals aren’t being served, along with a selection of cake, cookies, bananas and apples.
The boat has large mineral water dispensers for passengers to use at no additional cost, and everyone is asked to fill up their small water bottles from these dispensers. During the trip soft drinks, local beer and wine are also available from a self-service refrigerator, at an additional cost. There is a clipboard with a “Drinks List” where guests record what they have taken, and at the end of the cruise the guides will take payment for any extra drinks consumed. It is important to mention that Credit cards are not accepted on the Tucano Boat –
FOOD & DRINK
Which meals are included in the fare: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included in the daily rate per pax. At mealtimes water and a fruit juice are always included.
After the afternoon excursions appetizers are offered on the upper deck with local fresh fruit juices, usually about an hour before dinner time. Each day something different is offered during this ‘Happy Hour’ and it is always a tasty way to start the evening.
Options served varied from Bruschettas, French fries, nuts, olives, cold cuts of meat, tapioca balls and fish sticks, amongst other things.
Type of restaurant / Food quality: All meals are buffet style/self-service.
The food on board is absolutely delicious and there is a good variety. For main meals a local fish is always served at lunch and dinner, along with either a meat or chicken dish. There is always a vegetarian option available too.
Over the course of the 6 nights you will have the opportunity to try numerous types of exotic Amazonian fruit juice and ice cream.
The last night on board is very special. You will start off the evening with appetisers, caipirinha cocktails and live music on the upper deck.
By this time you will already close to Manaus and the night will provide absolutely stunning views! The farewell dinner will inlcude a bottle of wine for each cabin with a parting gift.
What to Bring/ Pack What you can’t forget to pack is your Binoculars, Camera (and a charger or spare batteries), Flashlight, lightweight canteen, preferably with a shoulder strap.
Then to board on the cruise, you need to keep in mind that the dress code is very informal. Shorts and T-shirts are what you wear most of the time. There is nowhere during the journey to stop to buy anything left behind, and the boat does not have laundry facilities, so do not forget.
All personal Items: All the toiletries you’ll need.
Prescription glasses / contact lenses and solution
Other medicines—if you have preferred brands do bring them along just in case, as there is nowhere to buy anything during the cruise.
Pens and paper – lots of people spent time drawing, writing diaries and playing games, just like the old days with no modern technology!
Clothing: Sun hat, cap or bandanas.
Note on Shirts: It is best to wear long sleeved shirts when walking in the forest, which we did every day. The rest of the activities can be done in short sleeves, though it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. It’s up to individuals to decide exactly how many to bring of each.
T-shirts: At least one or two for every day
Long pants: Two pairs that you can tuck into your socks and don’t mind getting a little muddy!
Shorts: At least 3 pairs. The majority of time on the trip is spent in shorts and a t-shirt.
Bathing suit: swimming in the Rio Negro is truly delightful. The amount you get to swim will depend on the season and how many river beaches there are.
Jacket and/or warm sweater: It can actually get a bit chilly at night.
Flip-flops: For wearing on board or when at the beach
Boots or high-top sneakers: It’s best if your footwear covers your ankles and you’ll also want to be able to tuck your long pants into your socks.
Some passengers choose to bring a second pair of sneakers in case the others get wet.
A lightweight poncho with a hood
The boat trip is recommended for all ages and children love it! From 6 years old and up, as long as you have good mobility this is a great trip for all. The cruise is quite active and we spent the majority of each day exploring the forest on foot or in small motor boats. You will leave the main cruise boat 3 or 4 times a day. Although all the excursions are included in the rate, you don’t have to go on them all.
Best time to visit
The Amazon is beautiful in any season, but the schedule of activities can be quite different depending on the water level of the rivers. The rains are heaviest between the months of January through March. Even though it does rain more this time of year, it is still a good time to travel. It usually only rains about the middle of the day and at night. In the rainy season there are many flowers and fruit attracts birds and monkeys primates to the water’s edge for us to observe. From July to November the river levels start to go down, getting about 5cm lower every day. It’s common to see the water level marked on the trees.