Gourmet Kosher Safaris 2021, Winter Vacation in Manaus, Brazil
Brazil spans half a continent with 200 million people, and it is truly a world of its own. With by far the largest rain-forests and freshwater sources in the world, it has been described as the “lungs of the planet”.
It is without a doubt a wildlife and ecotourism paradise! This is a place of incredible scenic and cultural wealth and diversity.
On this exclusive tour, we explore the legendary rain-forests of the Amazon. Whilst cruising the river by boat we will be surrounded by Track Jaguar, Capybara, and other creatures of the swamps in the Pantanal Wetlands, and experience the scenic and cultural splendour of Rio, one of the world’s most popular tourist meccas.
From the heights of Pico Jaragua, we look out at the vast metropolis of 22 million people that is Sao Paulo, one of the 5 largest cities in the world. From one of the world’s most splendid borders, we explore the widest set of waterfalls on the planet, the Iguazu Falls, which makes our last Shabbat of the trip the most memorable experience of your life!
Sunday is our arrival day, where we arrive in Sao Paulo at our leisure, acclimatize, and have the option of enjoying some of the sights and sounds of this great city.
Day 1 – Day 4 The Amazon
The Amazon basin is the largest rainforest in the world, taking up almost the size of the continental United States, and discharges 25% of the world’s fresh-water. It is still relatively un-spoilt, contains one of the largest varieties of flora and fauna on the planet, and is listed as one of the “new 7 natural wonders of the world”.
On day 1, we depart Sao Paulo and fly to Manaus, gateway to the Amazon. Here, we check into our jungle lodge that will be our home for the next 3 nights. During our stay, we explore some of the waterways of this incredible system, looking out for birds, toucans, pink dolphins, caimans, sloths, multiple species of monkeys and reptiles, and perhaps even the elusive jaguar.
Due to the dense and tall vegetation it is very difficult to spot wildlife in the Amazon, so we keep our eyes and ears open! We reach the famous “meeting of the waters”, where the Rio Negro joins the Amazon, an incredible wonder of nature where the cold brown Solimoes River flows side by side with the black, warm Rio Negro for 9 kilometres without mixing!
We also walk through the rain-forests, and meet some of the local tribes that still lead the traditional lifestyles of the region.
In the Amazon, We experience the world’s greatest river System, with all the comforts, and gourmet kosher delights that GKS is famous for!
Day 5 – Day 7 Rio de Janeiro
Urban Sprawl and natural splendor are no contradiction in Rio, the world’s largest combination of metropolis and scenery, and no trip to this semi-continent would be complete without exploring both aspects of one of the most tourist-visited cities in the world.
From the mountains of Sugarloaf and Corcovado, to the classical architecture, legendary soccer stadiums, and gorgeous beaches, we use this weekend to enjoy the best Rio has to offer, including a lovely Shabbat with the Jewish community of Copacabana Beach.
On day 7, we travel through some of the world’s best coastal scenery to Angra Dos Reis, the bay of 365 islands, where we enjoy some utopian hours exploring the deserted beaches and coves of this sub-tropical paradise.
Day 8 – Day 11 The Pantanal Wetlands
In stark contrast to the tall, dense, rainforests of the Amazon, the massive Pantanal Basin consists of largely open flat wetlands, and provides the best chances in the world to track the rare and elusive jaguar.
The Oncafari Project, unique in South America, and inspired and guided by the famous South African Londolozi Private Game Reserve’s work with its smaller cousin – the leopard, has spent years attempting to habituate the local jaguars to its 4×4 game drive vehicles, and, if we very lucky, we might encounter one!
During the next 4 days, we enjoy a “one of a kind” safari with the Oncafari team from their base in the Caiman Ecological Reserve, searching for some of the Pantanal most interesting species, such as the endangered Hyacinth Mccaw, tapir, caiman, Capybara, giant anteater, swamp wolf, puma, and of course the jaguar – by jeep, canoe, and foot, while learning about the traditional Brazilian ranch life that the region is famous for.
On day 11 we fly back to Sao Paulo, where we view this mega-city from the Pica Jaragua Mountain that towers over it, visit one of its largest shuls, and enjoy dinner in a kosher restaurant.
Day 12 – Day 14 Iguassu Falls
The “Iguassu Falls”, listed as one of the “new 7 natural wonders of the world”, is the world’s widest waterfall. Spanning 2800m at the meeting point of Argentina, Brazil and nearby Paraguay, the mighty “Iguazu River” plunges down to the thunderous roar of the power of water, and the spectacle is indescribable!
We fly from Sao Paulo to Iguassu, where we view the falls from the Brazilian side of this massive river. Here, the views are incredibly unique, and the whole panorama of the Falls is visible.
We visit the Exotic bird park, home to one of the greatest collection of parrots and toucans in the world, many indigenous to the region.
We then travel to to our hotel and prepare for an unforgettable Shabbat in the jungle.
Should logistics allow, we shall stay at the stately De Cataratas Hotel right by the falls, whose perfect location allows us to walk out of the lobby and into the “Falls” whenever a Shabbat walk tickles our fancy – a unique experience even for those who have already visited the Falls on our Argentina tour!
On Sunday, cross into Argentina and enjoying the many trails that offer views of the other spectacular side of these great waterfalls, and also have the chance to view the Falls by boat, before flying back to Sao Paulo or Rio in time for international flights back home, enriched with incredible time spent in the incredible land of the Amazon.