Spend it like Beckham Exploring the Amazon


| June 6, 2014

Katie Parsons follows in the footsteps of David Beckham to search out Brazil’s – and South America’s – other major attractions, away from the football field in the jungle of the Amazon.

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Excitement levels for the World Cup in Brazil are about to reach fever pitch when football takes over our screens next week. David Beckham got in on the action early with a documentary about his trip to the Brazilian Amazon, Into the Unknown, which airs on BBC One on Monday 9 June. If like Beckham, you want to get away from the football and explore the rainforests of South America, here are your matches of the day.

Manaus, Brazil

The capital of the state of Amazonas, Manaus is the starting point for exploring the Brazilian stretches of the Amazon. The city was founded by the Portuguese in the 17th century, but it wasn’t until the short-lived rubber boom of the late 19th century that it prospered. Don’t miss seeing the Meeting of the Water, where the confluences of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimoes converge. The darker waters of the Rio Negro and the lighter brown Rio Solimoes flow side by side for almost 6.5km.

We recommend either joining a river cruise – the Amazon Clipper is our preferred boat – to explore the river and forest or staying in one of the lodges that are accessed by small boats from Manaus.

Best for:
Seeing the Amazon river: from the Meeting of the Waters, the river is now officially the Amazon.

View Cox & Kings’ Brazil tours for more ideas

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Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Puerto Maldonado, at the meeting point of the Tambopata and Madre de Dios rivers in the Amazon basin, is possibly the most accessible town for accessing the rainforest. A 50-minute flight from Cuzco, it’s then a short drive to the port from where boats depart for their respective lodges. Inkaterra’s Reserva Amazonica, the most luxurious accommodation in the region, is just 45 minutes down river and has its own treetop canopy walkway, but you can travel further and stay at more rustic lodges. All offer boat trips along smaller waterways and forest walks to explore deeper into the forest where you might see red howler monkeys, macaws, toucans, sloths, black caimans and giant river otters.

Best for:
Combining with culture: it’s easily accessible from Cuzco, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

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Iquitos, Peru

Accessible only by boat or air, Iquitos is the ideal place for an Amazon cruise. With a range of boats on offer to suit different budgets including the Delfin I and II, on board you will be joined by expert naturalists who will accompany you for excursions on smaller motorised skiffs to navigate remote parts of the Amazon basin. Among an incredible array of flora and fauna, the Ucayali and Marañon tributaries are home to pink and grey river dolphins.

Best for:
Luxury river cruising.

Visit Cox & Kings’ Peru holidays for more ideas.

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Napo, Ecuador

The tropical lowlands of the Ecuadorian Amazon basin are far less visited than the rainforests of Brazil and Peru. After a flight from Quito, you board a motorised canoe for a journey into the Napo Wildlife Reserve, from where you are paddled up the creeks to the different lodges; no motorised transport is permitted on the lake so that the wildlife is not disturbed. New for this year is Ecuador’s first luxury river cruiser, the Anakonda, which explores the rainforest and waterways of the wild Yasuni National Park and other smaller nature reserves. There are daily excursions accompanied by naturalist and native guides, in canoes or on foot, searching for birds and wildlife such as monkeys, river dolphins and caimans, as well as visiting local Amazonian communities.

Best for:
Extraordinary contrasts: the Galapagos Islands are an easy flight from Quito, offering the ultimate wildlife holiday.

See more of Cox & Kings’ Ecuador tours.

To find out more about the extraordinary riches of South America, call one of our expert consultants today on 020 7873 5000. As David Beckham now knows, in this game there are no penalties.

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