For travellers Brazil has it all – cities like Rio with a worldwide reputation for music and fun, spectacular coastline and mountain scenery and, once you venture inland, the unspoiled wilderness of the Amazon. Brazil also offers visitors several unique hotels and interesting places to stay.
Stay in the jungle tree tops
Located on the Rio Nego about 35 miles northwest of Manaus is the Ariau Amazon Towers Hotel – the largest tree-top resort in the world. This hotel, which was the filming base for the movie Anaconda, consists of tree-houses and suites built at the height of the jungle canopy, between 10 and 20 metres above the forest floor. Over 8 kilometres of carefully constructed wooden catwalks span the resort, linking the rooms, and allowing visitors to view the surrounding jungle without damaging the area’s sensitive ecosystem.
Among the activities offered by the hotel are swimming with river dolphins – which are an unusual pink colour, crocodile hunting and even fishing for piranha, which you can later have fried for your dinner.
Explore remote areas – and take your hotel with you
Definitely among Brazil’s most interesting hotels is the Exploranter Overland Hotel. This mobile hotel is a converted 25-ton truck, complete with 24 beds, hot showers and a kitchen with a proper convection oven and a freezer. During stops, an awning that extends from the side of the truck provides guests with welcome shade.
The Exploranter, which is available for private charter, offers custom tours ranging in length from days up to months. It’s ideal for groups wanting to visit some of Brazil’s more remote attractions, such as the magnificent landscapes of Patagonia.
See the animals of the Amazon
Just outside Manaus, alongside the Rio Negro, is the Tropical Manaus Hotel, offering over 600 colonial-style rooms. One of the features that make it unique is that you don’t have to leave the grounds to encounter a wide variety of indigenous, Amazonian animals. The Tropical Manaus Zoological Gardens, which have been running since 1976, are home to about 100 species. The zoo is registered with the main environmental agency in Brazil and does valuable work in breeding certain endangered animals in captivity. These include the jaguar and certain species of spider monkeys.
Reach for the clouds
The eco-friendly Do Lado de Lá Eco Lodge is located in a scenically magnificent area in the mountains of Aiuruoca (outside Rio), a whopping 1,900 metres above sea level. The lodge is built from locally sourced materials and includes a set of rustic but comfortable cabins, offering guests hot water and even feather pillows. Meals are cooked on wood stoves.
What makes the Do Lado de Lá Eco Lodge stand apart, aside from its lofty location, is its fabulous surroundings, with peaks, canyons, waterfalls, natural pools and a huge variety of local wildlife. If you stay, chances are you’ll spot the area’s hummingbirds, armadillos, tayras, hares, penelopes, maned wolves, foxes and even jaguars.
See the real Amazon and contribute to good causes
At the eco-friendly Uakari Floating Jungle Lodge, you’ll sleep in a floating cabin on the Amazon. You can get to the lodge only by boat from Tefé, which itself is in a fairly remote location. Once there, you can hike, canoe on the Mamirauá Lake, meet interesting local people and marvel at the night sky (and noises) of this un-spoilt part of the Amazon. The Uakari is partnered with the Mamirauá Institute’s Ecotourism Program, and every cent of its profits are donated to worthwhile projects – half for community development and half to protect the area against poachers.
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