Monday, July 18, 2011

Roughing it easy at Amazon Jungle Palace

You are 25 km north of Manaus, deep in the Amazon jungle. Just 3° south of the equator, it’s hot out here. Hiking through the forest, you can work up a real thirst. 

Head any direction and you'll find endless jungle forest, ready to explore.

As your wooden boat takes you back to “camp,” the sun beats down and you apply sunscreen for the second time today. You arrive back at the dock, and pull yourself and your camera from the skiff.

Unlike the old days however, when your return meant a cold shower and a hot cot in a tent, since you made the smart selection, today you take the elevator to your room where all the modern amenities await. This is the Amazon Jungle Palace, a magical floating collection of buildings deep in the jungle of Amazonas, Brazil.  

You'll arrive at Amazon Jungle Palace on a luxury yacht like the one to the left, unless you decide to fly in.

Less than two hours from the big-city life of Manaus, in the northwestern corner of Brazil, the Amazon Jungle Palace is a way to enjoy the primitive jungle, for a day, for a weekend or for an extended period. With all the typical “jungle activities” to enjoy, you can keep yourself entertained either “out-in-the-wild” or just stay onboard this floating entertainment center.

If you seek adventure, there are boating expeditions to watch the sunrise over the Rio Negro or evening rides after dark in search of alligators. Hikes into the jungle can be arranged to suit your taste from short to extended. Want jungle survival training, that’s available as well. Expert jungle guides can turn a leisurely walk into a jungle education. For a milder adventure, jump into a paddle boat and explore the flooded forest in search of exotic birds.

Amazon River Palace is composed of multiple floating platforms linked together.

If you just want a jungle backdrop, but prefer to continuously enjoy the creature comforts of a five-star hotel, you need not leave once you arrive at the “Palace.” Offering 65 rooms from Superior to Imperial sizes, there’s a room size for everyone. Two separate buildings offer sleeping accommodations while two more floating buildings offer dining facilities, play areas, a work-out facility and a giant convention center which can handle 500 people comfortably. Yet another floating platform holds an enormous swimming pool with poolside dining.

When it comes time to eat, you are in for another pleasant surprise – gourmet foods, fine wines and an attentive wait staff. Each buffet spread included at least three or four main entrees, many of which were locally caught seafood. From salads to fruits, and from beef to pasta to fish, each dish was more tempting than the one before. Luckily with buffet style dining, you can try a taste of everything. Don’t miss some of the local grains which make a wonderful accompaniment to the various entrees.

All the rooms are beautifully appointed, but some like this give you extra elbow room.

While exploring the jungle is on a lot of “bucket lists,” people are often reluctant to venture away from their beloved Internet. One of the major vacation pastimes of 21st century travelers is keeping in touch via Facebook or other social media outlets. The one necessity to accomplish that however, is an Internet connection. But drat, most Internet providers don’t have many customers in the jungle, so you are usually up a proverbial creek without a signal. Not at the Amazon Jungle Palace however. You still have access to the Internet, not just dial-up speed; but, legitimate, hi-speed service via satellite. It’s free with the room, so keep in touch however often you like.

Out here in the wilderness, luckily the Amazon Jungle Palace is quite concerned about preserving the environment. They maintain their own waste water treatment plant, they use low-impact marine type generators and they send laundry back to the mainland to prevent excess water usage. They even maintain a certified contingency plan to deal with the loss of any oils.

Go ahead – enjoy all the wonders of the jungle and still feel good about not disturbing the environment; the Amazon Jungle Palace seems to have it all covered. Watch the following slide show for even more images. Click the lower right corner to watch full-screen.

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