Karim Abu Bakr
Ladies and gentlemen, we are excited to announce that the 2023 version of the Rubber Path cruise in Santarém, Brazil, is a go and we have the dates. September 12-19. It is a 8-day experience in the Brazilian Amazon like no other! We did our inaugural trip in May-June 2022 showing our guests the high water season in the Amazon. This year we’ll show you the same place with the rivers at 40 feet below that level! White sandy beaches of the Tapajos River will get uncovered, canoe rides will turn into hiking trails and most of all – the river will be ready for the challenge locals threw to our fishing team – spears versus fishing rods. I’ll have to explain.
The Rubber Path Cruise takes you back to locations related to the Rubber Boom era in the Amazon. While Manaus, the capital of the biggest state of Brazil – Amazonas – took all the fame as the main port of exportation of Brazilian Rubber, it was in Santarém, a tiny town in the heart of Brazilian Amazon, that the events that changed the course of the history of the world happened. While we’ll tell you the story during the trip, here’s what you need to know about what we put together:
Taperinha Farm and Riker Ranch. Both are located in the middle of Maicá floodplain, once a Bucket List destination for the world’s greatest naturalists. A fantastic place for wildlife observation, a mysterious archaeological site and the first of 4 different eco-systems you’ll see on this trip. It is also a place that feeds a big part of Santarém, rich in freshwater shrimp and fish of 20+ species. You’re up against cast net fishermen, you’ll fish with the famous Riker family and the descendants of one of the greatest European scientists in the Amazon.
Meeting of the waters, Igarapé-Açu and Canal do Jari. The transition from the muddy waters of the Amazon to clear water of the Tapajos begins right in front of Santarem. Igarapé-Açú and Canal do Jari are part of the maze of channels that throw waters of the Amazon into the clash with the Tapajos River, the Amazon River’s 4th largest tributary (1200 miles long and up to 35 miles wide). That forms a unique eco-system for the migration of fish, river dolphins and caimans, while fauna is thriving – parakeets, monkeys, sloths, toucans, hoatzins – you name it. Those are also fantastic places to see giant water Lily pads (Victoria Regia) and even taste them! On canal do Jari we’re also received by a local family, get to do a light, short but fruitful hike, spotting lots of wildlife and seeing the biggest trees of the floodplains – the Paradise nut trees and Strangler figs.
Tapajos National Forest. One of the largest forest preserves in the world protected since 1973, was once home to prehistoric civilizations, indigenous villages, and rubber tappers. Most of the settlements on the Tapajos River are in this area that today humbles any nature experience in the world. Over 150 miles of white sandy beaches, crystal-clear creeks, thousand-year-old trees, and a diversity of cultures are spread here. September is the month when the sandbars show their best shapes, lagoons become clear and rubber tappers make their handicraft. You’ll see the extraction of latex, a fire ritual by Munduruku people and yes, will be able to go fly fishing, spare fishing, diving, and fishing with bows and arrows. Munduruku is an ethnic group with fascinating history, culture, and great challenges in modern world. Meeting them is a privilege and will give you a great perspective of the Amazon. Fishing in the lagoons is great, doing it as a contest versus locals is simply cool.
Fordlandia and Belterra. Henry Ford built 2 towns in the Amazon. Their remains are not just a place we visit, but also the best way to learn about the rubber tree, cocoa, and gold rush in the Amazon. The great difference from our trip in May is that we are only visiting Belterra – navigation time to and from Fordlandia in low water season doesn’t allow us to prioritize white sandy beaches, hiking trails and full experience of the Tapajos National Forest.
Alter do Chão, Carapanari, Aramanai and other beach villages of the Tapajos River. Alter do Chão is a landmark that attracts tons of tourists today, but it is still an authentic village of fishermen. Lago Verde, an inlet separated from the Tapajos River by the most postcard-looking beach in Brazil is where in 2022 a sport fisherman from Santarém, Felipe Machado, caught a record 75 cm (29.5 inches, 18,5 lbs) Pinima Peacock bass. Carimbó dancing, beach parties, beautiful hikes, astonishing gastronomic experience, wildlife observation and fishing with locals is what we’re looking for here.
It is an authentic Amazonian experience. Being in the largest river basin in the world means local culture is built around fishing. It is probably the best way to see local culture in action, learn about people and the environment. The fishing part of the trip is more of an additional activity to an already jam packed trip, but it is also a great way to make locals show us around. Every stop our boat makes will show you different ways of fishing: spares, cast nets, canes, bows, and arrows. The scenery is jaw-dropping and locals will teach you everything they know about the place, so, you’ll have your best shot at catching a fish on a rod. The main idea is you get to have the closest contact with local culture ever offered on a trip to the Amazon.
There’s a direct 5-hour long flight from Miami and Fort Lauderdale to Manaus. Then there’s a 1h15 flight to Santarém. It is a very easy trip. If you’re coming from the Wast Coast there’s a flight from San Francisco to Manaus with a layover in Panama City.
This is an all-inclusive trip, meaning we take care of everything from the moment you land in Santarem to the moment you get back to Santarem airport: transfers from and to the local airport, lodging on the boat, all the meals and drinks, village guides, shore excursions, bilingual guide on the boat. Your only expenses would be gratuities to the boat crew and local guides and handicrafts, other than airfare to and from Santarem.
Santarem and Tapajos region is a little tropical paradise. Tapajos River has a high acidity meaning there’s virtually zero presence of mosquitoes or other insects. Our stops in floodplains will be on muddy waters of the Amazon, there might be light bugs which are totally inoffensive. You’ll be using a lot more sunscreen rather than bug spray on this trip.
Lightweight clothing, preferably quick-dry, hiking shoes/sneakers (all the hikes are dry and easy), fishing gear if you’re fishing, and cash.
We encourage families and couples to come on this trip. It is safe, comfortable, and very romantic, we have a great staff and tons of activities for kids. The boat has 6 cabins with king-sized beds, A/C, and panoramic windows, and each one has a big bathroom. There’s a family cabin with a king-sized bed, a double bed, and a bunk bed, it fits a family with 2-3 kids. We also have special discounts for couples and families.
This year we’re doing this trip for the first time, and it goes for a special rate.
Single occupancy – U$4890
Double Occupancy – U$8890
Family cabin – U$11490 (couple with up to 3 kids under 14 years old)
Bookings happen through Bucket List Fly Fishing, to confirm your reservation we need your full name, passport info and a 50% deposit. The balance is due 60 days before the trip.
Join us for an exciting free get-together on zoom. We are going to discuss our upcoming seasons and events and recap some events and outings we have just finished. The highlight of the night will be our January 2023 season at our centerpiece fishing location in the Amazon jungle.
This August we are finally getting another opportunity to have our Care&Share program put to work. This will be our best chance since the outbreak of COVID to have the opportunity to visit several indigenous villages in the heart of the Amazon Jungle.
Terra Preta is a remote village on Xeruini River, state of Roraima, Brazil.