Hot steamy jungles thick with lush tropical plants and vines. . .
Piranhas – fish that like to eat meat – human, or otherwise. . .
Anacondas - snakes so large that they can eat goats. . .
Villages along a river bank, so small there is no organized tourism. . .
Now that’s a 180-degrees from the traditional Christmas tree and traditions, don’t you think?
You recall that last week I told you we were leaving holiday traditions behind this year and setting out to stretch our travel lifestyle. Well, this is where we are going to do just that. . .
|Tropical plants - South Pacific|
We will be traveling up the Amazon River!
Slicing through Brazil we will be stopping at small villages on our way to Manaus, a thriving metropolis of 1.2 million people (complete with airport), overnight there, and start our journey back down the Amazon.
I know you are probably shaking your heads. . .your vision of us a la Bogart and Hepburn, clad in khaki-colored safari suits, my wide brimmed hat wrapped with mosquito netting, The Scout paddling our dugout canoe. . .(you can quit laughing now). . .
Hate to shoot that adventuresome image of us, but we will be traveling on a cruise ship – an ocean going vessel, as a matter of fact. And we’ll be surrounded by top of the line luxury:
We’ll be traveling on Oceania’s Insignia, a ship that accommodates some 672 passengers and 400 staff. Small, by cruise ship sizes, but definitely top of the line luxury by cruise industry standards.
I should probably mention that in addition to the Amazon River, we’ll also be hitting our fair share of Caribbean islands – and that we’ll depart from and return to Miami, Florida with an itinerary that takes us to:
It is a VERY different trip for us, in many ways. . .we are sailing on a cruise line we’ve never tried before and the cruise at 24-days is the longest we’ve ever taken. We are going to an area that we'd pretty much never talked about before - if ever!
A huge difference will be that this cruise has no requirements for formal attire! We will leave the suits, and little black dresses and related shoes at home!! Aloha shirts will be The Scout’s formal wear and I shall make do with a couple of glittery tops – to wear with those Chico’s Zenergy pants, that I call my travel uniform.
We’ve also had to demonstrate a leap of faith – as we had to ship our passports off, along with a variety of documents including financial information, to a company that works with the Brazilian consulate in obtaining entry visas for U.S. citizens. (We didn't have to do that with the passports when trying to buy a house in Greece!)
I am happy to report, the passports were delivered to our front door by the postman a couple of weeks ago, complete with Brazilian visas attached. . .whew!
[Note: Visas are required for entry into Brazil for American citizens – and they are not inexpensive. Documents are required, including bank account statements. Depending on the company you use, it could range from $200 – $400 per visa. (luckily, the travel agent we used paid for the cost of our visas, as one of the many benefits we got by booking with them). Some of you may have obtained your own but when you live in the Pacific Northwest, the nearest Brazilian consulate choices are in Atlanta and California – airfare to either would have made the ‘do it yourself’ option even more expensive.]
There’s a lot to study before we set out! We’ve loaded up on travel guides, novels and true stories about the Caribbean, Brazil and the Amazon. So far it sounds as though I may often be quoting, Dorothy when she landed in Oz and said to Toto: “We are not in Kansas any more!”
Booking the cruise: I’ll spare the details of booking the cruise other than to say The Scout nailed a great deal by booking through our tried-and-true cruise travel agency, Crucon.com based in New Hampshire. While their lowest prices were comparable to that offered by others, their on-board credits and benefits far exceeded any others and included prepaid tips/gratuities ($720 value), a huge credit to on-board spending ($1,800), FREE unlimited internet ($525), and the cost of the Brazilian visas ($400)! Note: The deal was available to anyone – we don’t get discounts because of the blog or my freelance writing.That’s it for now. Happy Travels to you. If you’ve been to any of the places on the map above, we’d appreciate any recommendations or suggestions. We are linking up this week with our friends at:
Travel Photo Thursday – Budget Traveler’s Sandbox
Travel Inspiration – Reflections En Route
Travel Photo Monday – Travel Photo Discovery
Mosaic Monday – Lavender Cottage Gardening