Travel 6: Anavilhanas National Park + Lodge, Brazil

Dry season on the Rio Negro, Anavilhanas National Park

After leaving the ship in Manaus, my friend Thess and I journeyed 3 hours into the rainforest for 3 days at the fabulous Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge. It was the PERFECT way to end a month-long trip which began in Bergen, Norway. After 3 solid weeks of long shoot days and editing slideshows, I was ready to experience the Amazon without constantly thinking about composition, lighting and exposure. I lightened the load drastically, only using a 50mm lens or my iPhone (I was in the Amazon after all – I couldn’t quit photography completely), and enjoyed the sights and sounds along the Rio Negro, a major tributary to the Amazon. One of the beauties of the Rio Negro is the acidity level during the dry season is such that mosquitos can’t breed there – I’ll say that again, I spent 3 days in the jungle and did not see a single mosquito. Giant furry spiders, snakes and other bugs – yes, mosquitos – NO. Guess those malaria meds weren’t necessary… (NOTE: I still took them because my doctor said so…OK, Mom?)

The Lodge was rustic chic (is that a thing?) and our guides were amazing. They had grown up in the jungle and could spot animals well before we were even close, even at night. They also had a very sarcastic sense of humor which I enjoyed. Even though my fear of snakes is embarrassingly intense, I donned my snake gators and headed out for a nighttime hike. We saw the BIGGEST spider I’ve ever seen, “smelled” the howler monkeys sleeping in the trees above us and stood quietly, flashlights off, listening to the sounds of night (only part of the time I was thinking about something slithering up my pant leg).

Great local food, delicious cocktails and an infinity pool took the lodge over the top. If you have an opportunity to visit the Anavilhanas National Park, do it. My husband is insisting on going together and I’m all for it.

Bonus images from the trusty old iPhone…because maybe you didn’t believe me about the snake gators or the furry spider:

Thanks to Thess for sharing this wonderful place with me and making this mini-adventure possible! Cheers!

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