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Opt out or contact us anytime That is important because the sheer abundance of wildlife on view can be staggering, especially as one gets farther away from Manaus. I have never seen as many birds, for example, as I did two years ago at the Pousada Uacari, which is inside the Mamiraua nature reserve, kilometers, or miles, west of Manaus at the confluence of the Solimoes and Japura rivers.
Startled by the sound of our motorboat, huge flocks of snowy egrets, herons, cormorants, kites, tinamous, bitterns, ospreys and curassows took to the air as we navigated an igarape, or narrow tributary. Like several of the new lodges in the region, the Pousada Uacari is not on land, but sits on floating rafts at a bend in the river.
Here guests can view wildlife in remarkable proximity. After dark, for instance, I could see caimans, some as large as two and a half meters, their eyes glowing like orange lanterns; some came startlingly close, banging against the dock and making querulous grunts, a symphony that continued through the night. There is even a lodge that is literally up in the trees. The Ariau Amazon Towers, opened in and recently expanded and modernized, is a two-hour boat ride northwest of Manaus.
Advertisement Continue reading the main story One of the oldest and by far the largest of the jungle lodges, it has been visited by celebrities like Bill Gates and the king and queen of Spain.
All rooms are up in the jungle canopy, as much as 18 meters, or 60 feet, above the river, and connected to one another and the dining hall and common areas via aerial walkways. Only one lodge that I know of can claim to be on the Amazon River itself. The Amazon Riverside Hotel makes the most of that distinction, offering excursions to see the sun rise from a century-old British-built navigation beacon in the middle of the river; it also has a nature trail that leads to a hilltop observation post with a commanding view of both the jungle and the river, and has arranged hammocks at the dock for any guests who are keen on doing nothing but watching the river flow.