THE RIO ROOSEVELT: COMFORT IN THE WILDEST AMAZON
There is little doubt that the Pousada Rio Roosevelt is the most remote of a handful of excellent lodges in the southern Brazilian Amazon. Reached only by air, the lodge is situated in a privileged location surrounded by virgin rainforest, an endless green carpet we see from above on the inbound flight. Touching down, we are greeted by the lodge's friendly and attentive staff, for whom nothing is too much to ask. We have arrived in Paradise, and each day the dizzying biodiversity of the southern Amazon reminds us of this. The private veranda of each cabin looks out onto a white sand beach, at the edge of which flows the famed Rio Roosevelt, its waters still foamy and broiling after crashing over impressive rapids just upstream from the lodge. Pristine Amazon rainforest stretches away from the river in all directions farther than the eye can see, beyond even the limits of imagination. This idyllic setting is a naturalist’s paradise. While the tranquility of the place is such that you could easily spend the week on your private front porch, or in the air-conditioned restaurant/lounge reading a book, we’ll spend most of our time investing hard work in the field to reap some of the greatest avian rewards in all of South America...
Our tour spends seven full days at this remote lodge, where we will bird a vast trail system in various types of Amazonian forests along the Roosevelt and Madeirinha rivers. We will also bird by boat, scanning the riverbanks for the abundant and in many cases, tame, wildlife which abounds in this special place. Always important biological indicators, the large-bodied birds and mammals of the Rio Roosevelt have never been hunted, and thus shy species such as Razor-billed Curassows and Woolly Monkeys are common and confiding here. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Each day on these rivers brings new spectacles, be it the awkward antics of the prehistoric Hoatzin, the brilliant splashes of green on gray of a flock of parakeets eating algae from exposed rocks in the thundering rapids, or the opportunistic activity of obligate antbirds following swarming army ants. As an eminent Brazilian biologist remarked in the lodge guestbook, “finally I have arrived at a place without feeling that I have come too late.” Treading on the banks of the Rio Roosevelt, one cannot help but feel the wildness of the place. Any yet there is nothing wild about the lodge itself: the spacious cabins are sensibly equipped with hot water showers, air-conditioning, and a bar fridge stocked with copious amounts of water, soft drinks and ice cold beer. After a long day in the forest and on the beautiful rivers, relaxing at the Pousada Rio Roosevelt in the evenings, one cannot help but feel that yes, ‘this is the way to travel’.
Duration: 8 days Difficulty: Fairly easy
Tour summary: A single site tour visiting a comfortable lodge in a remote, truly unspoiled corner of the Amazon. Simply arrive, unpack your bags, and get ready for a full week exploring the 'River of Doubt'.
When: Any time, dry (June to October) or wet season (December to April).
Starting point: Porto Velho, capital of Rondônia state. Daily flights Manaus, Cuiabá, Brasilia, and connections from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.