At a Glance
Set as far into the Amazon Rainforest as any non-expeditionary traveler could ever hope to reach, Anavilhanas Lodge melds into its surroundings without sacrificing luxury.
- The hammock banks spread around the property for easy immersion into the sounds of the rainforest
- The acidic water of the Rio Negro which make the area mosquito-free
- The variety of rainforest activities, making you feel like a true explorer
There’s an allure in the inaccessible. It drives people to climb mountains, to seek out the deep ocean and to forge through ice to the poles. The deep rainforest is typically included in such regard: the actual, original Heart of Darkness. But Anavilhanas Lodge makes the inaccessible accessible, providing a safari-like foray into the Amazon without the uncomfortable trappings of an expedition.
The lodge is located three hours outside of Manaus, deep along the Amazon’s largest tributary, the Rio Grande. Anavilhanas is famous for being the largest river archipelago in the world, with hundreds of islands across its 13-mile-wide stretch.
The lodge itself is like something out of the Swiss Family Robinson—made of bamboo and local wood, nestled into the trees just high enough to stay above the waterline in the high-water season. The 23 cabins stretch out in a line along the banks, though the changing water levels push them further back, blocking views of the river. For that, guests must visit either the gorgeous infinity pool or—for the more adventurous swimmers—the floating dock in the pitch-black water of the Rio Negro itself, where you can’t see anything more than a foot below the surface.
The water color comes from the tannins in the vegetation that essentially turn the whole river the color of tea. It also affects the pH levels, and that comes with its own benefits: the acidic water doesn’t allow mosquitoes to breed, thus keeping the entire lodge free of biting insects (though there are, of course, snakes, frogs, and other wildlife to keep you company, this is the Amazon, afterall).
The true draw of the lodge, though, is exploring the surrounding wild nature. The guides employed there have decades of experience living in the rainforest, and many having spent time with uncontacted tribes, obtaining local knowledge of the fauna and flora invisible to the untrained eye. Guides lead you on walking tours through the jungle and boating tours through the river. During high water season, when the Amazon breaks its banks and floods the surrounding forest, these boat trips become ethereal nightly journeys, floating silently across the mirrored surface, unclear where the canopy ends and the water begins.
Being this remote doesn’t come easy, though. Anavilhanas is as far away from the other draws of the country—Rio, Bahia, São Paulo—as one can get, and with that the conveniences of the big cities. But for the intrepid traveler who wants more from their trip than beaches and samba, it’s well worth the journey.
Who Should Stay
Anavilhanas is perfect for couples and families with older children who are looking to sacrifice a modicum—just a modicum, mind you—of comfort for the adventurous experience that comes with the deep jungle.
Written by Colin Heinrich