The Rio Negro is the largest northern tributary of the Amazon River and the largest blackwater river in the world. Its source is in Colombia and it flows mostly southeast until it empties into the Rio Solimoes at Manaus, Brazil, where the combined rivers become the Amazon River. Although the name means “Black River”, the water is not black but is more the color of thinned Coca-Cola; the distinctive color comes from the tannins during the decay of plant material. The Rio Negro is rich in fish species, with over 700 documented; among them is the popular aquarium fish, the Cardinal Tetra. During the wet season, April to October, the river floods up to 30 miles/48 km wide up to 400 miles/650 km upstream from Manaus, necessitating adaptations by the inhabitants of the river’s banks.
In January, 2013, I cruised the Rio Negro for four days on the M/V Amazon Clipper with only nine other passengers. We sailed upstream from Manaus into the nearby Anavilhanas Archipelago, a protected area of hundreds of small islands and narrow channels surrounded by jungle. We stopped for jungle walks, visits to riverside settlements, and a dip in the river’s waters. We ate fish from the river and fruits from the jungle and relaxed on the sundeck or in the air-conditioned cabins. It was a pleasant way to spend a few days before boarding the Quest for Adventure cruise from Manaus across the Atlantic to Ghana, Africa.
WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Central Amazon Conservation Complex
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