Given that I specialize in family travel, my children are presented with a plethora of opportunities to see the world — it is my job, after all, to find amazing places to share with family travel planning clients. It’s not often that we get presented with an opportunity to go off our usual track and do something extraordinarily different … not just different, but life perspective-changing.
This past summer, my daughter and I visited Brazil with Our Whole Village, a tourism company committed to traveling with purpose. This trip offered us the chance to experience the country’s rich and exotic interior, sailing down the Rio Negro through the Amazon Rainforest and giving back to the local community all the while.
Katerre, the organization that supports the needs of the communities in the area, hosted us on their riverboat, the Jacare-Acu. It proved to be a rustic yet comfortable floating home.
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The Jacare-Acu has the capacity for 16 guests, with a total of eight cabins (four with twin bunk beds, four with double beds). Each is equipped with air conditioning and a private bathroom with a river water-sourced shower. The small size means this is a remarkable opportunity for a large family or group of friends to charter the Jacare-Acu for the adventure of a lifetime; otherwise, you can pay per person and join in on one of their planned sailing dates. Our Family Travel Advisor team can help you book either way.
The incredibly gracious staff are all from the area, and every delicious meal they prepare is locally sourced. Most meals are served onboard the boat, with a few exceptions for visiting local restaurants during stops. The cuisine is authentically Brazilian, prepared by women from area villages; almost all of our meals included fish caught in the river nearby.
We all have those moments during family holidays that leave us in awe, whether it be a connection with our children, an interaction with the locals or even a particular food. This trip was an entire week of those moments! Day by day, hour by hour, we were presented with moments that I wish I could have held onto forever.
Whether it was our daily swims in the river, the interactions we had with local communities, the exotic animal encounters (sloths, monkeys, birds, caimans, pink dolphins and more), hiking through the rainforest, or the quiet moments we had just sharing time with each other, this was easily the most memorable trip we have ever experienced.
Our adventurous week came to a wonderful close at the luxurious Mirante do Gaviao Amazon Lodge, a paradise tucked into the dense forest. It was the perfect way to ease us back into our normal lives before heading home. While we absolutely loved our more rustic time on the boat, the pampering we received at the resort was most welcome.
We were immediately taken by the stunning architecture, created with certified sustainable wood from the Amazon. The resort’s suites are incredibly spacious and comfortable with gorgeous terraces looking out over the river. The kids really enjoyed swimming together in the pool with the added touch of iguanas in the trees and the toucans flying overhead. Rich regional flavors make the onsite restaurant a gastronomic delight. Admittedly, though, the most welcome amenity was the in-room massage prior to our final departure!
Editor’s Note: Laurel received a media package to review Our Whole Village for families. As always, all opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Laurel Perry.
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