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“Even if you are the most confident person or the strongest athelete here, it doesnt exactly mean that you're going to be the best leader.”
-Mac C. G.
The backpacking section during the semester will take you to the remote Brazilian Highlands on the southern rim of the Amazon Basin.
The little-explored area is where you will be challenged to navigate through tricky terrain navigation and at the same time rewarded with amazing vistas, excellent swimming holes, and giant waterfalls. On backpacking sections, opportunities for small group travel and independent student expeditions are possible.
Descending a major tributary of the Amazon River by canoe. This is where you will experience the classic style of Amazon Basin river travel as you hone your paddling skills by negotiating rapids with considerable whitewater one day and paddling long stretches of still water the next.
You will also learn both tropical and river risk management to fully appreciate the Amazon, so don't be turned off by the rumors of bugs. There are cultural experiences along the way with chances to visit remote subsistence communities and meet people who make a living along the river. Lastly, you will experience the wonder and challenge of tree ascension which will provide you with an unparalleled view and understanding of the rainforest canopy.
The Amazon Basin's biodiversity is matched only by the cultural diversity of its inhabitants. Locals live off the land and use the rivers as their main avenue of transport.
During your semester you will spend time with caboclos, seringueiros, and other inhabitants of the Amazon backcountry in their communities as you travel by foot, canoe, voadeira (a small dugout canoe with an outboard), and riverboat. During the cultural section you will stay with local families in isolated riverside communities and contribute to community projects.
“The experience of being with the same 15 people 24/7 for three months is a journey in and of itself, I walked away with 15 new friends. We spent hours under our tarps listen to the sound of rain while conversing and laughing and being silly. When you can exchange a glance with someone and burst out laughing, you know you've made a deep connection.”
Adventure and challenge in the world's largest, wildest, rainforest and river basin. The Amazon has unparalleled ecological diversity, being home to one of every 10 known species in the world. A few of the animals seen on NOLS Amazon courses include pink river dolphins, tapirs, giant caiman, peacock bass, toucans and macaws, spider monkeys, and electric eels. NOLS Amazon courses are remote as well as physically and mentally challenging, which demands commitment and hard work combined with a keen sense of curiosity and wonder.
NOLS Amazon is located in the state of Mato Grosso in south-central Brazil and situated in the transition zone between the two largest biomes of the country—the dry forest and savannah of the southern uplands known as the Cerrado and the moist lowland forests of the Amazon Basin. NOLS Amazon's location puts us in an optimal position to access some of largest tributaries of the Amazon River and pristine hiking in the Cerrado region.
Because of the remarkable biodiversity, natural history interpretation is a key element of all Amazon courses. Of importance, the conditions that allow life to thrive in the Amazon are the same conditions that make this course one of the most mentally and physically challenging. Your skilled instructors will teach you how to interpret natural history and live comfortably with heat, humidity, and insects. You'll find yourself slinging your hammock underneath some of the largest trees on the planet and amazed by some of the most remarkable creatures on earth.
In addition to the amazing biodiversity, Brazil also has incredible cultural diversity. The Amazon region is typically regarded as the world's last frontier. Its inhabitants have a fascinating way of life that we are privileged to share. We are pleased to collaborate with land management agencies in Brazil as a pioneer in outdoor education in this region.
Come join an expedition of a lifetime and truly understand why the Amazon has had the allure of adventure for centuries.