We have just got back from Brazil, the holiday was fantastic and everything we expected and more! The boat was not 5 star luxury but just what you would expect and the food was superb. The guides were very good and knew their stuff. The evening canoe trips were magic, the sounds and smells of the rainforest. I would recommend it to anyone but you have to be fairly fit and not expect hot and cold running water (you shower in chlorinated river water) and luxury.
It is an active holiday in that you do several canoe trips or walks daily and you are up at 5.30 every morning to get the best of the morning wildlife. There was a good mix of people - we English, Canadians, Americans and Australians. We think that we experienced the true Amazon, animals, birds, insects etc were just as they should be and we had to work hard to find them as you would expect - these animals haven't evolved over millions of years to pop out for the tourists (as I did say when someone said they would have liked it if the pink dolphins had danced around the boat)! One piece of advice I would give for women is not to take your expensive underwear as you do have to swill it out in river water, don't bother to take too many clothes - it is far too hot (and informal) to wear anything other than shorts on the boat, and you definitely need long trousers and long sleeved clothes for the walks in the rainforest, I didn't use my hairdryer or wear makeup - it is not the kind of holiday where these things are necessary and a waste of case space. Mosquitoes weren't too troublesome on the Rio Negro, but Malarone still necessary.
I feel that so much of the trip you cannot capture with a camera, just being in the rainforest is an experience in itself - the smells and sounds. The canoe trips are a significant part of the holiday as you have to use them to get on and off the boat. I wouldn't spend too much money on long trousers and shirts as you have to wash them in the shower when you get back from the rainforest walks and they dry on the top deck of the boat, I used the same set each time. You have to shower when you get back for hygiene reasons and also because it is so humid (85%) you sweat profusely. You won't be the height of fashion but neither will anyone else! I would take three pairs of shorts and several T shirts. Good walking trainers or shoes are essential and the crew wash and brush these after each rainforest walk - but on the boat I wore my walking sandals.
The opera house in Manaus is quite interesting but Manaus is a hot, busy and industrial city.
Anyway, thankyou for your help in organising the holiday - trip to remember.