Exploring the Mysteries of the Heliconia Reserve in Brazil
by Ahuvia Nevo
One of the cabins
The Heliconia Reserve is located inside the protected upper Amazon on the frontier of Brazil and Colombia, and it is an ancient forest protected by the tribal reserves surrounding it.
Here you will visit the local communities where you can still experience the world of “hunter-gatherers” who continue to lead the simple life you read about in your history books.
You will see the authentic communities as well as the popular communities known to most tourists, and this land is absolutely gorgeous. The beauty here must be seen to be believed.
One of the must-do activities is hiking in the jungle where you will walk among some of the largest trees in the world. You will also hear exotic birds calling to each other.
At last count there were 460 species of birds in 59 families, and there are some truly colorful specimens for you to see, so make sure you bring your camera.
For more adventurous folks there is canopying or scaling one of the jungle giants to see the birds up close, or take a local canoe out on the lakes.
Later, go with one of our guides and see the caymans who patrol the lakes after dark. One of our favorites is when the guide lets you touch one of the little ones.
For those who don’t like the active experiences (those who are tired of the hustle and bustle of life outside the Amazon) we have comfortable cabins where you can relax and enjoy being in a beautiful natural setting.
Who says you have to do activities every day? The restaurant is only a short walk from the cabins, and there are many relaxing things to do. My favorite is sitting beside, or swimming in, the river that most books call the "inland sea."
Or how about trying your hand at fishing? 50 species of fish live in our local lakes including the world famous peacock bass.
For those who ask why we permit fishing, it is part of our determination to provide as little carbon footprint as possible.
To protect the local ecosystem Brazil does not permit large ranches or farms here, so beef, chicken, etc. have to be shipped in. By fishing in our lakes, which are monitored to prevent overfishing, we can cut our effect on the rest of this great jungle.
For U.S. visitors, the Brazilian visa is fairly simple, and Brazilian embassies are located throughout the U.S. But please remember that the visa requires you to enter Brazil in 90 days, so to avoid extra cost and time make sure you plan to get your visa one to two months ahead of time.
Ahuvia Nevo owns and operates Heliconia Nature Reserve located in Brazil’s Amazon jungle. He specializes in ecotourism, excursions and vacations based in the Amazon. Some of the popular activities he offers include rainforest bird watching, dolphin watching, fishing and shopping for crafts that are in complete harmony with the natural surroundings.
For more information about incredible experiences in the Amazon, or to connect with this adventure travel mentor, please visit his Web site at amazonheliconia.com