Navigating the Amazon with Fran



Jack's Flight Club ✈️ Travel News & Inspiration

Happy long weekend, JFC-ers!

While many of you are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Easter bunny, going on egg hunts, or waiting for chocolatey reductions in the supermarket next week, people all over the world will be celebrating their own way.

It’s a big weekend for eggs everywhere. The tradition of decorating eggs has travelled far and wide, and then there’s rolling them down hills, tapping them, hanging them from trees–not to mention the historical egg dance.

That’s all before we get as far as eating them, too. From Argentina’s savoury Tarta Pascualina to the cute/terrifying lamb cakes of Germany and Poland, you’d be well-fed on an Easter world tour. But if there’s one place you can be sure you’ll get a good meal, it’s at the Festival of the Giant Omelette in southwest France. You can probably work out what’s for dinner there.

This week also marked the start of week-long Passover celebrations. Jewish families around the world gather for the traditional Seder service, during which they tell stories of the journey to freedom through the medium of food and drink.

That said, there’s still plenty of room for regional variation. In Iran and Afghanistan you may find yourself smacked with spring onions, while Mimouna marks the end of Passover in Morocco with lots of sweet treats, and a live fish in a bowl (don’t worry, it stays that way).

But no matter what or how you’re celebrating, we hope you have an egg-cellent time!

Chag Pesach samech, and Happy Easter,



Trip of the week: Deluxe week in Rhodes from £399pp

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We just can’t get enough of these amazing Greek Island offers! This includes your flights and 7 nights’ accommodation in a 4-star hotel right by the beach. You’ll also be in the heart of the island’s capital, with all the restaurants, bars and charm of Rhodes Old Town right on your doorstep.

Find this trip and more on the Travelzoo Top 20


An Insider’s Guide To Navigating The Amazon

Our intrepid Flight Finder Fran spent six months living in Brazil. During her time there, she learnt that to really see, smell and taste every part of the country (yep, we’ll come back to that smell), she’d have to look beyond cheap flights.

Lucky for us, she put metaphorical pen to paper to share her tips on a proper bucket-list trip: visiting the Amazon. From getting the best price on organised tours to picking the best time to visit and how to avoid the infamous mosquitoes, Fran’s got you covered.

Dig a little deeper when doing your research

When my research only came up with expensive forest lodges and week-long packages worth £1000 (which definitely wasn’t in my budget), I was disheartened. There must be an easier way.

While those steep prices put me off at first, I was determined to figure out how I could travel there on a much more reasonable budget.

By chance, I found out from a friend of a friend that it’s actually possible to navigate around the Amazon instead of flying. Wait, navigate? Were there cruises organised on the Rio Amazonas and Rio Negro?

I had so many questions, but went straight back to my laptop to find out. Two months later, I would find myself on a hammock boat in the middle of the rushing river, surrounded by rainforest.

Let me backtrack a bit. In my research, I discovered that there are only two roads in the Brazilian Amazon, connecting the state from north to south. So, to move around, locals turn the flowing river into a highway instead and travel around on boats.

Amazonian villages and cities are all connected through the Rios, and whether on tiny canoes, or on three-floor hammock boats, it’s possible to arrange your own transport around. Unsurprisingly, I was onboard immediately.

To make this dream happen, I had to DIY the best combination of flights and boat routes for what I wanted to see. And that was kind of a problem…

You see, a lot of the information you’ll need to find isn’t that easy to google. So, you’ll have to work for it. That’s where the concept of ‘digging deeper’ really comes in.

For example, I remember struggling to find the Amazon boat’s timetable online. Lucky for you, I recently discovered this website that I wish I had known about before my trip!

That being said, I still suggest double-checking the schedule at the port once you arrive, rather than just blindly trusting websites. Reading blog posts from people who’d already navigated around the Amazon by ferry was very useful. Most of the ones you can find online are written in Portuguese or Spanish—so you may need some help from Google Translate if you don’t read the language.

Soooo, once I’d locked down my itinerary of taking the hammock boat from Tabatinga down to Manaus (a casual 1200 km), I booked my flights [from Rio] and paid a grand total of £160.

There’s more than one way to travel the Amazon

A hammock boat isn't for everyone. It was the perfect fit for me and what I wanted from my trip to the Amazon, but it’s not the only way you can access the rainforest.

In fact, what you want to see, eat and do are all really important to figure out before you go, and do plan accordingly, because there are so many options.

The tours leaving from Manaus (the typical starting point) are way more structured—and expensive—than tours in remote places. If you do choose to take one of these tours, the company will probably drive you to the rainforest entrance. From there, you’ll explore around the area by foot (during the dry season) or by canoes (during the rainy season).

Here was my thought process behind starting in Tabatinga, rather than Manaus: Tabatinga is a Brazilian city located at the three-border point (where Brazil, Colombia, and Peru meet).


The three-border point is a perfect location for visiting the jungle, due to the amount of local tour agencies and facilities (restaurants, banks, pharmacies) available.

Landing in Tabatinga was the easiest (and cheapest) option for me, coming from Rio de Janeiro. The other way to reach the three-border point is to fly to Bogotá, and from there to Letícia.

Sure, these cities aren’t the easiest places in the world to access, but that’s kind of the point.

Be prepared to haggle with tour companies

There are plenty of different tour options depending on what you want to see. We opted for a 4-day trip with everything included, which ended up costing us 765,000 Colombian pesos (around £150 at the time).

But, when we first entered the agency, the starting price for the tour was around £215. Luckily, a friend of mine (hey, Claus!) had mentioned how much his tour of the Amazon cost him a few years before. So, I knew that—for what the agency was offering us—the starting price of £215 was far too high.

Haggling was quite easy because we were both fluent in Portuguese, but it can become quite tricky if you can’t communicate properly with the agents. That’s where Google Translate comes back in handy!

This tour included one night in a floating house, a night spent inside the forest camping with hammocks, and one last night in a big house within a local community.

The whole trip was actually on the Peruvian side of the border. That’s the cool thing about heading to the three borders point to start your trip—you can easily knock three countries off your list!

Because we’d decided to visit such a remote area of the Amazon in the right season, we were basically getting a private tour. The only other person with us was a solo traveller, and it was such a bonus that we didn’t have to share our guide with a bigger group!

Learn how the seasons will shape your trip

We went in November, which marks the beginning of the rainy season in the Amazon, so our trip was organised with a mix of hiking and navigating on canoes. We were prepared for that going into the trip, but it’s so important to understand how both the rainy, dry (and in-between) seasons may affect your trip.

For example, we loved the experience of canoeing, but they were small and a bit uncomfortable. So, if you’d prefer to move around on foot instead, definitely opt for the dry season (from June until November).

Of course, being on the water meant a lot of our activities included fishing—and afterwards eating what we fished—boat safaris at sunset, jungle flora and fauna exploration, as well as night hiking.

For all of you animal lovers, we saw tons of spiders (tarantulas included), scorpions, snakes, caimans, butterflies and birds, a toucan, some monkeys, and even a baby tapir.

If insects are not your best friends, you may want to skip the night hike in the forest. Although you stroll around the jungle with a torch, you’ll see pleeeeenty of tiny eyes looking at you. Yep, that freaked me out as well, but it also helped me overcome my arachnophobia. Pretty ironic, right?

Another animal that was very present in the rainforest were mosquitoes. Countless mosquitoes. Which takes me onto my next point…

Know your backpack

Please, don’t go to the Amazon with a suitcase. Pack light and take just what you need… don’t worry too much about packing several changes of clothes, you’re gonna smell after 5 minutes, anyway!

Whichever season you’ll travel to the Amazon, you will encounter rain and humidity. And that calls for a very specific outfit: light-coloured, full-coverage, and oversized clothes.

Let me explain. Mosquitos are attracted to dark colours, especially black and dark grey/blue. However, ‘forest’ colours (army green, browns) also work to camouflage within the forest and escape those tiny beasts.

In terms of clothes length, when you’re in the forest (and not inside a lodge/house), you should stick to long sleeved shirts and trousers.

My friend Phil learned that the hard way when his arms were covered in bites because of his Hawaiian shirt!

Amazonian mosquitos resist well to most repellents, and will bite you even through your clothes.

To protect myself (as much as I could), I used this repellent (you can only find it in South America, I believe) and it worked pretty well—if I sprayed it on every hour or so! I also bought this Decathlon hat, which saved my face from a thousand bites (no, I’m not even exaggerating). Very much worth the price.

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Around The States In 50 Editions: Delaware

Each week in 2023, we’ll be going on a whirlwind tour of a different randomly selected US state. This week, we’re heading to Delaware.

Dela-where? Oh, just President Joe Biden’s home state, no big deal. Let’s start off our Delaware tour with a game of "Where would Joe go?"

First up, it’s got to be the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station in Wilmington. A long-time fan of travelling by train to D.C., Amtrak slapped his name on the sign in 2011. The Biden Welcome Center off the i-95 in northern Delaware is even more popular, though, dealing in one of the state’s most alluring features—tax-free shopping.

For lunch à la Biden, you’ll want to stop by Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop in Wilmington’s Little Italy. He made his love for their subs known back in 2013 when they opened their first shop near the White House, and sales only increased once he became president. Just make sure you don’t forget the hot peppers.

The President likes to get out of the big city too, sometimes heading to his beach house in Rehoboth. Aside from his favourite Ice Cream Store, the beach is known for 30 miles of coastline primed for water sports and hiking trails. Hitting the boardwalk during summer is a rite of passage, only completed once you’ve hopped on a ride at Funland and sampled the famous funnel cakes.

The seaside town calms down at the end of the season—that is, until the annual Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival takes over. We can’t think of much better than smooth beats with an ocean backdrop. Except maybe taking a bike ride out to Herring Point for views over the Atlantic, and ending up with a presidential selfie.


Benidorm Mini-Break – 4 nights at £179pp

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A cheeky Spanish getaway can come in handy at any time. This offer has you covered, with availability ranging from this month to next year. Plus, you won’t have to worry about meals, with a buffet breakfast and dinner included, alongside your flights and accommodation.

Check out the Travelzoo Top 20 for more


Pick Of The Clicks

All the important (or silly, or strange) travel news from across the web this week.

Another day, another two Spanish towns willing to pay you to move there.

Ponga is a town in the mountainous Asturias region, where you'll get £2,600 per person–so long as you commit to staying 5 years. Galician Rubiá, on the other hand, will pay you £1,600 for each year you stay. Tempting!

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, so one South African pilot stuck to a classic this week–snake on a plane. The deadly Cape Cobra made a surprise appearance at 11,000 ft, at which point the pilot decided enough was enough, and he had had it with the… snake on the… plane.

The novelty is yet to wear off, as passengers begin to breeze through security with liquids of all shapes and sizes. One Telegraph writer packed his tinned sardines, Malbec and snow globe to test the new system.

Spoiler alert: large volumes of weird liquids will still raise suspicion.

And finally, stupidly cheap European flights win again, as TikToker Callum Ryan manages to fly to Ibiza and have a pint for less than the price of a crate of Estralla Damm in his local supermarket.

We wonder if he bumped into this group of mums, who jetted off on a cheap day trip to the very same Spanish island?