Jungle Hostel Barcelos

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  1. John French

    I will remember October of 2011 for the rest of my life. My friend and I stayed at the Hostel Barcelos twice during the month, as we explored the Rio Negro. The river flows through the forgotten part of Amazona, with enormous archipelagos, hidden Indian communities, and virtually no roads outside the town limits. Everything goes by boat, from the hundreds of crates, each loaded with hundreds of live baby ornamental fish heading for the world markets, to natives riding on multicolored hammocks strung across the boat’s decks. Need gas for your motorcycle? It comes by boat.

    The three day trip downriver to a local indigenous community with our guide, Francesc, was a treat. Fishing with a local native and cooking the fish over an open fire in the jungle was a once in lifetime experience. We met and lived with local Indians and learning their customs, and had the experience of seeing how farinha, the local staple, was cooked in what looked like enormous paella pots, over a huge wood fire in a home made clay oven.

    The hostel itself is a work in progress, but very close to completion, and quite comfortable. Gerry, the owner, is the friendliest and most efficient hostelier I have ever encountered. Have a special need? Watch Gerry jump on his bike for a quick trip to the nearest specialty store. Want information on where to go or what to do? Ask Gerry. I left Barcelos knowing that not only had I had a unique experience, but that I had made new friends.

  2. Michiel Remmelink

    Waking up early in the morning in the harbour of Barcelos on the riverboat that took me from Manaus gave me a view unexpected in the depth of the Amazonian jungle. The old buildings ashore and the numerous boats give a bit of a caribbean feel, intensified with the celebrations that were there during my visit.
    Staying for a couple of weeks in Barcelos and surrounding places along the river, I had an excellent time trying to catch one of the many types of fish that can grow to real monsters here in this enormous river. The dark water, clean enough to drink, hides mysteries, I´m sure of that.

    The hostel in Barcelos is conveniently located near the airport and when I arrived the interior of the hostel was almost finished. Cool rooms to escape from the midday´s heat, quietly located at the edge of the town but the rest of the place at walkingdistance, it´s probably the best place to stay within the community.
    the exellent Dutch meals cooked for me by Gerard made sure I felt right at home and had a decent filling to take on the wilderness.
    Fransesc, a friend and guide along the river, arranged a long week of endless fishing in some of the most amazing sceneries. Entering a lake within an island is as if entering a lost world and his house along the river resembles paradise, with the endless jungle near and fruit to pick from every tree.

    Many thanks!

  3. Jörg

    Wirklich ein fantastisches Erlebnis, Barcelos und diese einmalige Pousada mit wunderbar frischem Pool zu besuchen.
    Also, lasst Euch nicht von einer erlebnisreichen 1-Tages-und-Nacht-Reise abhalten und genießt dieses klasse Ambiente!
    Noch ein Tipp: Auf keinen Fall solltet Ihr Euch den fangfrischen Fisch und den weißen Sandstrand entgehen lassen!!!

  4. Carlos Caro

    Llegue a Barcelos para quedarme uno 0 dos días buscando como entrar al Parque Nacional Jau y finalmente me quede una semana completa; gracias a la comodidad de este Hostal y de la amabilidad de Gerard, su propietario.

    Disfrute de la piscina del hostal (junto a una cerveja o caipirinha), de una parrillada o simplemente de la tranquilidad de leer en la hamaca…

    Gerard es un hombre de corazón generoso y alma franca, y me siento muy afortunado de haberme cruzado con este hostal, justo en el medio del Amazonas.

  5. Sie&Lo

    I and my boyfriend spent a wonderful week in the Hostel of Barcelos, we won’t ever forget!

    The owner is really helpful and knows a lot about things which can be done in Barcelos and the down- and upstream Rio Negro 🙂

    Thanks for the live-time experience!

  6. Amelie et Etienne

    Nous avons passes 3 mois en Amazonie bresilienne pour decouvrir l’artisanat indigene. Cela nous a conduit a Barcelos puis Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira.
    A Barcelos nous avons ete acceuillis par un dynamique et attentionne Gerard. Nous avons profite de sa piscine pour nous rafraichir lors des journees a quasi 40 degres, nous avons echange des discussions autour de French cooking (et oui attention aux francais qui passent par la, car Gerard aime bien la facon dont on cuisine, du coup en echange de faire a manger il faisait la vaisselle !! bon arrangement pour nous;-) )
    Nous lui souhaitons une bonne continuation.
    Et bon voyage a tous ceux qui viendront decouvrir les fins fonds du Rio Negro.

    ps: Nous n’avons pas pu alonger notre sejour a 4 mois, car depuis juillet 2013 les europeens ne peuvent rester que 3 mois au Bresil puis sortir du pays 3 mois et ensuite ils ont de nouveau le droit a 3 mois.

  7. Pat Falterman

    I spent two weeks visiting my son in Barcelos and staying in this amazing hostel run by Gerry. I chose to fly to Barcelos from Manaus, and after an hour flight down the Amazon and Rio Negro Rivers, I arrived at the airport and was greeted warmly by Gerry. His unique and quiet hostel is steps from the airport and you can walk or ride one of the provided bikes into the quaint town of Barcelos. All of our needs were met by Gerry, from information on renting boats to excursions into the local jungle with helpful and knowledgeable guides who tailored the hikes for every age and ability. On our excursion on the rivers we saw river dolphins, parrots, macaws, toucans, monkeys, and alligators. We even caught and ate a variety of fish including piranhas! After each trip we returned to Gerry’s hostel to find the pool ready for us to relax in with a ready made cocktail mixed with fruit picked right on the property. Gerry makes the trip unique and offers hands-on cooking and conversation that makes everyone feel a part of this one of a kind hostel. The rooms are a quiet oasis tucked behind and above the main living area and provide the perfect place to recharge before heading out for your next adventure. I hope to visit my son again in the Amazon area, and if he is anywhere near Barcelos, Gerry’s hostel is the only place I will stay.

  8. Jasper

    It was a wonderfull week in Barcelos! Have done some stuff, I would never dared to dream of before my journey, thanks to the guidance of the owner and the general manager/fishing expert. I saw the most beautifull stars of the worlds, made some of my best pictures ever, went fishing, camping, and so many other things that are to nice to describe.
    I will never forget it and really have to go back!

  9. Richard Newton

    In November I went on a five day mini-expedition with Gerry and his neighbour Clayson. Gerry is just starting his “tailor-made” tours so this was something of a try-out, which proved to be a great success. I’m particularly interested in wildlife so we tried the Rio Demeni which is a white-water tributary of the black-water Rio Araca (itself a tributary of the Rio Negro) and an area Clayson knew in great detail. Gerry has clearly put a great deal of thought into tailor-made tours – how to run them so that they are interesting, safe and comfortable for his guests. Combined with Clayson’s knowledge and years of experience of the river and forest made for a great trip. I did go on a jungle tour from Manaus, it was an interesting introduction to the rainforest, but I did feel a bit like a package on a conveyor belt and it could never be as interesting or as memorable an adventure as our Demeni voyage. I was a little apprehensive at the idea of camping in the forest but am so pleased I did and hope I have the opportunity again some day. Gerry has tents but personally I really liked sleeping in a hammock. In a tent I might have missed the flock of brilliantly bright fire-flies which passed through the forest by our encampment late one night. Amongst the wildlife we saw were both species of river dolphin, spider-monkeys, plenty of strange plants and insects, very few people and an impressive variety of birds. Unfortunately I didn’t have a bird book with me but, from my notes, there is a list of things I think I saw below. On our last day we met a helpful local who new the location of a Giant River Otter den. The hope is that on future Demeni tours, with his help, it will be possible to view these iconic animals.

    I spent a couple of days before and after the trip in Barcelos and greatly enjoyed being shown around by Gerry, meeting his many friends and hearing something about life in the town. If I had stayed in a hotel I would have received a rather superficial view of the town. I particularly enjoyed visiting the sitio of Sebastiao and his wife a little out of town. In their seventies but showing us their patch of forest, and how they eke out a living from it, with all the energy and enthusiasm of youngsters. One of a number of bright ideas Gerry has for tourism in Barcelos, without going on a multi-day tour, is to build an observation tower at the sitio, where guests can spend a night in the forest. This will give the couple an extra income and add to the tourism possibilities of the town. On our visit we selected a site for the tower so hopefully it should be built soon. Perhaps I will be lucky enough to visit Barcelos again one day, see the finished tower and see some more of this amazing area on another of Gerry’s wonderful mini-expeditions.

    Bird list: Hoatzins, Ringed, Amazon and Green Kingfishers, Yellow-billed and Large-billed Tern, Orange-winged Parrot, Pied lapwing, Spangled Cotinga, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Blackish Nightjar and other Nightjar/Nighthawk species, Plumbeous Pigeon, a grebe – possibly Pied-billed Grebe, Green Ibis, two species of hummingbird – one possibly Black-eared Fairy, a number of raptors including Osprey and possibly Black Caracara, Anahinga, Cormorant, Macaw species, Black-fronted Nunbird, Black skimmers, Egrets, Tiger heron, Blackcapped heron, Muscovy duck, Black vulture, Turkey vulture.

  10. Kasia & Piotr

    W listopadzie spędziliśmy 6 niezapomnianych dni w Barcelos – 2 dni odpoczywaliśmy w hostelu i poznawaliśmy miasteczko i jego okolice, pozostałe dni spędziliśmy na mini-ekspedycji w dół Rio Negro.
    Po przybyciu do hostelu pomimo późnej godziny zostaliśmy miło powitani przez właściciela Gerry’ego i już po 15 minutach czuliśmy się nie jak hotelowi goście a dawno nie widziani przyjaciele 🙂
    Już w pierwszy dzień odbyliśmy z Gerrym krótki spacer po dżungli, zaprowadził nas do swoich indiańskich przyjaciół, zobaczyliśmy amazońskie gospodarstwo rolne, poznaliśmy najbliższych sąsiadów, popływaliśmy w basenie, zrobiliśmy grilla i na koniec dnia zwiedziliśmy wspólnie na rowerach Barcelos. I w kolejne dni nie zwalnialiśmy tempa 🙂
    Następne 4 dni spędziliśmy na wycieczce do dżungli wzdłuż Rio Negro. Popłynęliśmy na niewielkiej łodzi należącej do Gerry’ego, wraz z nim i zorganizowanym przez niego przewodnikiem Claysonem. To co odróżnia taką wycieczkę od tych zorganizowanych przez agencje Manaus to fakt, że tutaj wspólnie decydowaliśmy co chcemy robić, zobaczyć, gdzie się zatrzymać i co zjeść . Biwakowaliśmy na brzegach Rio Negro, jedliśmy upieczone nad ogniskiem ryby, łowiliśmy piranie, poszukiwaliśmy krokodyli i przede wszystkim zobaczyliśmy jak żyją ludzie w małych wioskach położonych nad brzegami rzeki i poznaliśmy wielu ciekawych ludzi.
    Jeśli kiedykolwiek będziecie w okolicach Manaus albo będziecie się zastanawiali gdzie jechać w Amazonii bez zastanowienia płyńcie do Barcelos. Hostel nie jest luksusowy ale zapewnia wszystkie podstawowe potrzeby i będziecie czuć się tam jak w domu. Gerry zrobi wszystko by czas spędzony tam należał do najlepszych w waszym życiu – chcecie odpoczywać od upału w basenie – dostaniecie najlepsze na świecie drinki ze świeżych owoców i miejscowej wódki, chcecie zwiedzić Barcelos – Gerry zna chyba każdego w tym mieście i pokaże wam miejsca, do których sami byście nie trafili (np. dom z prywatnym kościołem), chcecie zobaczyć prawdziwą dżunglę – Gerry zorganizuje wyprawę spełniającą wszystkie wasze wymagania (w zależności od chęci wersja łagodniejsza lub bardziej hardcorowa).
    Tylko nie zamęczcie Gery’ego! 🙂

    In November we spent 6 unforgettable days in Barcelos – two days we relaxed in the hostel and got to know the town and its surroundings, the remaining days were spent on a mini-expedition down the Rio Negro.
    Upon arrival at the hostel despite the late hour, we were pleasantly greeted by the owner Gerry, and after 15 minutes we felt like not hotel guests but like friends not seen for a long time.
    Already in the first day we had with Gerry short walk through the jungle, he took us to his Indian friends, we saw the Amazonian farm, met nearest neighbors, swam in the pool, cooked on the barbecue and at the end of the day we toured together on bikes Barcelos. And in the next days we didn’t slow down. 🙂
    The next four days we spent on the trip to the jungle along the Rio Negro. We sailed a small boat belonging to Gerry, with him and the guide Clayson (Gerry’s neighbour). What make different the trip from those organized by agencies in Manaus is the fact that here we collectively decided what we want to do, to see, where to stay and what to eat. We camped on the banks of the Rio Negro, ate grilled fish, fished for piranhas, looking for crocodiles and above all, we saw how people live in small villages situated on the banks of the river and met lots of interesting people.
    If you ever will be in Manaus or wonder where to go in Amazonas simply go to Barcelos. Hostel is not a luxury but provides all the basic needs and you will feel at home there. Gerry will do everything to the time spent there was one of the best in your life – you want to take a rest from the heat in the pool – you get the world’s best drinks with fresh fruit and local vodka, you want to visit the town – Gerry knows almost everyone in this town and show you places which you don’t find by yourself (eg. house with a private church), you want to see a real jungle – Gerry organize a trip that meets all your expectations (depending on the willingness of a milder version or a more hardcore).
    Just do not torment Gerry! 🙂

  11. Ole Bye

    I stayed and traveled with Gerry for a week at the hostel. This was a highly enjoyable experience that I would not have had if I were staying on my own in Barcelos. There were no other guests at the hostel at that time, so Gerry was able to show me around and take me to places that no tourist would otherwise see. He has developed a network of people in the region who can provide visitors with a very authentic Amazon experience. I would call some of the trips gritty, and what I mean is don´t go expecting a 5 star hotel experience, but if you´re looking for a real glimpse into the life of Amazonia, I recommend staying with Gerry and taking some of his trips. Some examples of things we did include visiting the boatyard where local artisan boat builders were at work on beautiful wooden boats, a visit to a nearby vegetable farm and manioc plantation, and a journey by bike to a nice fruit farm further inland. We also went out into the forest with a local hunter who lives down river, and stayed the night in his house with his family. Amazonia is not the kind of place you can adequately experience on your own with no guide, and Gerry´s connections in the community will help you have a more satisfying time there. Also, if Gerry chooses to cook for you, it will be the best cuisine you will have in Barcelos. I recommend staying at the hostel!

  12. Richard Schiffman

    Gerry is amazing. He really makes you feel incredibly at home, and because of the relatively few visitors to the hostel, he spends lots of time and effort making sure that you do the things that are most interesting to you personally. We went out to visit a couple of local sitios, or garden farms, and spent a beautiful night on a jungle island, as well as taking some long walks through the rainforest. Gerry also introduced me to several local people in town, and took me to an ornamental fish processing barge on an island facing Barcelos.

    It is such a different experience from staying in a hostel in a place like Manaus! Here you feel like Gerry’s personal guest and you get the chance to experience the local life, and take excursions in his boat, with the help of his assistant, Clayson. If you have a chance, please plan to be there during the yearly festival (an Amazonian version of the Rio Carnival) which was the last week of January, this year. It is a really fabulous all-night show, with great music and elaborate costumes and dance routines, not to be missed!

    I cannot recommend Gerry’s hostel too much, the town is safe and welcoming, and the river is beautiful and waiting for you to explore. And there is no better host in the Amazon! I look forward to going back.

  13. Petr Staněk

    CZE
    Gerry je pohodář a slušnej člověk. Jeho hostel je skromnej, ale nenajdeš nic lepšího tisíc kilometrů v okruhu. V prosinci 2014 jsem tam strávil pár tejdnů a můžu jedině doporučit. Jen u svý babičky jsem se cítil líp. Určitě zase brzy přijedu. Díky, Gerry

    ENG
    Gerry is a cool guy and a decent man. His hostel is modest, but you will not find anything better within a radius of one thousand kilometers. In December 2014 I spent there a few weeks and I can only recommend. Only in my grandmother’s house, I felt better. Definitely I come again soon. Thanks, Gerry

  14. Claire

    Hi folks!

    Last summer in August I spent about one and a half week in Barcellos and I’ve had such a good time, not only in the Amazona but in Barcellos itself as well! William was at the time taking care of the house and hosted us, us being a german family (a mother and her two daughters) and myself. I met them in Manaus and got invited spontaneously to join their trip to Barcellos, which was easy as I was travelling on my own. Williams’ service was very good. He helped us plan the entire five-day-trip to the jungle and even organised our stay with a community along the riverside for four nights. From there we went watching birds, swimming in the Amazon, visiting the ”flooded woods” with little boats, went on a hunt to collect fruits with the locals and watched the river dolphins. Not to forget mentioning the special diners of barbequed turtles and fishes we were invited to join in and the fun we’ve had with the locals in the community. Without William I wouldn’t have had a clue how to have enjoyed such a special experience in the Amazone.

    The stay in the house in Barcellos was also very nice. It’s not too big of a house, so the service is very personal and friendly. In the mornings there’s a very nice breakfast with fresh fruits, juice, bread and eggs and there’s always the possibility to use the kitchen, where there’s loads of place to use in the refrigerator as well. Also it was very nice to be able to cool down a little bit in the little swimming pool in the heat of the Amazone, I think I must have taken about fifteen swims in the six nights I’ve spent in the house haha!

    Since William speaks Flemish of course it was also very nice to have a chat in dutch for a change after two months of mainly portuguese and english, but of course William speaks very good english as well, so in case that’s your language or mother tongue no problems there either! William is a very calm, friendly and patient host, who’s open to chats and always willing to help out or giving advice planwise, truly incredible. His wife Cleo is also very sweet, I’ve loved staying with them!

    Barcellos itself is a small but friendly city, to be honest to me it felt more like a big village, but in the Amazone it’s rather established I suppose. The people are cheery and interested in your visit since there’s only very few tourists around, so it’s easy to end up in chattings if you speak some portuguese or having contact anyways. That’s how I ended up making some friends with the owners of a very good Peruvean restaurant (owned by a peruvean) and a juice/ice restaurant called Sabores da Amazona, places I can highly recommend. I became friends because I simply kept coming back for the good food and ice creams. At the time there was a festival over the weekend as well, which meant a lot of different foodstands (even sushi and typical Amazonean treats) and dance and music shows for which the children/youth seemed to have practised quite a bit, it was very special to experience their ways of celebrating 🙂 Afterwards the public themselves started to dance, so all was a very happy atmosphere!

    I truly hope there’s gonna be a time I’ll return to Barcellos, visit Amazonas’ great nature and people another time and stay with William and Cleo again, it’s been definitly one of my best places in Brasil!

  15. Marta

    Ho trascorso solo sei giorni a Barcelos nell’ostello di Gerry, má avrei dovuto fermarmi piú a lungo! Lá sistemazione è un po’ spartana, má dotata di tutto quello di cui si puó aver bisogno e soprattutto di una piscina dove rinfrescarsi tra una sudata e una caipirinha! Davvero impagabile, oserei dire un lusso. La cucina é ricca di spezie e abbiamo preparato delle gustose cene e grigliato coi simpaticissimi vicini. Gerry é disponibilidade e generoso, vi aiuterá a organizzare le gite nei dintorni che piú si adattano alle vostre aspettative e gusti e saprá darvi consigli e informazioni utili su tutto. Tramite Gerry ho potuto organizzare delle lezioni private di forro con una bravissima ragazza del posto in un’ atmosfera molto famigliare e di fianco alla piscina! L’ostello è vicino all’areoporto e sono a disposizione delle bici per muoversi in paese.
    Ma soprattutto Barcelos e il Rio Negro sono fantástici: un villaggio assonnato e isolato, pieno di sorprese e di energia, lungo un fiume tranquillo e incantevole con spiagge e isole di sabbia bianca e lambito dalla foresta pluviale!
    Assolutamente raccomandato, cercheró di tornarci e trascorrere piú tempo, l’ amazzonia e soprattutto il rio negro sono luoghi fantástici, alla fine del mondo (o in un altro mondo!)

  16. Stefan

    Barcelos ist der ideale Ort, um abseits der Touristenströme den echten brasilianischen Amazonas und seine Bewohner zu erkunden – und Gerard vom Hostel Barcelos hilft Euch dabei. Schon bei der Ankunft und meinem ersten lange ersehnten Bad im kühlen Pool, hat mir Gerard von der Gegend und den Leuten erzählt und Vorschläge gemacht, wie ich in den nächsten Tagen alles nach Herzenslust erkunden kann. Am Ende haben wir drei wirklich wunderbare Tage auf einem Hausboot auf dem Rio Negro verbracht: Sonnenuntergänge am weißen Flusssandstrand, Grillen unterm Sternenhimmel, Badepausen zu jederzeit, Ein Spaziergang im Urwald, mit Übernachtung und natürlich Wildlife: bunte, riesige Araras, Riesenflussotter, Kaimane und Delfine. Das alles hätte ich ohne Gerards Kontakte zu den Locals nie erlebt.
    Die Gäste in Gerards Hostel sind spannende Persönlichkeiten und es gibt immer Gelegenheit zum Ratschen: im Pool, beim Grillen oder auf einem Ausflug in die Umgebung. Gerard verleiht auch kostenlos Fahrräder und gibt sehr gerne Tipps, wo die Reise hingehen könnte – oder er kommt gleich selber mit.
    In Amazonien ist Reisen manchmal beschwerlich: Bootsfahlpläne ändern sich andauernd und der Reisende und niemand weiß recht Bescheid. Aber Gerard ist gut vernetzt und kann auch hier schnell weiter helfen. Er ist eine geachtete und beliebte Person im Dorf. Wenn ich das nächste Mal auf dem Rio Negro reise, weiß ich, dass in Barcelos ein liebevolles Zuhause und spannende Begegnungen auf mich warten. Mehr als eine Reise wert!

  17. Angela Maldonado

    I spent around 10 days at Hostel Barcelos, and I really enjoyed my time there. Gerard is a wonderful host and he makes you feel at home. I went to several spots of the Rio Negro, where I found amazing white beaches with black water, where no people were around, just like paradise. Thanks to Gerard I got all the equipment needed to travel to those places (boat, motor, tent, etc). Gerard is an amazing person with a huge heart that always takes care of you. Lovely pool to cool down with a caipirinha!!!

  18. Ryan

    A friend and I stayed here for around 2 weeks in December 2015 and I can’t say enough good things about the accommodations and Gerry (the owner/operator). First off, make sure you email or call ahead to make sure someone will be there to let you in and show you around; Gerry regularly takes his guest’s out for custom jungle/river outings so the place may be empty for a few days even during normal business hours. His friendly neighbors will likely intercept you if he is not around. We arrived via lancha (motor boat) but were 12 hours late due to a busted motor; however, Gerry was still able to meet us at the port and help us find the place. We told him that we were interested in exploring the river and jungle so he arranged for us to go hiking/camping/fishing for several days up and down the Rio Negro. Whatever experience you are looking for, Gerry can most likely make it happen if you give him a heads up. Gerry has several bikes that the guests are able to take out and cruise around town. We regularly went grocery shopping, to ice cream shops, and to get some awesome ceviche. There’s also a large grill/brick oven for cooking up some meat. I recommend getting friendly with the guests staying there and cooking meals “family-style”. The space is fairly intimate so it would do you well to make friends with the other guests.
    The rooms are what you’d expect from a hostel in the middle of nowhere; in fact, they’re probably better than what you’d expect and are comparable to any hostel I’ve stayed at in larger cities in South America. The pool is nice and is great for enjoying some cocktails in the hot afternoons or evenings. Like many South American towns, there are mangoes everywhere so plan on eating some or mixing some in drinks. The neighbors provide a laundry service (for cheap), one of them is a barber if you need a trim, and one of them sells beer and snacks. I can’t wait to get back to Barcelos and visit Gerry!
    Hope you’re drinking your water, Gerry! Cheers!
    Ryan

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