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Manaus is a Brazilian city of about 2.5 million, located on the Rio Negro a few miles before it meets the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon River proper. The two rivers flow side by side for many miles, different in color, mixing in eddies: the "Meeting of the Waters." Legend has it that they never mix.
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Points of Interest in Manaus
- Teatro Amazonas (Opera House), Praça São Sebastião, Center, ☎ +55 92 3622-1880. The Opera House was built during the heyday of rubber trade, using materials from all over the world, and was once visited by all the most famous opera divas and maestros. Regular guided tours in English. There are frequent free performances; be sure to arrive at least an hour in advance to secure a seat Prices vary.
- Mercado Municipal. n/n Rua dos Barés, +55 92 3234-8441. Every day, 8AM-10PM. The city's main market is modeled after the Les Halles market in Paris.
- Natural Science Museum (Museu de Ciencias Naturais da Amazônia). n/n Estrada Belem, Colonia Cachoeria Grande. Few locals visit this museum, know about it, or would even want to, considering that it's basically critters they'd find (almost) in their backyard. For visitors, though, it's a chance to see a live pirarucu and other fauna (mostly preserved) of the region. The museum was constructed single-handedly by a Japanese entomologist (specializing in butterflies) with his own money and resources. It's out of the way and about half an hour by taxi. The nearby INPA is a preserve and research center with birds and other wildlife.
- Rio Negro Palace. 1546 Av. 7 de Setembro, +55 92 3232-4450. Call for information on attractions. The Rio Negro Palace was built by German farmers in the "golden age". Nowadays it's a cultural center and theater. It's one of the city's postcards. Prices vary.
- Ponta Negra Beach it's a nice spot,and popular river beach. It has several bars and restaurants and is some distance west of the city.
- Praia da Lua Beach very clean and nice river beach a few kilometers from Ponta Negra upstream the Rio Negro. Access by shared motorized canoe from Estalagem de David.
- Paricatuba Waterfall is on the right bank of the Negro River, along a small tributary, is formed by sedimentary rocks, surrounded by abundant vegetation. Access is by boat. The best time to visit is from August to February.
- Love Cascade is in the Guedes bayou, with cold and crystal clear water, is accessible only by boat and, then, hiking through the Forest.
- The National Park of Jaú The Park is situated in the lowland plateau in the Western Amazon and North of Amazon state, it is one of the largest National Park in Brazil and in Latin America. It is 2,272,000 hectares in size and 1,250 km of perimeter. It was created on 24 September 1980. It is of paramount importance in ecological terms for its high endemism and richness of its wild flora and fauna. Part of the Park area constitutes of varzea denominated as Pluvial Lowland .Terra firme (formlands)is divided in two: (1) large flat tops separated by shallow valleys occupying the largest area, and (2) small hills on a higher level. There are small areas which are flattened by sand sediments in the Park central part. Open Forest is predominant throughout represented by either Tidal Flat Open Palm Forest especially in varzeas (wet lands) alongside Jau and Carabinani rivers, or Tidal Flat Canopy Dense Forests. In the tidal flat areas, frequently flooded, alongside the Carabinani and Jau rivers there are a great number of palm trees such as paxiúbas (Iriarte spp), cabbage palm (Euterpe oleraceae) and Jauaria (Astrocaryon spp). In older tidal areas, rarely flooded, the predominant palms are miriti and carana (Mauritia spp). Many other tree species are found in the Park area, some of them with commercial value such as Brazilnut tree (Bertholletia excelsa) and sucupira (Bowdichia virgilioides) and others.
For details on the Jaú National Park and other nearby attractions, see the Go next section below.
The wealth of the primeval forest becomes visible first of all in the architecture of the city. The city enriched and the rubber barons afforded the biggest luxury from Europe, a copy the Grand Opera de Paris - the Teatro Amazonas. Other monuments from this epoch are the Mercado Municipal, a copy of the famous market halls Les Halles in Paris, and the arts center Palacio Rio Negro, located among fascinating Portuguese façades. Today Manaus is a foreign trade zone. Foreign enterprises must pay here no import duties, what guarantees a certain income for the city and the region. Electronics, wood industry and oil refineries have settled in the outskirts in industrial areas. The harbour is the most important trading center for the care of the city with regional, national and international products.
The city is pleasant and friendly, although quite hot, and is still a major port, and a good starting point for river tours.
The Rio Negro (northern) branch of the Amazon is the color of strong tea, peaty brown and its comparative acidity means few mosquitoes. At Manaus the Amazon rises and falls almost twenty meters between seasons. In May and June it's at its peak, full and very wide, spreading way out into the trees. In November and December it's low; still massive but with sandbars.
Adventure trips to the rainforest
There are a number of companies operating jungle adventure trips from Manaus, but only a few seem to be more established and reputable. First you need to check if the Tour Operator has a valid Embratur (Brazilian Tourism Board) registry. Then you make up your mind what you really want. You need to travel at least 100 km from Manaus to see virgin rain forest and the wild life you are looking for.
- Location of trip
There are basically two main areas which you can explore: the Rio Negro basin and the South of Rio Amazonas. Both of these regions are (sparsely) inhabited, so you will not be completely isolated from civilization. If you want to make a trip to a reserve or a remote area, ask for a special expedition package and plan to pay much more and spend a few days for the transfer to and from the reserve. Rio Negro is an area that is great for the jungle vegetation and for the lack of mosquitoes (due to the acidity of the river). Unfortunately, the lack of mosquitoes means there are a lot fewer animals that live there. The South of Rio Amazonas is a network of rivers, lakes and channels. There are mosquitoes and wildlife, however, there are quite a lot of houses and farms—and thus civilization is a lot more visible. Most tours go to or through lake Mamori. There are quite a lot of jungle things to see around the lake, but do not expect pristine nature due to all the farming going on around the lake. There is a reserve nearby called Jurara. It also seems to be inhabited and there is not much difference between the reserve and lake Mamori. A better option may be a trip to lake Juma which is a special protected area.
- Time of travel
There are two seasons in the Amazon basin: wet season and dry season. During the dry season it's very hot (that means 40 C plus the humidity) and thus may be unbearable for some. As well, many channels and rivers dry out. On the other hand, fishing is much easier since all fish concentrates in the remaining water basins. During the wet season, it rains almost every day. When there is a storm, the amount of rain may be overwhelming. Thus, if traveling in wet season, be prepared to get wet and not dry out until the end of your trip. During the season the rivers and lakes rise several meters and many new channels are formed in the flooded jungle. Temperature-wise, the weather is more bearable and only the humidity will be a problem. The wet season lasts roughly January to July, with the best time to visit the jungle May to August.
If you travel during the wet season, keep your important things like documents in (tested) waterproof bags/containers. Cotton clothes let your skin breathe but there is no chance that they will ever get dry. Some people find nylon/synthetic clothes to work well. Long sleeves and long pants are not 100% necessary but you will not regret wearing them. A flashlight is necessary for the night, as the jungle is pitch-black. A machete most probably will not be required on short/casual trips but is essential for longer expeditions. A lighter and a pocket knife are a good idea. The pocket knife is especially important since it can provide the only defense against the boa and the anaconda (indeed, attacks do occur). A mosquito repellent is most probably a very smart idea. It keeps other bugs away too and it reduces the risk of being infected by a disease-carrying insect. However, the number of mosquitoes in the jungle is not completely overwhelming, so for longer expeditions you may consider getting used to them. Additionally, a good guide can show you some natural repellents available in the jungle. Sun block is needed especially during the dry season. Otherwise, keep your luggage to the minimum. Do not take things you do not really need.
- Dictionary of trip operators:
- native people - people who live in the region. Most of the time that means, with Portuguese descend. These are not aboriginal inhabitants.
- native guide - a guide who is a native (see native people). If at all, usually speaks only marginal English.
- explore the meeting of the waters - a 10-second chance to glance at it while crossing the river on a speedboat.
Do not buy tours from people at the airport or on the street in Manaus. The best guides are hired by the best companies; the best shysters don’t work for the best companies. If you don’t want to book a tour before arriving and want to book a tour in Manaus use a reputable published guidebook first or just look for the official tourist information center (CAT), they'll help you out and even make free calls if required. Tour companies are relatively easy to find in downtown Manaus and many will meet you at no charge.
The tour companies (even the ones in Lonely Planet) tend to trick the tourists sometimes, they ask you "may I do the reservation?" if you say yes and later cancel they will want to charge you 25%. It is not legal unless they let you know about it and make you sign something, so remain alert. Ask other tour operators to check prices.
If you take a river tour, go up the Rio Negro. From a three-night river boat trip from Manaus up the Rio Negro with a guide, you can expect to see some wildlife and visit some of the forest remnants, but two weeks or more are needed to reach untouched areas. Small two-story river boats carry five to ten people, sleeping in hammocks on the upper deck. Large boats carrying hundreds ply the river too, but the big boats don't stop between ports. The most popular place for jungle tours is Lake Mamori/Lake Juma about 100 km south of Manaus. Other recommended areas are Rio Urubu about 200 km east of and Novo Airão about 100 km northwest of Manaus. Make sure that your travel agency has a valid Embratur (Brazilian Tourism Board) registration.
- Amazon BackPackers Tour, ☎ +55 92 9168-4543. Rua Dez de Julho 679, (inside Hotel 10 de Julho). Amazon Backpackers has been in business for over 15 years. They offer jungle excursions, boat trips, river tours, fishing tours and survival trips. They operate on Lake Mamori, Lake Juma, Rio Tupana and Parque Jau. They offer hotel/hostel booking and airport transfer service.
- Amazon Brasil Tour, ☎ +55 92 9184-8452. Rua 10 de julho 708- Room- 02. They organize non conventional tours with experienced tour guides. They do jungle tours to different areas of the Amazon (Juma Lake area, Tracajá, Rio Negro river)and they are specialized in Boat tours (boat with hammocks and Boat with cabins and luxury boats) exploring rivers of the Amazon. Their main goal is to show the Amazon in its authentic way. All Their jungle tours are covereds by insurance.
- Amazon Aventura Viagens e Turismo Ltda, ☎ (005592)93305233. (htpp:www.amazonaventura.Com - Rua 10 de Julho 685 - Created by professional staff with more than 40 years experience as guides in the amazon, highly specialized in jungle trips, management by Joaquim Bezerra de Araujo and Alcileny Silva de Araujo, a couple who dedicated their lives to working in the Amazon. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Amazon Tree Climbing, ☎ +55 92 8195 8585, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ecotourism, nature and adventure travel specializing in tree climbing and boat expeditions and working with small closed groups. Follows rigid safety protocols according to the Brazilian adventure tourism standards.The trees are previously inspected and the climb sites are carefully chosen – they opt for primary forest area, which gives a better chance of observing the wildlife in its natural habitat. Multilingual guides with solid cultural background, and top quality equipment. Trips vary from 1 day to longer customized boat expeditions at the Rio Negro basin.
- Amazing Tours Agency. Av.Getulio Vargas 694,centro +55 92 91867133,81651118.
Amazing Tours Agency - has been in the business for about 7 years,They organize Rio Negro tour,Boat tours,boat tickets,amazon Lodges,Adventure trips,fishing trips.
- Manaus Booking, ☎ +55 92 9190-5070. Leovegildo Coelho, No.460. Amazon Jungle Tour 75 Reais per day, Boat charter 595 Reais per day, Day Tours, City Tour, Airport Transfer, Boat and Bus tickets
Local cuisine is rich and varied and can be found in many restaurants and stalls. You may try:
- tapioquinha, a glutinous pancake made from manioc starch, usually buttered and filled with tucumã palm fruit and farmer’s cheese.
- tacacá, an Amazon local soup.
- pamonha, made from green corn and coconut milk boiled in corn husks.
- bolo de macaxeira, a tasty glutinous translucent cake made from manioc.
- sugar cane juice, a favorite drink among locals.
The region is also known for its exotic fruits like:
- creamy white cupuaçú.
- iron-rich açaí.
- Restaurante da Charufe- Address: 26 Maceio Street - beside the Ministério da Agricultura (Rua Maceió, 26, ao lado do Ministério da Agricultura). Best Lebanese food in town, the famous paella and special local homely fish dishes. The famous chef opens her restaurant at home only for lunch from Mondays to Fridays. Feijoada (delicious black beens stew) on Saturdays at previous reservation. Phone nr. 55 (92) 9128-4628. E-mail: email@example.com. All credit cards accepted.
- Açaí e Companhia, ☎ 55-(92) 3635-3637. Address: Rua Acre, 98 - Vieiralves, phone number. Open 10AM to 12AM. Nice atmosphere. Regional dishes. Good service. Sometimes live musi
- Canto da Peixada, ☎ 55-(92) 3234-3021. Address: Rua Emílio Moreira, 1677 - Praça 14. Great local fish selection.
- Scarola Restaurant and Pizzaria. Traditional Restaurant near the Amazon Theater open for lunch with self service buffet and dinner à la carte. Famous for their Pizza and Barbecue Grill. Delivery service available. Rua 10 de Julho, No. 739 at the corner with Av. Getulio Vargas.
- Casa da Sopa, Soup buffet. Highly recommended.
- For international food in Manaus, the Miako and Suzuran offer Japanese food; there’s a Korean restaurant on the “Boulevard”, superb Italian food at Gianni's, and there is a home that serves delicious Peruvian dishes downtown near Cortez Casa de Câmbio.
- Peixaria Morongueta, Rua Jaith Chaves, 30 - Porto da Ceasa, ☎ 3615-3362. 11:00-23:00. Open-air seafood restaurant with a fantastic view of the Meeting of the Waters. Moderately priced, offering fresh local (i.e., Amazonian) fish and traditional Brazilian dishes. $$.
- Habibi (Right outside Hotel Brasil). Late afternoon and evening. Staple sandwiches in clean surroundings, with a small variety of arab dishes.
Downtown drinking near the Teatro Amazonas, lately spreading towards the refurbished Praca da Saudade. Others options in the Ponta Negra area, including the "Estrada do Turismo" -a string of nightlife spots along the road to the airport.
- Bar do Armando, Largo do São Sebastião (Acros the square from the Theatro Amazonas). Every evening until midnight. Lively crowd, simple setting, excellent location. Prices are a bit stiff, and for snacks they are downright ridiculous. Large beer R$ 5, small sandwich R$ 9.
- Porao do Alemao, Estrada da Ponta Negra 1986, São Jorge (30-40 reais by taxi from the centre.). Mostly rock, excellent snacks. Entry fee.
- Tuesdays(!) and Fridays have hundreds and hundreds of people gather at a string of drinking shacks known as Calçadão da Suframa. Some have live music, often forró. One spot is Casa do Terror, a cobwebbed hole-in-the-wall where a shirtless Cearense in a cowboy hat spins old LP’s of boleros and bregas. R$ 20-30 by cab from the centre.
- Crocodillo (Centro) is a dance club with decent music and reasonable drink prices.
- Festivals Festivals are usually held in the Sambódromo, a huge stadium on Rua Constantino Nery. Carnaval is held here as well as many other festivals, including Manaus’s popular Boi.
- Gay: The two main clubs are Humps and A2, both located in the city centre.
- Upscale dancingat the Tropical Hotel.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Manaus on Wikivoyage.