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Manaus Travel Guide

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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.

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 facades. 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.

What to see?

Opera House (Teatro Amazonas) - Praça São Sebastião, Center

Everyday, starting time of shows may vary. 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 - Rua dos Barés, Center

The city's main market is modeled after the Les Halles market in Paris.

Natural Science Museum (Museu de Ciencias Naturais da Amazônia) - 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 - Av. 7 de Setembro

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

It 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

Itis 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

It 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 24th 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.

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 Tourim Board) registry. Then you make up your mind what you really want. You need to travel at least 100km from Manaus to see virgin rain forest and the wild life you are looking for.

Manaus Amazon travel Guide and tourism information such as accommodation, festivals, transport, maps, activities and attractions in Amazonas, Brazil - Brazil Travel Guide

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