Manaus... the hottest destination in the Amazon rainforest...
It all started in the second half of the 17th. century, when a small fort - São José da Barra - was built on the north bank of Rio Negro river, around 18 km. above its confluence with the Amazon river.
Later named Manaus, it became capital of the State of Amazonas, Brazil, in 1850.
The city lies in the heart of the largest tropical rain forest on earth - Amazonia - the geographical area surrounding the Amazon river and its tributaries, with an extension of more than 2 million square miles.
This vast region includes part of Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Suriname, French Guiana, Guyana and a large part of Brazil, and is responsible for 50% of the renovated oxygen on earth. It's filled with the most exuberant flora and fauna known to man.
Its mightiest river - Amazon - is 4.080 miles long, second only to the Nile river. It originates in tiny streams on the Peruvian Andes and fed by over 1,000 tributaries along the way, before discharging at the Atlantic Ocean.
The city itself and its surroundings attracts visitors from all over the world and its port is regularly visited by cruise ships. Jungle lodges, river expeditions, jungle walks and water sports are the main outdoors activities. You will have the chance to explore...
Please don't miss Parintins Festival if you happen to be in the area the last week of June (24 to 30th.). This grandiose spectacle of music, dance, drama and special effects is a true rural opera. It's about the historical rivalry between two bulls called Garantido (Guaranteed) and Caprichoso (Capricious). You will have to choose which side to take.
The event takes place in the bumbódromo and the two cheering groups take separate sides of the stadium. When one of their "bulls" is performing, one half of the stadium actually flicks, while the other half remains in respectful silence.
Tribes of dancers accompany them at the beat of hundreds drums and songs sung by "song leaders". Parintins is located in the island of Tupinambarana, around 420 km from Manaus.
The landmark of Manaus is Teatro Amazonas, on Praça (Square) São Sebastião.
Opera House, as is commonly know, has Neoclassical architecture and was built with bricks brought from Europe, glass from France and Italian marble. Orchestras and European Opera Companies came to the jungle.
The Great Caruso and Sarah Bernhardt performed there, among others. Opera House reflects the massive wealth brought by the rubber boom to Manaus - between 1890 and 1920 - when hundred or so rubber "barons" emerged from that economic boom, living lavishly and building superb residences for themselves.
That exhilarating period of Brazil's rubber monopoly came to an end around 1920, motivated by two reasons basically...
In 1967, a Free Zone (Zona Franca) was established by the Brazilian government to develop western Amazonas. Today, it's a modern city and a very important financial and commercial center in the midst of the Amazon rainforest...
Through Eduardo Gomes International Airport.
There are river boats from many Amazon ports, including Iquitos (Peru) and Belem.
Book budget accommodation in Manaus.