destination: Manaus

December 3, 2009 | By More

Encontro das Águas, ManausAmazon river / río AmazonasAmazon jungle / selva amazónicaManaus / Manaos
Teatro Amazonas, ManausManaus / ManaosManaus, Amazonasmonkey business, the Amazon

Few Brazilian cities conjure up the mysticism that surrounds the name Manaus. Its remote location and the fact that it is the entry point to the never-ending Amazon forest make of Manaus a very special destination. It is a pity that decades of neglect have turned Manaus onto a necessary evil on your way to the jungle. Here’s a few tips to make the most of the city.

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1. HOW TO REACH MANAUS:

Manaus international airport, on the outskirts of the city, receives regular flights from the most important Brazilian capitals, as well as a handful of direct international flights (you can have a look at the full list of them at direct flights on our D Airfare blog. There isn’t a shuttle bus connecting the airport to downtown. You can either take the regular bus or grab a taxi (will cost you approximately R$50).

A popular choice to reach Manaus is a boat ride from Belém. There are several boats doing the trip, it takes five days and the boat makes numerous stops along the way. It is not a daily service so do find out more about the schedules before your trip. Prices start from R$250 for a hammock on the lower deck – it would be the equivalent of a third class, very noisy due to the engine nearby and always crowded. If you want a cabin you’ll have to fork out at least R$200 more. The trip has been described by many as quite boring – at least in terms of the landscape you see – and music plays non-stop.

Manaus / Manaos

Bus company Eucatur travels from Manaus to Venezuela.

There are also boats going from Manaus to Tabatinga, next to Leticia in Colombia . The trip takes 5 days. There is also a faster boat that covers the distance in 32 hours (one day per week). Airline Trip flies from Manaus to Tabatinga.

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2. WHEN TO GO:

Manaus, like most of the Amazon, has two distinct seasons: a dry summer, from June to November, and a wet winter, from December to May. It is hot in winter; extremely hot during the summer.

An excellent time to visit Manaus is the beginning of the summer season, between July and August, when the rain has just stopped but the rivers still carry an extraordinary amount of water. Mosquitoes are more frequent during the rainy season. River beaches appear during the dry season.

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3. CAREFUL WITH:

Heat and humidity, prevent dehydration. Air conditioning is a plague, as well as the bunch of unscrupulous and notorious travel agents (not all Manaus travel agents, by all means) that have been cheating foreign tourists for years.

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4. WE LIKE THE MOST:

Delicious varieties of fish. The immense river Negro. The proximity of the jungle.

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5. WE LIKE THE LEAST:

Unchecked urban growth, the state of decay of many historic buildings, dirt and rubbish, poor attention given to foreign tourists by the authorities, the gigantic bridge being built across the Negro river.

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6. FAVOURITE PLACES:

Teatro Amazonas. The Bosque da Ciência. The Meeting of the Waters.

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7. PIECE OF ADVICE:

  • there are guided tours of Teatro Amazonas, in the city centre, from Monday to Saturday. English-speaking guides are available. We have devoted a blog post to this unmissable Manaus sight: Teatro Amazonas, Manaus.
  • Praça São Sebastião, the square right in front of the theatre, is a very pleasant space dominated by the wonderful Portuguese mosaic decorating the square. Around the square, craft shops, ice-cream parlours, fresh juices and the popular Tacacaria da Gisela, where from 4 pm you can taste the very typical tacacá, a thick broth made from traditional Amazon ingredients.
  • the riverside and its docks with passenger ships coming and going is a very interesting place. The main dock is referred to as “floating dock” and it was designed by British engineers at the beginning of the XX century. It can operate both during the dry season and the wet season – bear in mind the differences in river height can reach 14 meters! The port area is not safe after dark.
  • one of the most beautiful buldings in Manaus, the Mercado Municipal Adolpho Lisboa, suffers as a result of neglect. It is closed, abandoned and no one can tell for sure when it will reopen again. In the meantime, the market stalls have taken up all the space around the market building. If you want to experience all the bustle of the freshly caught fish being brought into the market you will have to set your alarm clock early. 4 am is the right time to be at the market, by 6 am the movement is coming to an end.
  • Manaus has several interesting parks, including the Bosque da Ciência and the Parque do Mindú.
  • the most traditional trip departing from Manaus takes you to the Meeting of the Waters, the place where the rivers Negro and Solimões meet to form the Amazon river. You will find plenty of information and details at the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus.
  • during the dry season the popular Ponta Negra beach emerges at the residential suburb of the same name. The famous Tropical Manaus hotel is located nearby.
  • you can’t leave Manaus without eating the delicious local fish. Tucunaré, tambaqui and pirarucu are three names of fish where you can’t go wrong.
  • you will find the popular Glacial ice-cream parlours all across the city, with exotic fruit flavours.
  • on 24 October, the local sambodrome is host to the Boi Manaus festival, to celebrate the anniversary of the city.

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9. ACCOMMODATION:

At our Accommodation in Brazil blog we have a complete listing of hotels and pousadas in Manaus.

As well as that, you can search for accommodation in Manaus through our Hotels Combined search engine, a unique free tool that searches multiple hotel reservation websites simultaneously to help you find the lowest rate instantly. It eliminates the need to search major websites one by one in order to compare prices and availability. An amazing time and money saver!

The results open on a new page.

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10. HEALTH:

If you are visiting Manaus you are adviced to get your yellow fever shot (more information at 10 facts about yellow fever in Brazil). Malaria is also an issue on the jungle areas and the way you prevent yourself should be discussed with your doctor.

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11. LINKS:

Visita Amazonas is the official tourism site by the government of the state of Amazonas. It’s got quite a lot of information on Manaus.

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12. WEATHER FORECAST:

The weather in Manaus for the next 10 days.

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13. CLIMATE:

Average temperatures and rainfall in Manaus.

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14. GOOGLE MAPS:

Our anotated map of Manaus.

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15. PHOTO ALBUM:

Manaus photo album (click on the link to see the album)

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RELATED POSTS:
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Teatro Amazonas, Manaus
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the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus
Jungle Lodges in the Amazon
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Category: Destination: Amazon

Comments (1)

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  1. Tony says:

    If you have any questions about Manaus you can ask at our Facebook page and we will give you an answer as soon as we can.