Manaus, a great metropolis in the heart of the Amazon rain forest. If you imagined that on your trip to the Amazon you would only see miles of vegetation and wild animals, you will be surprised to arrive in a city of tall buildings, luxury hotels, and modern infrastructure. But if there is one place in the world where such contrast can occur, it is Brazil.
With an excellent variety of services for travelers, Manaus is the perfect starting point for adventure expeditions through the jungle and the world’s largest river, the Amazon.
But Manaus is actually not on the banks of the Amazon, but on the wide Rio Negro, one of its tributaries. From the city’s floating port, there are excursions to navigate the Amazonian waters and explore the jungle, even getting to know the indigenous tribes that inhabit it.
With European, African, and indigenous influences, the culture of northern Brazil is extremely diverse and rich. You can see the various influences in music, dance, parties, cuisine, architecture, and much more.
The name of the city Manaus comes from the indigenous tribe of the Manaós which means Mother of the Gods. Founded in the 17th century, the city acquired its great splendor in the so-called “Rubber Fever” of the late 19th century, when the rubber industry had a boom.
During that time, rich barons and merchants established their European-style mansions and brought their luxurious lifestyle to the Amazon scenery. From that “Paris of the Tropics” remain palaces and residences, sumptuous churches such as the San Sebastian Church, and the spectacular Opera House, a great icon of the city.
The exotic cuisine of Manaos has a wide variety of typical dishes made with fish and spices native to the region. The people of Manaus eat a lot of fish, as Amazon fish are considered to be the best in South America. They especially enjoy the tucunaré, the jaraqui, the surubim, the matrinxa, the tambaqui, the pirarucu, the pacu, and the curimatá, among other species, which can be grilled, fried, in croquettes, or in pieces.
As the main travel and economic center of the Amazon, Manaus has many hotels, designed for all kinds of travelers. There are luxury resorts such as the famous Tropical Manaus, first-class executive hotels such as the Mercure, Caesar Business, or Novotel, and cheaper hostels to simply set up a “base of operations” deep in the jungle.
Of course you can also stay in the depths of the jungle – there are eco-lodges in the middle of the jungle and even ecological cruises that go through the igarapés offering both adventure and comfort. Some ecological lodgings are in the surroundings of Manaus, and others are several kilometers away, only accessible by boats.
In Manaus, the summers are short and hot; the winters are long, warm, and wet. Over the course of the year, the temperature usually varies from 24°C to 33°C and is seldom below 23°C or above 36°C.
Hence, for hot-weather activities; the best time of year to visit Manaus is from mid-June to mid-August.
Located in the center of the largest tropical forest in the world and known mainly for its ecotouristic potential. Manaus is considered the environmental capital of Brazil and has important parks and ecological reserves, such as Mindu Park, Sumaúma State Park, Ponte dos Bilhares Park and Adolpho Ducke Botanical Garden – the largest in the world.
For travelers, it’s an excellent base for exploring the region and a place to recharge your batteries after the exhausting trips in the Amazon. It is also a popular stop for people traveling all over the Amazon River.
When in Manaus, start off by cruising the river and discover the unique spectacle of the meeting point of Rio Negro and the Amazon River. Then spot the giant water lilies of Amazonia, observe caimans at night, fish piranhas or swim with pink dolphins. Not to mention the long-awaited excursion to the forest for a more in-depth discovery of the fauna and flora. Excursion often followed by a night in the jungle to fully enjoy the environment and the sounds of the forest.
You will most likely arrive in Manaus looking to explore the Amazon. But the city itself has a number of interesting attractions that are also worth exploring. If nature and urbanization offer the first great contrast of the Amazon capital, the coexistence between modern shopping areas and the legacies of its glorious past is no less suggestive. That’s right: in addition to ecotourism and urban life, in Manaus there are several historic sites that no one can miss.
Keteka grants access to authentic activities run by local tour operators and guides. You can book and secure your place in advance, and we will take care of everything else. We’ll let you know where to go or where you will be picked up and at what time.
Due to its unique location, Manaus is mainly accessible by boat or plane.
The Eduardo Gomes International Airport is one of the busiest in Brazil and can be reached from most destinations. However, the only direct international flight to Manaus is from Miami USA and will last about 4 hours.
Manaus can be reached by river ports from Iquitos in Peru, Coca in Ecuador, Leticia in Colombia or Santarem and Belem in Brazil. Furthermore, despite being a bit far from the sea, the city can even be accessed by ocean liners, which reach the port of the town located about 1,500 kilometers from the ocean. The cruise from Manaus to Belem along the Amazon River is a remarkable experience that will last about 4 to 7 days depending on the speed of your boat.
Manaus can be accessed by road through Venezuela, using the BR-174 which has a third of its road paved. Moreover, coaches regularly make the journey on this road, however be on your guard as animals frequently cross the road.
The second road is the BR-319 between Porto Velho and Manaus; however it is an 857km stretch of dirt road, impassable during rainy days, and hazardous due to reckless drivers.