The gateway to the Amazon Rainforest, the city of Manaus is located in Brazil’s largest state of Amazonas in the north of the country and on the confluence point of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões which form the Amazon River. Founded in the second half of the 17th Century, Manaus got its name due to the Manaos Indians that used to populate this area. With rich architecture and of course the diverse nearby rainforest, this soon to be World Cup host city is thriving and is full of many interesting sites that are there for you to explore and discover. Read on for highlights of visiting Manaus as part of your Brazil tour.
One of the most visited sites of Manaus is the grand Amazonas Theater and Opera House which has a capacity of only 700 and was constructed with bricks brought from Europe, glass from France and marble from Italy. Said to be a copy of the Grand Opera de Paris, the ‘Teatro Amazonas’ relates to the wealthy history of Manaus with its rubber barons that afforded the biggest luxuries from Europe. As the home of the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra, you may be in luck whilst visiting Manaus that you are able to see the Orchestra rehearsing or performing live in this impressive theater.
The Meeting of the Waters
The Meeting of the Waters is a phenomenon that takes place near to Manaus at the confluence of the dark almost black colored Rio Negro and the sandy-colored Rio Solimões. Due to the varying temperatures, speed and sediment levels in the two rivers they do not mix immediately causing this visual wonder. At the ‘Encontro das Águas’ the rivers flow side by side for some 8km until they eventually mix and the river officially becomes the famous, Amazon River.
Mercado Adolpho Lisboa
Based on Paris’ famous Les Halles market, the ‘Mercado Adolpho Lisboa‘ also known as the ‘Mercado Municipal‘ is a must see during your stay in Manaus. The art-nouveau Municipal Market building had the ironwork imported from Europe however this does not mean that it loses its unique Amazonian character. As one of the largest markets in Manaus, it offers just about everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to fish, meat and indigenous medications. The market is a treat for your senses as you take in the unique energetic and lively atmosphere whilst being surrounded by typical Amazonian and Brazilian cuisine. Do not be shy away from trying some of the mouth-watering exotic fruits or to ask about some of the other stranger products at the market.
Bosque da Ciência
Located at the headquarters of the National Institute of Amazonian Research, the ‘Bosque da Ciência’ covers 13 hectares and is full of Amazonian plant life and wildlife. With animals such as manatees, giant otters and caimans in enclosures, you are able to get an up close view of typical Amazonian nature. As well as the enclosures, the park also has many creatures roaming freely such as monkeys, sloths, turtles, pacas, anteaters and a wide range of tropical birds. To ensure you see the diverse nature of the Amazon, make sure to include the ‘Bosque da Ciência’ on your list of things to do in Manaus.
Looking for somewhere to eat whilst trying locally sourced ingredients in Manaus? Recognized as serving up some of the best regional Amazon cuisine, Banzeiro restaurant in Manaus is run by brothers Felipe and Thiago Schaedler. The menu is full of fresh fish dishes from the Amazon Rivers, and the large Amazonian red fish, Tambaqui features on the menu in prized dishes of Tambaqui rib and fried Tambaqui. Make sure to check the restaurant’s website in English as they have a limited number of English menus and it’s always good to know what you’re going to be eating.
Are you ready to visit Manaus? Class Adventure Travel offers great South American tours, including Manaus, the Amazon and all the highlight destinations in Brazil!