BRAZIL  |  Manaus, Brazil Travel Guide
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Exploring the Amazon

Exploring the Amazon

Many visitors make Manaus a pit stop before heading to a jungle lodge or river boat for a three- or four-day immersion in Amazon life. However, many local tour operators make it easy for you to explore the river and rainforest on day-trips, while you sleep in airconditioned comfort in a city hotel. The excursions are well organized and there are a variety of options – boat rides, visits to native villages, fishing trips, alligator sightings and jungle treks.

Meeting of the Waters

The most popular excursion is to the Meeting of the Waters, where the dark waters of the Rio Negro meet the sandy waters of the Rio Solimões to form the Upper Amazon. It is nine miles east of Manaus. What makes this especially interesting is that the waters don’t immediately merge – in fact they flow side-by-side then swirl into finger-painting patterns for several miles before mixing. This is due to differences in temperature, density and velocity of the two waters. The boat makes its way along the bank of the Rio Negro, where the entire city is laid out – the suburb of Manaus Educandos and its houses on stilts, the factories of the industrial zone and the Municipal Market are all on view.

You can visit the Meeting of the Waters on a half- or a full-day tour. The full-day option includes lunch, often at a floating thatched hut eatery, and a stop at Parque Ecológico do January, where you’ll see giant water lily pads and small local animals. Often included are motorboat rides through smaller streams and bayous.

Salvador Lake & Anavilhanas Archipelago

Other tours to consider are those that visit Salvador Lake or Anavilhanas Archipelago. Lake Salvador is only 45 minutes away from Manaus. A small motor boat travels along the igarape (flooded woodlands) to the lake that is part of a natural reserve where tapirs, capybaras, jaguars, monkeys, snakes and birds can be seen. There are alligators and piranhas in the lake. You can fish or hike along a forest trail. The Anavilhanas Islands are 60 km/37 miles from Manaus. There are over 380 islands, making it the world’s largest freshwater archipelago. You’ll see lots of birds. The area is an ecological reserve and ecotourism park. Nighttime tours are also offered.

Presidente Figueiredo

Not all the tours offered are water-based. Two hours north of Manaus is the town of Presidente Figueiredo, which was established in 1981. It has dozens of waterfalls – some over 140 feet high – as well as caves with prehistoric paintings and pottery fragments. You can swim in the black water streams and hike in the forest. It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours.

Last updated May 17, 2011
Posted in   Brazil  |  Manaus
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