Manaus, gateway to Amazonia: things to see

September 18, 2019

Suspended between colonial-style buildings and the wild jungle of the Amazon forest, Manaus holds many surprises for the European traveler!

Main square in Manaus, Brazil

Manaus is a city in Brazil, capital of the Amazonas state and a starting point for tours in the Amazon rainforest. Renowned among lovers of trekking and ecological tourism, it is actually a city rich in history and interesting architectural heritage.

It played an important role during the rubber boom, when the rich Europeans planned to transform it into a city similar to the European ones: not surprisingly, it was nicknamed "Paris of the tropics". With the decline of rubber, even Manaus lost importance, at least until the fifties of the twentieth century, when it returned to flourish thanks to tourism and electronics.

The climate of Manaus is monssonal, without dry seasons and with heavy rain all year round and above all from December to June. Its average temperatures are around 26 degrees.

Are you thinking of a trip to Brazil including Manaus? Let's find out something more together!

Palaces of Manaus, Brazil
Palaces in Manaus.

The history

Manaus stands on the left bank of the Rio Negro and its history begins in the second half of 1600. At that time, many European explorers were patrolling the region in search of new lands to colonize. In 1669 the Portuguese founded a fort, Fort San José da Barra, around which the village of São José da Barra do Rio Negro developed, renamed Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Barra do Rio Negro in 1832. After other name changes, in 1856 the settlement officially became Manaus, in honor of the Manáos tribe, a local population exterminated by the Portuguese themselves to make room for the city.

In 1889 what is remembered as "Rubber Fever" began, thanks to the discovery of the vulcanization of rubber by the US company Goodyear. The indigenous tribes of other areas were imported into the region to collect the rubber. Many natives were tortured and killed, until the disappearance of entire populations, while the demand for rubber in Europe and the United States continued to grow.

Between the late 1800s and early 1900s, wealthy local Europeans commissioned European architects to decorate the city in the style of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with the desire to transform it into the "Paris of the Tropics". So Manaus was the first city in Brazil to be served by electricity, the first to have a university, while from Great Britain a floating port was brought in the city center adapting to the rising of the river water. In 1967 a free zone was created and Manausbecame the main commercial port of Brazil.

Top attractions

A city with a cosmopolitan and at the same time wild atmosphere, thanks to its proximity to the Amazon rainforest, Manaus attracts many visitors who are interested in exploring the great green lung of Latin America.

In addition to visiting the monuments in European style, you can take boat trips on the river to the meeting point of the waters of Rio Negro and Rio Solimoes, forming the Amazon River.

The symbolic monument of Manaus is the Amazonas Theater built in 1896, but it is not the only point of interest.

Here is a summary of 10 unmissable attractions in Manaus:

1. Ponta Negra

At about 13 km from the city, this beach on the river is renowned for nightlife and for the many services, including playgrounds, restaurants and bars.

2. Paricatuba waterfall

A beautiful waterfall on the right side of the Rio Negro, near a small tributary, surrounded by rocks and lush vegetation in the Guedes bayou. It can only be reached by boat.

3. Tupé beach

About thirty kilometers from Manaus and only accessible by boat, it reaches an extension of 80 meters when the waters of the Rio Negro are withdrawn.

4. Anavilhanas

To see it you have to travel out of Manaus for a hundred kilometers, but it's worth it: the archipelago of Anavilhanas, near the city of Novo Airão, is the largest fluvial archipleago in the world, composed of about 400 small islands covered with vegetation.

5. Meeting point of the rivers

The meeting point of the Rio Negro and Rio Solimões rivers is another attraction of Manaus, to be seen by boat. The black waters of the first mix with the brown waters of the second, flowing into the Amazon River. For about 6 km, the waters of the two rivers flow alongside without mixing due to differences in speed and temperature.

6. Adolpho Ducke Botanical Garden

Adolpho Ducke Botanical Garden is located within an ecological reserve and is the largest in the world.

7. Mindú Municipal Park

Within the urban area of ​​the November 10th Park district, this park was founded in 1992 for scientific, educational and cultural purposes. Of course it can also be visited by tourists and hosts a very rare species of monkey.

8. Scientific forest

The scientific forest is located within the protected area of ​​the National Institute of Research in the Amazon. Here you will find otters, alligators (in a special nursery) and an interesting botanical garden.

9. Teatro Amazonas

Symbol of the Rubber Fever, the Amazonas Theater, is a Belle Epoque style opera house built by the architect Celestial Sacardim. Today it is famous above all for appearing in the film Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog in1982 and every year it hosts a film festival.

10. Palácio Rio Negro

Former seat of the colonial government, it was commissioned by the German baron Karl Waldemar Scholz, nicknamed "baron of rubber". Of considerable architectural interest, it was built in an eclectic style in 1903.

Teatro Amazonas in Manaus, in Brazil
Teatro Amazonas in Manaus.

Feel like visiting Manaus now, don't you?

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