Manaus is the gateway for any visit to the Amazonian region. It is a unique city which had its beginnings from the rubber boom of the 19th century and today it is a bustling city with an excellent collection of markets along the river bank; fish market, carving market, fruit market and a spice market. At the centre of Manaus is a collection of intriguing buildings dating from the late 19th century when the city was at its financial peak. The most famous of which is the Opera house, coloured pink, it was constructed using British cast iron, French chandeliers and Italian marble.
The Amazon region though is better known for its wildlife, although the feeling of being so far from anywhere is a large part of the experience. The lodges that allow you to get close to this still untouched wilderness, offer some of the best wildlife viewing in the Amazon basin; there are over 1000 species of bird, while you may be lucky enough to see giant river otters, pink dolphins and the perhaps even the elusive jaguar.
Our final piece of advice if visiting the region is to manage your own expectations of the area. The lodges are all geared up for an ‘Amazon experience’, so don’t expect Jacuzzi’s, Nuevo cuisine or even hot water at time! Also, due to the density of the jungle you will always hear more than you will see, but it is an experience of a lifetime!
HOTELS IN MANAUS
Tropical Manaus Hotel:
A large hotel nestled on the banks of the Rio Negro it provides a perfect stop over point before moving deeper into the Amazon to spend time in the a rustic wildlife lodge.
Anavilhanas is one of the very few genuine eco lodges in Brazil, and by far the best place to experience the Amazon as you stay in the heart of the rain forest. The lodge offers adventure and educational activities whilst providing educational and economic support to several small communities in the surrounding area.
The Juma lodge is a rustic lodge, offering excellent value for money. Rooms are clean and comfortable yet simple, and in tune with its surroundings. Built from wasted materials within the forest this truly is an eco-lodge.
Cruising up and down the Amazon is one of the best ways to understand the vastness of the region. Most vessels have smaller zodiacs which allow you to get into the lesser visited tributaries, whilst the advantage of being slightly higher up can give you superb sunsets over Amazonia.
You can choose from two categories of boats: traditional and premium. Differing in size and facilities, both offer air-conditioned cabins with private bathrooms, a covered dining room with bar, and a sundeck. Boats are large enough to offer spacious cabins, but small enough to dock at remote spots and cruise to hidden locations.
The MV Desafio is a classical schooner boat that offers an old world charm and an intimate atmosphere. The cruise offers exciting activities such as boat trips to lagoons and flooded forests, and jungle treks and you can also try piranha fishing and go alligator spotting at night as well. There are also organized visits to local river communities to learn about their unique culture and lifestyle.