The Gateway to the Amazon
Country or Place of Travel: Brazil
Region of Travel: South America
Article By: Ryan Wiseman
If you are into ecotourism, then you will want to make sure you visit the world's largest rainforest, the Amazon. To do that, you will need to come through Manaus. Everything is just a stepping stone away from here. So, what can you do while visiting this area?
Originally built during the rubber boom that brought much wealth to this city, Manaus today is a quickly growing city with about 2 million people, which is in the center of the Amazon rainforest, and is the capital of Amazonas state in Brazil. It is located on the Rio Negro, which is part of the Amazon River system. This city is a center for ecotourism. From this location, the ecotourist can go out to other locations within a few hours of this city, and see the rainforest and the river system for all their natural beauty.
The city itself has much to offer the sightseeing tourist, although there could be a whole lot more. This is likely due to the misappropriation of public tax funds by corrupt politicians, causing the city to have a dearth of developed public areas (The new stadium built for the 2015 World Cup cost about 4 times what a stadium that size should have cost). Although this is the case, there are still some things to see in this city. One of the most beautiful buildings in the whole city is the Amazonas Theater, which hosts the Opera Festival each April and May, and hosts many other plays and musical performances throughout the year. Ponta Negra is a large park on the western side of town, right along the Rio Negro, which has been completely redeveloped, is great for taking a stroll or a morning run, and hosts its own beach and amphitheater. You might also check out the CIGS zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the new Arena Amazonia, the lovely new Rio Negro Bridge which spans the river, as well as a few other parks in town.
If you travel outside of the city to nearby areas, there are several things you could do. There are many jungle resorts that allow the tourist to experience the rainforest firsthand. If you travel one hour north of the city to the town of Presidente Figueiredo, you will find that there are many smaller waterfalls for you to check out, as well as hiking trails through the rainforest to get to other falls that are more out-of-the-way. You can take a boat tour which allows you to see the river system firsthand, including the confluence of the Rio Negro and Rio Salimoes, known as The Meeting of the Waters. A couple hours away by car is the town of Novo Airao, which allows you to take a boat to see the nearby Anavilhanas Archipelago. You might also consider including a cultural experience and taking a longer boat ride, this time taking the kind of boat that locals use that takes you several hours upstream or downstream, which would allow you to see the river and sleep in hammocks like the locals do. You might also check out the Seringal Museum, which is a short boat ride away, and allows you to see what a rubber plantation was like a century ago.
Manaus is just a stepping stone away from allowing you to see the beauty and diversity of the world's largest rainforest ecosystem, which provides much of the oxygen that we need on this planet to breathe. Although there are just a few things to do inside the city, there are many things available to the ecotourist outside of the city limits. Get in touch with nature and seek a new adventure in the Amazon.
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