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Amazonas is a state of Brazil, located in the northwestern corner of the country.
Amazonas borders the Brazilian states of Roraima, Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, and Acre. It also borders Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. This includes the department Amazonas in Colombia, as well as the Amazonas State, Venezuela, and the Loreto Region in Peru. Amazonas is named after the Amazon River, and home to the highest mountain in Brazil, Pico da Neblina, a tepui which stands at 2,994 metres above sea level.
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The Amazon Rainforest contains over half of the rainforest in the world and is by far the largest rainforest with about 7 million square kilometres. The area actually containing forest is slightly smaller and is divided by 9 countries of which Brazil has the largest part. Manaus is the gateway to the Brazilian central Amazon, and although there are many trips from here, you are better of if you venture deeper into the rainforest and visit from for example Tefe, where you can travel further towards the fantastic Mamiraua Sustainable Development Reserve, with an abundance of flora and fauna. For more information about the lungs of our planet, read the Amazon Rainforest article.
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This is where the black waters of the Rio Negro meet with the muddy brown water of the Rio Solimões to form the Amazon River. Because the rivers are different temperatures and run at different speeds it makes them run side by side for almost 6 kilometres. The two rivers then slowly mix together to make the mother of all rivers. The Rio Negro flows at around 2 kilometres and hour at 28 °C while the Rio Solimões flows at 4 to 6 kilometres and hour at 22 °C.
Teatro Amazonas, in English Amazon Theatre, is an amazing opera house built in the city of Manaus. Built in a Renaissance style this opera house took seventeen years to build, with construction being completed in1895. The money for the theatre was funded by the massive rubber boom in the late 19th and early 20th century. The decadence in this build is outrageous with roofing tiles, furniture and murals of the meeting of the waters from Alsace and Paris.
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Although Carnival (or Carnaval) is a festivity that is celebrated in vast (Catholic) areas in the world, the best is definately found in Brazil. Almost every city has its own Carnival, but the most famous one definately is in Rio de Janeiro. Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. Everything in the country comes to a complete stop for almost a week and festivities are go on day and night. The celebrations happen in almost every city and town and is a mixture of Christian, Pagan and Native Brazilian traditions. Carnival is an annual festival held forty-six days before Easter. It is held the 4 days before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Roman Catholics and some other Christians used to abstaine from the consumption of meat and that is where the name "carnival," meaning "to remove or raise meat", originally comes from. Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another.
Amazonas' climate is hot and humid with daytime temperatures mostly around or slightly above 30 °C and balmy nights, mostly staying above 20 °C. Although there are no real dry months, most rain tends to fall from October to early May, while June to September is relatively dry.
Eduardo Gomes International Airport (MAO) is the major airport in the area. The airport has 2 terminals where Terminal 1 receives domestic and international flights while Terminal 2 receives regional flights and some private jets. Be aware that the terminals are about 700 metres apart from eachother and when you have a taxi waiting for you, be sure to name the airport or give flight details. The airport handled 2 million passengers in 2007. The easiest way to reach Manaus is by air. There are flights from cities such as Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo (City), Quito and several other international and domestic cities.
Peru and Colombia
The Amazon functions as the riverine highway of Brazil and many neighbouring countries. Although there are no scheduled services to other countries, you can travel the entire lenght from Belem in the east to the border with Colombia and Peru in the west on many boats. Accommodation is usually in hammocks and it is a great way to experience local Amazonian life. The border is also called the triple frontier and from here on you can travel the Amazone even further into Peru to the city of Iquitos and even Pucallpa.
Other trips less popular with travellers are routes to Porto Velho in the south along the Rio Madeira and north to São Gabriel da Cachoeira travelling along the Rio Negro. The first takes about 4 days, the second almost a week!
TRIP has flights between Tefe and Manaus. Some flights might make additional stops at the towns of Carauari and Coari.
Manaus is the gateway of the Amazon regarding boat travel. You have a choice of taking slowboats to most places and several fast boats to a few places as well. These fast boats are really only an alternative if you don't want to take a slow boat and you are not able to take a plane. They might be a bit cheaper than planes, but take much longer still and seating is plane like with a few good meals. AJATO is the main operator and travels to Tefé in about 12 hours and all the way to Tabatinga in 31 hours once or twice a weak. To the west along the Solimoes River, travel is much slower because you go upstream. It takes around 2 days to reach Tefé and another 3 or so to reach Tabatinga on the border with Colombia and Peru. From here you can travel even further into Peru to the city of Iquitos. Food is included, but you're best advised to bring snacks and bottled water. Traveling upstream from Manaus to Tabatinga, the trip costs about US$110 in your hammock or US$330 for a double cabin. From Tabatinga, the trip to Manaus takes three days and four nights and costs around US$65 if you bring your own hammock, or around US$240 for two people in a double cabin.
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