Travel Guide South America Brazil Amazonas Manaus



The Amazon

The Amazon

© Moonmonkey

Manaus might seem strange at first glance. Buried deep in the Amazon on the banks of the Rio Negro, near its merging with the Amazon River, is a city of over a million and half people! Not only is this a large city, it is also a major production centre for DVD players, mobile phones and computer monitors.

The city had a humble beginning as a small Indian village built around a Portuguese fort. The fort was built to stop the expansion of the Dutch from Suriname. The city slowly grew over the next two hundred years and the name was officially changed to Manaus in 1856 to honor a local Indian god. In the late 19th to the early 20th century there was a major economic boom because of the world wide demands for natural rubber. This made Manaus a very wealthy and powerful city. Examples of this wealth and power is that Manaus was the first city in Brazil to have electricity, a pluvial drainage system, water treatment, sewer systems, electric streetcar service and the first university in Brazil. Another great example of the wealth of Manaus is the stunning Teatro Amazonas that amazed the world at the time.

When rubber plants where smuggled out of Brazil it caused a major economic downturn in the Manaus area. In 1967 Manaus was designated an economic free zone, which allowed the economy to grow again. Today Manaus is slowly growing and is also a major starting point for tourism into the heart of the Amazon. This city is difficult to get to and is well worth it for its amazing sights in and around the Manaus area.



Sights and Activities

Teatro Amazonas



© sawalrath

Teatro Amazonas, in English Amazon Theatre, is an amazing opera house built in the city centre. Built in a Renaissance style this opera house took seventeen years to build, with construction being completed in 1895. The money for the theatre was funded by the massive rubber boom in the late 19th and early 20th century. The decadence in this building is outrageous with roofing tiles, furniture and murals of the meeting of the waters from Alsace and Paris. From Italy came Carrarra Marble for the stairs, statues and columns, also 198 chandeliers, including 32 made from Murano glass in Venice. The dome on the outside is covered with over 36,000 decorated ceramic tiles painted in the colors of the Brazilian flag. Pretty much everything was imported from Europe, including the bricks, except the wood. After the rubber market collapsed the theatre suffered greatly.

There were no opera performances in the theatre for almost 90 years but when a populist governor got elected into office he pledged to save the theatre. The theatre is now fully restored and has many opera and classical symphony performances every year. Since 2004 the Amazones Film Festival is held in the theatre now. This sight is a must see when visiting Manaus.


If looking for a short trip to a week stay in a lodge in the heart of the Amazon this city is a great lunching point. It is very easy to jump on a boat to see the Amazon, waterfalls and beaches for a day trip. It is also possible to arrange trips to jungle lodges from Manaus for adventures to more remote areas in the rain forest.

Meeting of the Waters

Meeting of the Waters - Manaus

Meeting of the Waters - Manaus

© DanSue

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.

Other Sights and Activities

  • CIGS Zoo is a zoo for rescued animals and a military training area.
  • Mercado Adolpho Lisboa is oldest and largest market place located in the city. It also has a nice souvenir market and traditional indigenous medicine market. The market is located between Rua dos Barés and Avenida Lourenço da Silva Braga, on the shore of the Rio Negro.
  • Docks - Go see the floating docks that were imported from England in the late 19th century.
  • Rio Negro Palace Cultural Centre
  • Justice Palace
  • Ponta Negra Cultural, Sport and Leisure Park - This beach, located about 13 kilometres from the city centre, is a very popular tourist destination. There are many bars, restaurants, a volley ball area, bike paths and a modern amphitheater that can seat fifteen thousand people. The sunsets are also very nice from here.
  • Beaches - There are many beaches near the city. Most of them can only be accessed by boat and during certain times of the year.
  • Anavilhanas - Located about 100 kilometres up river from Manaus, this place is home to the world's largest archipelago of fluvial islands with over 400 islands.
  • Cruises - It is possible to arrange cruises for anyone on any budget.



Events and Festivals

World Cup 2014

Australian Fans

Australian Fans

© Peter

The FIFA World Cup 2014 will be held in Brazil. It takes place from 12 June to 13 July 2014. It will be the second time that Brazil has hosted the competition, the previous being in 1950. The national teams of 32 countries will join the second biggest sports event in the world (after the Olympic Games). A total of 64 matches are to be played in twelve cities across Brazil, with the tournament beginning with a group stage. For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches will use goal-line technology. Twelve locations will be World Cup host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo. They cover all the main regions of Brazil and create more evenly distributed hosting than the 1950 finals in Brazil provided, when matches were concentrated in the south-east and south. As a result the tournament will require significant long-distance travel for teams. Brazil opens the tournament against Croatia, played in Sao Paulo on the 12th of June, and the final will be played on the 13th of July in Rio de Janeiro.




Manaus can be a very unpleasant place to stay if you don't like an urban jungle combined with high temperatures and humidity of almost 90%. Temperatures hoover around 30 °C to 32 °C on most days and don't drop below 22 °C at night, most times it is even over 25 °C though. From August to November temperatures can reach an unbearable 38 °C, certainly not the best time for a visit to Manaus and surroundings. Rainy season starts after this hot and relatively dry period with most rain falling from January to May. After this time, it becomes drier and temperatures are still fine. June is not a bad months to visit, especially if you like the highwater season near Manaus where you can enjoy floating through the forest by canoe.

Avg Max30.5 °C30.4 °C30.6 °C30.7 °C30.8 °C31 °C31.3 °C32.6 °C32.9 °C32.8 °C32.1 °C31.3 °C
Avg Min23.1 °C23.1 °C23.2 °C23.3 °C23.3 °C23 °C22.7 °C23 °C23.5 °C23.7 °C23.7 °C23.5 °C
Rainfall260.1 mm288.3 mm313.5 mm300.1 mm256.3 mm113.6 mm87.5 mm57.9 mm83.3 mm125.7 mm183 mm216.9 mm
Rain Days2120212019121079111218



Getting There

Floating petrol station, Manaus, Amazonia

Floating petrol station, Manaus, Amazonia

© Utrecht

By Plane

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.

By Car

You can reach Manaus by car from neighbouring cities and towns, but there is only one main road and that's to the north. All other roads (going west, east and south) are in terrible condition or even non-existent anymore. You need to arrange a 4wd and preferably travel with two cars to try and cross the Amazonian highway. Going north towards Venezuela is quite easy though and a 2wd will be sufficient.

By Bus

There are not many options to travel by bus to places further away. Most bustravel is within the region to towns and cities a few hours away. It is convenient though if you want to travel north towards Venezuela and Guyana. Buses travel between Manaus and Boa Vista daily and take about 12 hours. From here it's a few hours to the borders of the countries mentioned above. There are direct services all the way to Caracas if you want but this is a long trip and if you don't want to visit places in between, take a plane.

By Boat

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. Other services used to include Santarém to the east as well, but check with them if these are still running. Slow boats travel across the Amazon River east to Santarem and Belem, taking 1 to 2 days to Santarem and around 3 or 4 days to Belem. 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.

Slow boat
From Manaus, departing from Porto de Manaus - Estação Hidroviária do Amazonas (rua Taqueirinha nr. 25). Cost about 150 R$.

  • Fênix. About 1 day and 18 hours. Departs Tuesdays at 5:00 PM. With stops in Codajás, Coari e Tefé. Tel: (92) 99996-0004, (92) 99984-0044.
  • A Nunes II. About 1 day and 19 hours. Departs Tuesdays at 5:00 PM. With stops in Codajás, Coari e Tefé. Tel: (92) 99228-1616, (97) 99156-0668. Email: [email protected]
  • Leão de Judá. About 1 day and 19 hours. Departs Wednesdays at 5:00 PM. This boat is headed for Uarini (with stops in Codajás, Coari, Tefé, and Alvarães). Tel: (92) 99977-4021, (92) 99906-0022.
  • Comt. Severino Ferreira. About 1 day and 19 hours. Departs Thursdays at 11:00 PM. With stops in Codajás, Coari e Tefé. Tel: (92) 9320-9969, (92) 8217-6303.
  • Elyon Fernandes. About 3 days. Departs Thursdays at 11:00 AM. This boat is headed for Uarini (with stops in Codajás, Coari, Tefé, and Alvarães). Tel: (92) 8115-0000, (92) 8138-7777.
  • Monte Sinai. About 1 day and 19 hours. Departs Fridays at 10:00 AM. With stops in Codajás, Coari e Tefé. Tel: (97) 8104-5719, (92) 9252-1989.
  • Estrela de Davi. About 1 day and 19 hours. Departs Fridays at 5:00 PM. With stops in Codajás, Coari e Tefé. Tel: (92) 99401-3461, (92) 99268-6206.
  • Irmãos Miranda. About 1 day and 19 hours. Departs Sundays at 7:00 AM. With stops in Codajás, Coari e Tefé. Tel: (92) 99151-2942, (92) 99142-8608. Email: [email protected]

Fast boats
From Manaus, departing from Manaus Moderna - Terminal Ajato - Balsa Laranja (Av. Beira Rio).

  • Lancha Crystal I. About 14 hours. Departs Manaus Tuesdays at 6 AM and arrives in Tefé at 7:30 PM. Departs Tefé (returns to Manaus) Fridays at 5:00 AM. This boat is headed for Tabatinga (with stops). Costs about 260 R$.
  • Ajato 2000. About 8 hours. Departs Manaus Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturdays at 6 AM and arrives in Tefé at 2:00 PM. Departs Tefé (returns to Manaus) Wednesdays, Tuesday, Thursdays, and Sundays. This boat is headed for Tabatinga (with stops in Codajás and Coari). Costs about 230 R$.
  • Madame Crys. About 15 hours. Departs Manaus Thursdays at 6:00am and arrives in Tefé at 9:00pm. Departs Tefé (returns to Manaus) Sundays at 3:30 AM. This boat is headed for Tabatinga (with stops in Codajás, Coari, Tefé, Fonte Boa, Jutaí, Tonantins, Santo Antônio do Içá, Amaturá, São Paulo de Olivença, and Benjamin Constant). Costs about 230 R$.
  • Glória de Deus III. About 15 hours. Departs Manaus Fridays at 6 AM and arrives in Tefé at 9:00 PM. Departs Tefé (returns to Manaus) Mondays at 4:00 AM. This boat is headed for Tabatinga (with stops in Codajás, Coari, Tefé, Alvarães, Fonte Boa, Jutaí, Tonantins, Santo Antonio do Içá, Amaturá, São Paulo de Olivença, and Benjamin Constant). Costs about 280 R$.
  • Cidade do Manaquiri. About 12 hours. Departs Manaus Sundays at 6 AM and arrives in Tefé at 7:30 PM. Departs Tefé (returns to Manaus) Wednesdays at 5:30 AM. This boat is headed for Tabatinga (with stops in Codajás, Coari, Tefé, Alvarães, Fonte Boa, Jutaí, Tonantins, Santo Antônio do Içá, Amaturá, São Paulo de Olivença and Benjamin Constant). Costs about 260 R$.

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!

On all these boats you have a choice to spend the nights in a hammock or for a little bit more you can get a cabin, sometimes with airconditioning, usually only with a fan. In the latter case, it can become very hot in the cabins, so travel like the locals do and learn to sleep in a hammock, enjoying the fresh nightly air.



Getting Around

By Foot

Most of the city can be explored on foot but take it easy: it's usually very hot and humid.




Manaus has food for every budget but unfortunately many of the restaurants don't offer the opportunity to sit outside and enjoy the warm evenings. One of the exceptions is the area on the southwestern corner of the square around the Amazon Theater in the historical part of Manaus. The African House is good for lunch while its neighbour offers good food during the evening.




Downtown drinking near the Teatro Amazonas, lately spreading towards the refurbished Praca da Saudade. Others options in the Ponta Negra area, including the "Estrada do Turismo" -a string of nightlife spots along the road to the airport.




Lots of cheap hotels and pensões can be found around Av. Joaquim Nabuco. Many of these have hourly rates, and are not very pleasant, and often quite smelly. The area gets dodgy in the late evenings. Private rooms start at 30 reais.


  • Hotel Brasil


  • Hotel Continental
  • Hotel Anna Cassia


You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)



Keep Connected


Internet cafes (Lan houses) are increasingly common, and even small towns often have at least one spot with more or less decent connections.
An increasing number of hotels, airports and shopping malls also offer hotspots for Wi-Fi with your laptop computer or of course smartphone. Sometimes it is free, sometimes you need to register and there is a time limite and sometimes you need to pay a small amount for (day) use.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Brazil is: 55. To make an international call from , the code is: 0014. All cities use the following emergency numbers: 190 (police), 192 (medical) and 193 (fire department). However, if you dial 911 or 112 while in Brazil, you will be redirected to the police.
Brazil uses two-digit area codes, and phone numbers are eight digits long. Numbers beginning with digits 2 to 5 are land lines, while eight-digit numbers beginning with digits 6 to 9 are mobile phones.

Public payphones use disposable prepaid cards, which come with 20, 40, 60 or 75 credits. The discount for buying cards with larger denominations is marginal. Phone booths are nearly everywhere, and all cards can be used in all booths, regardless of the owner phone company. Cards can be bought from many small shops, and almost all news agents sell them.

Brazil has 4 national mobile operators: Vivo (Telefónica Group), Claro (Telmex/América Móvil Group), OI and TIM (Telecom Italia Group), all of them running GSM and HSDPA/HSPA+ networks. Pay-as-you-go (pré-pago) SIM cards for GSM phones are widely available in places like newsstands, drugstores, supermarkets, retail shops, etc.


Correios is the national postal service of Brazil. It is a government run postal service and overseen by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications. Post offices are generally open from Monday to Friday from 09:00am to 5:00pm, although post offices located in shopping malls have their own opening hours, usually from 10:00am to 10:00pm. There are no set opening hours at weekends and as post office owners can choose when to open and close. More and more post offices are open until 1:00pm on Saturdays though. You can check things at the nearest post office.

Sending postcards, letters and parcels is a rather straightforward process and services are reliable, though not overly fast when sending post internationally, mostly taking about a week to the USA and Europe, and there is a track-and-trace service for this as well. Domestically, there are both next day as well as more expensive same day delivery options. Stamps are available at post offices, as well as some kiosks or other places where they sell postcards.

For sending packages internationally, you can also used competitively priced private companies like TNT, UPS or DHL. They are generally much quicker and not much more expensive.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -3.107192
  • Longitude: -60.026127

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This is version 43. Last edited at 9:35 on Dec 22, 17 by Utrecht. 41 articles link to this page.

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