The Brazilian rainforest around Manaus is one of the most species-rich areas on our planet. Besides the breathtaking flora and fauna, however, there are other highlights to discover.
The Brazilian city of Manaus is located in the middle of the state of Amazonas and thus in the middle of the Brazilian rainforest. The Amazon, one of the longest rivers in the world, meanders through this breathtaking natural landscape, which is one of the most biodiverse areas on our planet.
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PICTURES: Amazon Basin, Brazil
Photo gallery: Amazon Basin, Brazil
Manaus - Gateway to the Amazon
Manaus is the ideal starting point to explore the spectacular flora and fauna of the Amazon region. The Rio Negro and the Rio Solimões very often serve as transport routes here, on which adventure seekers find their way into the wild realms of the jungle.
On the numerous "Igarapés" ("river arms") of the large rivers, fine sandy river beaches, such as the popular Praia Ponta Negra, idyllic river islands, gallery forests and "Igapos" ("flood forests") are passed.
Tip: For such excursions through the picturesque river landscape around Manaus, you should allow at least five days. If you have less time but still want to explore the jungle, you can rent a jungle lodge (about two days are recommended).
In the jungle around Manaus, numerous jungle lod ges have been set up for tourists, offering two-, three- and four-day packages. The fatter the wallet, the nicer and more comfortable the accommodation, of course.
The price can be negotiated, the cost differences between the individual lodges are often enormous. Some of them can only be afforded by film stars or Arab sheikhs anyway. There are countless local providers for ready-made tours through the Amazon rainforest.
Tip: Between October and December, some Igarapés cannot be navigated due to low water levels.
Sights in the rainforest around Manaus
Flora and fauna
The undisputed star of the rainforest around Manaus is, of course, nature. The abundance of animals in the Brazilian jungle is phenomenal. Its inhabitants include jaguar, red macaw, the bicoloured tamarin (the rarest primate in the world), manatee, river dolphin, caiman, countless snakes and millions of insects.
In addition to the spectacular fauna, there are also many exotic plants to discover around Manaus. For example, the magnificent Victoria Regia, the largest water lily in the world, whose leaves reach a diameter of over one metre.
Hiking, swimming, canoeing and adventure tours can be undertaken in the spectacular landscape of the Brazilian rainforest.
Encontro das Águas - Meeting of the Waters
The Encontro das Àguas is on our list of the top 10 sights of Manaus and is the first sight to be reached on boat trips on the Rio Negro.
About 10 kilometres from Manaus, the black water of the Rio Negro meets the muddy brown water of the Rio Solimões. The two rivers do not mix for a long time due to the different temperature and flow velocity, and so the border between the rivers can be seen exactly over a distance of 6 kilometres.
Arquipélago das Anavilhanas
This 350,000-hectare river archipelago is located on the Rio Negro 90km upstream from Manaus. Mother Nature has created a unique landscape here on hundreds of river arms, lakes and islands.
Tip: In the rainy season from December to April, about half of the 400 islands are submerged in the floodwaters. The wildlife is thus concentrated on the fewer remaining islands and is much easier to observe.
Jaú National Park
The Parque Nacional do Jaú is located on the western side of the Rio Negro 250km from Manaus. With an area of 2.3 million hectares, it is the largest closed nature reserve in the Brazilian rainforest. The rich wildlife here is home to giant otters, manatees and pink river dolphins.
The best time to visit the Jaú National Park is between June and October. There is no accommodation in the national park, but the Rio Negro village of Novo Arião is a suitable base camp and starting point. It takes 12-14 hours to get there from Manaus.
Pico da Neblina National Park
Even further away is the Parque Nacional do Pico da Neblina, located 1,000km upstream in the border area with Venezuela. A drive to the base camp São Gabriel da Cachoeira takes 72 hours from Manaus, but in the meantime the village can also be reached by bush plane.
Two dirt roads lead through the dense vegetation of the national park, one runs for 193km to Cucuí on the Venezuelan border, the other reaches Pico da Neblina, Brazil's highest mountain at 3,013 metres, after a good 100km.
Amazon Research Institute INPA
The Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia is located 8km outside Manaus and has been dedicated to rainforest research since its foundation in 1952. At that time, the focus was still on the best possible use of resources; today it is on the conservation of the fantastic biodiversity.
The INPA has a collection of the flora and fauna of the Brazilian rainforest for visitors, which mainly presents the fish and insect world of the Amazon. In 1995, INPA was expanded to include its own research forest, which now covers 130,000 square metres and can be explored by visitors along winding jungle paths.