We wanted to go to Brazil for the World Cup. Prices were expected to hike up during the tournament, so we decided to go a bit early and visit the Amazon.
Manaus is the main city in the Amazon basin. It developed rapidly in the late 1800s, and nowadays it exists uneasily as a big city in the middle of the jungle.
There isn’t much to do in Manaus itself, but the city is the gateway to the Amazon.
The main highlight of the city is this theatre. It is an opulent building financed by the riches of the rubber boom of the 19th century.
The building is open to visit during the day, or for performances on most evenings.
This is the main sight to visit in the city centre.
This research institute is worth a visit because you get a chance to spot some of the local fauna (although if you’re lucky, you might spot a sloth or two around the local beaches).
HOW TO DO IT:
- Getting there: TAP flies from Lisbon to Manaus directly, which is the cheapest and fastest option (being neither cheap or fast at over £600 and taking about 9h).
- Weather: Manaus is extremely hot. There isn’t much difference between seasons this close to the Equator, so the fact that we went during Brazilian winter made little difference. There are two main seasons, dry and wet. Prefer the dry season, when it only rains every few days. Many shops and restaurants have air conditioning, which helps.
- Food: Manaus is a great place to try a wide selection of fruit, which also makes for great ice cream. The local açaí is excellent. We went a few times to Tambaqui de Banda, a restaurant very close to the theatre (the only with air conditioning around that area). Service was friendly and the food was good. In doubt, order mandioca frita or tapioca.
- Stay: There aren’t many options available, so book in advance and check for recommendations. We stayed at Hotel do Largo, which was a bit basic but well located.
- Do: The best thing about Manaus is travelling around. There are lots of local tour operators, all offering similar options.