Things to do in Manaus

Things to do in  Manaus

Concrete jungle > jungle

The gateway to the Brazilian Amazon is reachable primarily by boat and plane, and the forested landscape has been remarkably well-preserved. Travelers in search of an epic foray into the rain forest inevitably pass through this concrete jungle as a departure point. Manaus mixes cultures from the surrounding native tribes and the rubber boom days long ago. Explore this bustling city on a private or small-group tour with an expert guide to see where the Rio Negro and the Solimões rivers meet at the edge of the city, known as the ‘Meeting of the Waters’ due to the different shades running side-by-side into the Amazon River. Tour Manaus’ highlights by speedboat or land, including the Rio Negro Palace (now a cultural center), the opulent City Hall, open-air markets selling goods harvested from the river and the jungle, and the famous Amazonas Opera House. Most travelers use Manaus as a departure point for adventures in the Amazon rain forest, and a variety of tours suit every budget, schedule, and set of interests. Embark on a day trip to the nearby Presidente Figueiredo waterfalls to explore and swim, or book an all-out survival trek with a guide into the deep rain forest, for a few days or a week. Get ready to fish, paddle, or camp your way through the inimitable rain forest.

Top 15 attractions in Manaus

Meeting of Waters (Encontro das Aguas)

The city of Manaus lies at the confluence of two great rivers, the Solimões and the Rio Negro. Due to the different colors of the two rivers, it's possible to see precisely where they meet, which is what makes the Meeting of Waters, or Encontro das Aguas, a checklist must-do for visitors to Manaus.More

Amazon River

The mighty Amazon River and its enormous, thickly forested basin are the heart of South America and the guardian of 20 percent of the Earth’s fresh water. Visitors from around the globe come to Iquitos to cruise the river’s storied waters and catch a glimpse of diverse fauna both above and below the surface.More

Amazon Theatre (Teatro Amazonas)

Much of Manaus’ wealth came from the rubber boom, during which it was the region's most-important port city. Manaus Opera House (Amazon Theatre) is a fine example of the Belle Epoque-style architecture that was popular during this epoque; the interior features some 200 Italian chandeliers and furnishings imported from Europe.More

Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market (Mercado Adolpho Lisboa)

The image of the art-nouveau cast-iron Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market (Mercado Adolpho Lisboa) building is like a snapshot of the multiculturalism of Manaus as a whole. The building, inspired by Les Halles in Paris and constructed in 1882 during the Rubber Boom, is distinctly European, but when you step through the doors, there’s no mistaking you’re in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.As the city’s main market perched on the banks of the Rio Negro, vendors here sell a bit of everything, and for the visiting tourist, it’s a great place to sample exotic fruits, learn about traditional Amazonian medicines or shop for souvenirs, like leather goods and índio handcrafted items.More

Rio Negro Palace (Palácio Rio Negro)

Built in 1903 as the home of wealthy German rubber tycoon Karl Waldemar Scholz and then auctioned off after the decline of the Rubber Boom, the Rio Negro Palace (Palácio Rio Negro) served as the state capital and governor’s residence for many years until it was converted into a cultural center in 1997.Today, the main house and its outlying buildings contain galleries and performance spaces, including a coin museum and a fine art gallery. Visitors are free to wander the house on their own (most exhibits are marked with English explanations), but the Palace also offers free docent-led tours -- well worth it for those with an interest in Brazilian history.More

Port of Manaus (Porto Flutuante)

Manaus, the largest urban area in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, is also the most important port in the state of Amazonas. The Port of Manaus is as far up the Amazon River as oceangoing cruises can get, and it serves as a gateway to adventures in the rainforest.More

Ponta Negra Beach (Praia de Ponta Negra)

Ponta Negra Beach (Praia de Ponta Negra) on the Rio Negro is just over 8 miles (13 km) from downtown Manaus in a neighborhood known for its abundance of night clubs, bars, and restaurants. Visitors head to this popular beach destination not just to spend a day enjoying the sun and sand, but also to enjoy the area's famous nightlife.More

Manaus Botanical Gardens (MUSA - Museu da Amazonia)

A lush enclave amid the vast Adolpho Ducke Forest Reserve, the Manaus Botanical Gardens (MUSA - Museu da Amazonia) offer you the chance to experience the wonders of the Amazon without straying too far from the city.More

Presidente Figueiredo Sanctuary Waterfall (Cachoeira Santuário)

Located about 100 kilometers north of Manaus, Presidente Figueiredo's Sanctuary Waterfall (Cachoeira Santuário) is one of the top travel destinations for visitors to the region. Stationed along the Urubui River, where black waters meet the muddy Amazon, Sanctuary Waterfall is surrounded by thick rain forest and massive mossy rocks.Its picture-perfect location is ideal for travelers who want to explore the natural beauty of Brazil, navigate the rainforest and learn more about the flora and fauna that’s indigenous to the region. Plus, its close proximity to Iracema Waterfall and the town of Presidente Figueiredo make it a perfect day-trip destination for outdoor adventurists.More

Church of San Sebastian (Igreja Sao Sebastiao)

Along with the Teatro Amazonas in central Manaus, the rubber boom of the late 1800s also saw the construction of the Church of San Sebastian (Igreja Sao Sebastiao). The church was built in 1888, and although there are other more noteworthy cathedrals in Brazil, this one is certainly worth a visit.More

Manaus Palace of Justice (Palácio de Justiça)

Located on the main square in Manaus, the Palace of Justice (Palácio de Justiça) was built during the term of Governor Eduardo Ribeiro, the state governor of Manaus during the golden years of the Rubber Boom in the final years of the nineteenth century. The palace, with its grand architecture inspired by the French Second Empire and Neo-classicism, is a testament to just how wealthy the region was during its heyday.In 1987, the palace was converted into a cultural center. Today, the public can visit the building’s offices and court rooms and learn about the important decisions made there throughout the region’s history. One notably interesting feature of the palace is the statue of Themis, the Greek goddess of law and justice, on the roof. A departure from the typical likeness of Themis, this massive statue shows the goddess with her eyes uncovered and her scale tipped, suggesting that maybe justice isn’t so blind after all.More

Presidente Figueiredo

Located about 79 miles (127 kilometers) north of Manaus in Brazil’s Amazonas state, the municipality of Presidente Figueiredo is centrally located to some of the country’s most scenic attractions, making it a popular hiking destination. Nicknamed the “Land of Waterfalls,” it claims more than 100 waterfalls, including Iracema Falls (Cachoeira da Iracema) and Araras Falls (Cachoeira das Araras), as well as grottoes and lagoons.More

Museu do Índio

This museum run by a congregation of Salesian nuns boasts a nice collection of artifacts showcasing the history, heritage, and culture of the region’s indigenous populations. Items on display include pottery, weapons, tools, ritual masks, clothing, and musical instruments from the tribes of the upper Amazon.More

January Ecological Park

Giant water lilies, flooded forests, fertile lowlands, and rare wildlife are just part of what makes the 22,000-acre (9,000-hectare January Ecological Park so appealing. Visitors can navigate the relaxing waters while searching for rare tropical birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and brightly colored butterflies along the verdant lakeshore.More

Indian Museum

Operated by the Salesian Sisters, an order of nuns with missions in the Upper Amazon region, the Indian Museum (Museu do Índio) displays a collection of weapons, musical instruments, ritual masks, ceramics, tools and ceremonial clothing from the indigenous tribes of the Amazon rainforest, mostly from the states of Amazonas and Pará.Apart from touring the collection to learn more about the region’s tribes, the museum also offers visitors the chance to shop for authentic índio handicrafts, like necklaces and baskets made from natural materials, in the small gift shop.More
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All about Manaus

When to visit

Because Manaus is located in the center of the Amazon Rainforest, the weather here is often rainy or muggy. You can avoid the worst of the rain, humidity, and heat by visiting during the dry season, between July and December. This time of year is more pleasant for hiking and also offers other benefits: low water levels also mean it’s easier to spot wildlife in the rivers, and there are more birds and fewer mosquitoes.

Getting around

Tackling the congested roads of this sprawling metropolis can be challenging for visitors. There is an extensive network of public buses, but they can be tricky for non-Portuguese speakers to navigate; taxis may be a safer bet. You can also opt for a more interesting way to get between the city’s attractions (or head into the rainforest): hopping on the area’s many ferries and river boats.

Traveler tips

The Teatro Amazonas is an architectural marvel and the heart of Manaus’ cultural life. If you want a closer look at this opera house, which was built at the height of the rubber trade, you can book a guided tour. You should also try a steaming bowl of tacacá, a potent soup, from one of the city’s many street vendors (tacacazeiras). This dish is made with tucupi, the acidic juice of the wild manioc root (which is poisonous when raw) and is served piping hot in a cuia gourd.


People Also Ask

What is Manaus known for?

The Amazon’s largest city, Manaus is best known as the gateway to the world’s largest rainforest. Although it is typically considered a jumping-off point for Amazonian adventures, it has its own appeal with good beaches, interesting museums, and beautiful architecture such as the Opera House.

Does Manaus have a beach?

Yes. Manaus has several good beaches. The most popular is Ponta Negra, which has a children’s playground, cycling paths, volleyball courts, and a large amphitheater for live performances. The white sand beach of Praia da Lua is also worth a visit, as is Praia do Tupe, which has calm, kid-friendly waters.

What is a popular food in Manaus?

Fish is ubiquitous, but a bowl of tacacá (a local soup), is the signature dish of Manaus—buy one from one of the city’s many street vendors (tacacazeiras) in the late afternoon. Made with tucupi, the acidic juice of the wild manioc root, tacacá is traditionally served steaming hot in a cuia gourd.

How long does it take to get from Manaus to the Amazon rainforest?

It depends how deep you want to go into the Amazon rainforest, but, you would need to book a boat trip of at least three days to get to see virgin forest and the wildlife for which the rainforest is famous. Boat tours from Manaus typically last three to seven days.

Are there favelas in Manaus?

Yes. A large portion of Manaus' population live in favelas, clusters of precarious, informal dwellings that stretch from the downtown area down to the river. Due to potential personal safety issues, it is not recommended that visitors to Manaus venture alone into these areas.

Is Manaus safe for tourists?

Yes. Manaus is generally safe to visit. However, like many Brazilian cities, it has a high crime rate. It's recommended that you stick to tourist areas and keep your wits about you. Like in any major city, avoid carrying lots of cash and to stick to well-lit, highly-trafficked areas after dark.

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