Serving as the capital of Amazonas, Manaus is a vibrant city that lies on the banks of the Rio Negro in Brazil’s north. Situated in the middle of the world’s largest rainforest, it was founded in the 17th century as the Fort of São Jose do Rio Negro and was later renamed after the indigenous Manaos people.
Things to do in Manaus
One of Manaus’s most impressive natural sites is the “Meeting of the Waters”, which is where the black waters of the Rio Negro meet the muddy brown Rio Solimões. Boat trips offer a front-row seat for viewing this unique spectacle, with a clear line between the two rivers as they converge. For a bird’s eye view, take to the skies on a scenic flight.
Built by the German rubber baron Karl Waldemar Scholz in the early 20th century, Palacio Rio Negro stands as one of Manaus’s most elegant buildings. It was later transformed into a governor’s residence and now houses a museum detailing the story of rubber in the Amazon region. Antique furnishings and paintings are on display, as are changing exhibitions by contemporary local artists.
For a retail fix, head to the Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, which was constructed in the 1880s in Paris and shipped to Manaus by boat. It’s not only an important architectural icon of the city, but it is also Manaus’s largest open-air market, with everything from fresh vegetables to traditional indigenous medications for sale. Also inspired by French architecture is the Teatro Amazonas, a Renaissance Revival-style theatre that is among the world’s most beautiful opera houses.
Getting around Manaus
Eduardo Gomes International Airport is a 20-minute drive from the city centre and has flights to destinations across Latin America. Passenger boats travelling along the Amazon River stop in Manaus while buses travel throughout the city.