There will usually be one of two reasons to travel to Manaus, as most people exploring the region will either be visitors keen to see the wonders of the Amazon or business people there to support the management of the area's natural resources.
In terms of the city's attractions, the main role of the city is as a gateway to the Brazilian Amazon, and there are plenty of companies offering tours and different ways to see the rainforest. There is also the confluence of two rivers, which is why the city is located where it is, and some wonderful colonial architecture to be seen in the city too.
The Meeting of the Waters
The city center is located on the banks of the Rio Negro, but just a few miles south of the city, the river joins with the Rio Solimoes, and it is here that the real Amazon River begins.
One of the most impressive sights in the region is the point where these two rivers meet, and you can see the blue water of the Rio Solimoes meeting the brown water of the Rio Negro, and there are even boat trips that allow you to see up close where the waters meet.
Exploring the Amazing Amazon Around the City
Most people who come to the city will travel during the wet season between December and May when the rain cools the air and makes the temperatures that average thirty degrees centigrade a little more bearable.
There are several trips available to allow you to explore the Amazon, but be prepared to carry everything you need in waterproof bags, and make sure you have good waterproof clothing.
By taking these precautions, you can enjoy some of the most enjoyable experiences in the region, and these can include meeting the tribes that live in the rainforest in the region around Manaus. You can also take jungle trips either by boat or on foot, while tree climbing classes in the Amazon are perfect for adventurous families exploring the area.
What to Do
The Teatro Amazonas is at the heart of the cultural life in the city and is an opera house that was built when the rubber trade in the city was at its height, and you can get English language tours of the building, or enjoy one of the free shows.
A short distance from the city center is the Natural Science Museum, where you can see preserved examples of the wildlife of the area, along with some of the live exhibits that show a few of the Amazonian species of the region.
What to Eat
Food in the region is quite different to what you will experience elsewhere in Brazil and South America, and as manioc is one of the main crops in the area, the 'tapioquinha' is a pancake made with manioc flour that is filled with palm fruits and cheese.
There are also some nice soups such as the 'tacaca' that you will find on the menus here, and make sure that you try sugar cane juice, which is very sweet and one of the most popular drinks, particularly among the local population.
Getting in and Around the City
Because of the limited road connections, the majority of those traveling into the city will do so by airplane, with international connections coming through either Rio or Sao Paulo.
There are also ferry connections if you are planning to travel along the river. There is a good bus network in the city itself, and there are also taxis if you need to get somewhere a little more urgently.
The airport is around fifteen miles from the city center, and taxi journeys to and from the city are around 75 reals, while buses 306 and 813 offer connections that cost between 2.50 and 5 reals.