Manaus Lodges & Cruizes
Manaus, with more than 2 million inhabitants, is far from being the ecological city of our dreams. On the contrary, while Paris intra muros is barely 12 km in diameter, Brazil’s 8th largest city is 20 km wide! However, what you will be looking for here, 1,700 km from the coast in the heart of the Amazon, is not the great metropolis but rather the gateway city to an unfathomable world, intriguing with its mysterious ways. Manaus is at the gates of a “green hell” for those who venture there without a native forest guide… which can turn into paradise if you agree to respect it, remain humble and opt for the discovery of an accessible but no less exciting Amazon during a stay in the famous Amazon eco-lodges.
Geography and climate
Manaus is the capital of the Amazon located in the heart of the “lung of the Earth” in the north of Brazil, the only port in the world so far inland. It is a holy grail for some adventurers and for readers of adventure stories. The city’s humid and hot air and its vastness is immediately striking. Upon visiting Manaus, many of us in the West have one question in mind: how can one spend a lifetime in such a place?
Temperatures do not vary significantly, remaining between 23 and 30º depending on the time of day and night and the humidity level varies between 79 and 87%. Rainfall on the other hand fluctuates widely: it is abundant from November to May and more sporadic throughout the rest of the year. Due to the tropical monsoon climate of this region it is important to choose the right season to make the most of your stay.
Manaus lodges - Brésil
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A few words about Manaus
From the golden age of the rubber boom until today, Manaus is a city that does not do things by half measures. This island of concrete and tar in the middle of a green ocean was once known as the “Paris of the tropics“. You can still observe the architectural traces of its past grandeur today by visiting, among other sites the famous Amazonas Theatre which was built with materials imported from Europe. Manaus is also a meeting place and an economic hub. Its market located near the floating port allows people “from the jungle” to sell their products to city dwellers. It is also a geographical crossroads: the Rio Negro and Solimões rivers merge near the city. Their contrasting black and brown waters touching without mixing for tens of kilometers resulting in a curious and fascinating phenomenon.
The Amazonian forest and its fauna, a common preconception
Although the number of animals dwelling in this vastness is probably among the largest in the world it is difficult to see them as the Amazonian forest offers countless hiding places. Many of them are probably “ambushed”, watching us, the unsuspecting visitors. The real treasure of Amazonia is truly its flora and fauna. Enter the darkness of the undergrowth where scarce rays of sunlight only shines through with great effort. Birds sing, chirp or fly away shrieking such as the “bem ti vi”, sentinel of the forest and great informer of the animal kingdom, a kingdom that takes on its full meaning here. As this eccentric and stealthy bird announces our arrival with a sharp screech, nature and its inhabitants are warned of our intrusion into its most immense sanctuary: the apparently invincible and yet endangered Amazon rain forest.
In the midst of this unique, magical, infinite and fragile forest endowed with the world’s greatest biodiversity, although you may feel “at ease” don’t forget that you are outside of your realm. The majesty of the trees here is cruel. Many dead stumps and trunks remind us how fragile and shallow their roots are. They creak and swing gently with the wind blowing up into the treetops. At ground level there is no fresh breeze in this humid undergrowth. The humidity of the Amazon surrounds us and the nobility of the trees is overwhelming. The vegetation has absolute power here.
Leaves are rustling. A family of wild warthogs trots across the river, crushing Lady Theraphosa’s lair. The Goliath spider is largest mygal known to date. Columns of hard-working ants such as toacas have in some places carved the evidence of their relentless passage in the form of an arid trail, a dead furrow in the middle of lush vegetation. A burst of blue light on the green leafy background catches our eye as Morpho, the prince of butterflies gathers pollen from an orchid and gleams for a moment in a ray of sunlight that timidly shines through the thick canopy, then vanishes as it meanders between the trunks that block our view.
The Amazon River
The Amazon is also a river and with it water is ubiquitous. The Amazon River, so wide, so long that it alone accounts for one fifth of the world’s freshwater flowing into the sea. It has more than a thousand tributaries such as the Rio Tapajos which is 20 kilometres wide in some places. The amount of water that goes down them is mind-boggling. These rivers and streams and their maze network constitute habitats for exotic fauna: the famous anacondas and piranhas, or the more singular botos or amazon river dolphin… These aquatic meanders invite you to take a boat and go down their course, let the currents carry you with them and watch the swarming banks come alive at nightfall….
Our expert opinion
The Amazon Forest is an almost obligatory passage for those who want to perfect their knowledge of Brazil. The distances between Manaus and other destinations make it a main or even central choice in your journey and should not be just a stopover on your itinerary. Domestic flights themselves do not always offer ideal connections if the time you spend in the Amazon is too short. Our experience allows us to help you ideally fit Manaus in your stay and find the eco-lodge that will welcome you. There are many of them but we choose those that meet our quality criteria and live up to your expectations in terms of comfort and the time you want or need to spend. If you want to keep the traveling spirit that we defend, prefer an Amazonian cruise. Our team will be happy to advise you.
Why you should visit Manaus
Here are some of the great reasons to visit this Amazon region:
- While visiting Manaus, experience and understand the duality of this city which oscillates between the nostalgia of its past prosperity and the uniqueness of its status as a gateway to the Amazon region
- Observe the surprising phenomenon of the meeting of waters from up close.
- Enjoy the sweet contrast between the adventure of daily excursions into the Amazonian forest and the comfort of eco-lodges where you will spend pleasant evenings
- You will return from the Amazon with a palate full of with the exquisite flavor of Amazonian fish and all the local cuisine developed to honor them.
- Catch a glimpse of the lifestyle that indigenous peoples have led over the past centuries
Information and anecdotes
One of the most distant sources of the Amazon River, a small high altitude stream, is located in the Peruvian Andes and was only confirmed in 2001 !
The Amazon is said to have the largest number of isolated tribes in the world. These Amerindian peoples who are now protected have suffered multiple traumas during their rare contacts with the “modern Man”: diseases, violence, slavery in rubber plantations… In recent years, new contacts have been established with withdrawn and until then unknown tribes.