MAO - Manaus


Capital of the forest

By Ricardo Freire

A multifaceted city. Manaus is incrusted into the largest forest on the planet, but it is also an industrial center.  It offers both the opera and boi-bumbá (folklore dance). It is the starting point for expeditions into the forest – or a safe harbor for those who don’t want to spend a single night away from the comforts of civilization.

The rubber economy built the Amazonas Theater in Manaus of yesteryear, but Manaus today with its almost two million inhabitants and  a skyline of skyscrapers on the margins of the Negro River, isn’t what you’d expect of a city in the middle of the Amazon.

Don’t let appearances fool you. The forest’s flavors and wisdom soon reveal themselves.   The best example? The caboquinho cheese sandwich: it is a tucumã (palm fruit) sandwich made with curded cheese on French bread, a delicacy of Manaus' fast-food.


O que fazer em Manaus

Downtown is so much more than the Amazonas Theater (with guided tours every half hour). Explore the surrounding areas: go to the cultural centers at the Courthouse and Negro River Palace and buy crafts at the Amazônica Gallery.

The tour to the Meeting of the Waters of the Negro and Solimões rivers is even more interesting when you go on a tall boat; the contrast is less evident from a speed boat. Travel agencies also offer one day tours and hotels in the surrounding jungle.

Those with a greater sense of adventure can board the recreios, boats that link the forest's main cities. This sort of anthropological tourism can be done in categories that are almost luxurious (purchase a cabin) to authentic local color (bring your own hammock).