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Manaus gateway to the Amazon

Teatro Amazonas in Manaus

From San Francisco, it will take you eighteen hours flight-time and cost around $1,500 to reach Manaus in Brazil. Manaus is a sleepy little city left over and almost forgotten from the days of the Great Rubber Barons, yes rubber not robber. We had the Robber Barons and Brazil had the Rubber Barons. There was a time when natural latex sap was like gold. The vast sums these few Rubber Barons made found its way into the city of Manaus in the oddest ways. The Manaus Opera House is one of the remnants of these affluent times. It is a beautiful 19th century building and seems completely out of place today. Take the tour inside of the house and you will see how opulent times where once in Manaus.

Around the Opera House, you will find streets filled with bazaars and colourful shopping. The city is snuggly nestled into the mighty Amazon River. Its multi color shacks and shanties give the place character and at the same time reveal the poverty there today; how far it has fallen from its heyday.

No matter how interesting Manaus might be, it is nothing to the majestic splendour of the mighty Amazon River and jungle. Just a short 20-minute ride on a small boat will have you at the Eco Lodge. This is the place to experience the Amazon and its wilderness. The lodge is set deep into the Amazon rain forest and is only approachable by boat. Everyone stays in small huts surrounded by the rainforest. Once settled into to your cabin you will meet your personal guide. These guides are local people and they know their stuff. There are many options for tours, but a must-do is to board one of the larger riverboats and sail up the river to visit a village of local Indians. There you will experience their dancing and playing of native instruments; it is wonderful.

Join me again to continue exploring the Amazon in my next article on this wild and wondrous place.


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