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Manaus, Brazil - Amazon River City Take A Ferry East Or West

Brazil travel blog by Mark Berman - February 2011   » View Photoset (34 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
I came to Manaus on a 12hr bus journey from Boa Vista in the north. I planned to stay a few days, have a look around and decide whether to
Brazil Photo - Monument to writer and journalist Jose Maria Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974) in park in Manaus.
Monument to writer and journalist Jose Maria Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974) in park in Manaus.
go east downstream on the Amazon River to Belem on the coast or west upstream back to Colombia. I stayed in a hostel in the center of town on a main street near many of the city's popular sights.

Exploring the City

The first place I was interested in exploring was the waterfront area on the banks of the Amazon River. The area near the river is called Centro. The streets are bustling with people and activity and there are shops and food stalls by the dozen and interesting market areas. I started off at the big park where there is the white and mustard colored church Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Conceição originally constructed in 1695. It has great staircases leading up to it from both sides that
Brazil Photo - Souvenir shop in Manaus near the river, masks and fans.
Souvenir shop in Manaus near the river, masks and fans.
have a succession of images of Jesus carrying his cross. In the area at the foot of the staircases there is a gold fountain feature that has many sculptures of children dancing around it and blowing trumpets at the top. Outside the park on the street there is an impressive clock tower with bells at the top.

The Riverfront is a Circus

Across the road is the busy river area with markets and much activity around the boats with people loading and unloading goods. It is actually like a circus down there. I gazed in wonder at all the boats from the street above, the people working were like little ants, a constant trail of men carrying boxes or pushing carts on and off boats to and from trucks. Some trucks full of stacked up
Brazil Photo - Shops and Bar Jangadeiro in downtown Manaus.
Shops and Bar Jangadeiro in downtown Manaus.
fruit worked from the street, pineapples, bananas, watermelons and other produce were being offloaded and counted before being taken down the stairs onto the boats below.

Passenger Ferries

The 3 deck passenger and transport boats were loading people ready to travel to all sorts of different places including Belem, Santarem, Monte Alegre, Tefe and Porto Velho and many others. Men sell tickets for these trips from up on the street.

Markets Near the River

The
Brazil Photo - The entrance to CIGS Zoo in Manaus.
The entrance to CIGS Zoo in Manaus.
markets up on the road are a great place to explore, but a little grubby with rubbish and vultures hanging around on the rooftops and diving down to eat the scraps of meat and bones on the ground. Being sold on the street were shrimps, prawns, red and green chilly peppers, some interesting herbs, spices and remedies. One was called Unha de Gato which in English means cat's claw, the packet said it is good for helping arthritis and cancer amongst other things. Back from the markets are many souvenir shops in a little park area. Some nice things including colorful wooden faces of natives to hang on the wall, things for shelves like wooden animals and birds, jewelry and beads, cool keyrings, musical stuff like
Brazil Photo - Bright colored feather earrings at the markets in Manaus.
Bright colored feather earrings at the markets in Manaus.
maracas, wooden flutes and pipes, also cane baskets, bags and bright colored feather earrings.

The Opera House and Justice Palace

I headed away from the river to the historical area and the opera house Teatro Amazonas, it was built in 1884 and took many years to complete before the first performance in 1897. It is quite a spectacular building with its huge green and yellow colored dome at the top. The theatre itself is a pink color with white trimmings, windows and portholes. From the road, stone stairways lead up to the theatre and gardens, the gardens have statues in all corners and nice pathways and fauna. Across the road is the Palace of Justice, a pale yellow and white colored building with pillars and balconies. From the theatre gardens
Brazil Photo - Boa and Anaconda Snakes in a tree at CIGS Zoo in Manaus.
Boa and Anaconda Snakes in a tree at CIGS Zoo in Manaus.
you can also see the nearby church Igreja de Sao Sebastiao with clock and belltower. Beside the church and theatre the large plaza with a striped and curvy design on the ground made of little pieces of rock create a confusing feeling, kind of like being in a room full of mirrors. The impressive monument in the middle is dedicated to the great continents of the world, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. It was now the end of the day and I went back to my hostel.

The City Park

I continued looking around the center of Manaus the following day visiting Park Heliodoro Balbi Roosevelt Gonçalves Dias. It has nice gardens with bridges and walkways through trees and fauna, there is a bandstand and water feature.
Brazil Photo - The 2nd colored statue of a man with a rifle outside the Provincial Palace in Manaus.
The 2nd colored statue of a man with a rifle outside the Provincial Palace in Manaus.
There are plenty of statues and monuments of interest also, to poet and folklorist Bruno de Menezes (1893-1963), to D. Pedro I (1798-1834) - founder of Brazil and to writer and journalist Jose Maria Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974). There are others including one of a wild dog attacking a wild bore.

The Provincial Palace

Right beside the park is the Provincial Palace, a great orangey red and yellow building with arched doorways and balconies, at the entrance are 2 figures (monuments) holding long rifles dressed in traditional clothing. Inside there are museums, an art gallery, image and sound, archeology. There is a restoration studio for works of art and paper, they have exhibitions and shows and events in the hall.

CIGS Zoo

I
Brazil Photo - Bar Jangadeiro in Centro Manaus has 2 large mannequin men standing outside.
Bar Jangadeiro in Centro Manaus has 2 large mannequin men standing outside.
had read somewhere that the zoo in Manaus known as CIGS was quite good so I decided to have a look that afternoon. It takes only about 15mins to get there from the central city by bus. The zoo is run by the army so it is a zoo with a difference, it is more like an army base with a zoo as part of that. There are a small bunch of animals here, not that many really and they certainly are not running around free like I had read they are. Animals include Night Monkeys which I didn't see any of because it was daytime, Squirrel Monkeys, birds such as the Bare-faced Curassow, funny Spider Monkeys who loved to show off and dance around in their big area in the middle and Capuchins Monkeys. There is a Crested
Brazil Photo - Wooden maracas, flutes and pipes at the markets in Manaus.
Wooden maracas, flutes and pipes at the markets in Manaus.
Eagle, Crocodiles, a Tiger, Amazon Parrots, Turtles, a Mantled Hawk, Boa and Anaconda Snakes, a Tucan, Red and Yellow-footed Tortoises, Blue and Yellow Macaw, Pigs and other animals in caged areas. It was a nice visit to the zoo however I wouldn't rate it as a super high thing on the list of things to do in Manaus. It's a little run down and shabby, maybe if they tidied it up a bit and had better viewing areas for the animals that would be good, maybe a few more animals perhaps also.

Boat Upriver to Tabatinga

After 5 nights in Manaus I had decided that I would buy a ticket for a boat heading upriver to the border of Colombia for which I wanted to return. I spent the next 6 nights sleeping in a hammock on this amazing journey.

     

View all photos in the Manaus Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Manaus (Brazil) to:


Map location: Manaus, Brazil. This was my 1st time in the Amazon in Brazil. I enjoyed exploring the city and getting on a ferry from here west back to Colombia!
 A : Manaus to Tabatinga (Amazon River) - Brazil 514 kms 514 kms straight distance
 B : Santarem - Brazil 596 kms 596 kms straight distance
 C : Pacaraima to Boa Vista - Brazil 654 kms 654 kms straight distance
 D : Santa Elena / Brazil Border - Venezuela 857 kms 857 kms straight distance
 E : Santarem to Belem (Amazon River) - Brazil 892 kms 892 kms straight distance
 F : Macapa - Brazil 1023 kms 1023 kms straight distance
 G : South Drain / Moleson Creek Border - Suriname / Guyana 1049 kms 1049 kms straight distance
 H : Nickerie & the Journey from Paramaribo - Suriname 1057 kms 1057 kms straight distance
 I : Canaima & Angel Falls - Venezuela 1076 kms 1076 kms straight distance
 J : Tabatinga to Leticia (Colombian Border) - Brazil 1076 kms 1076 kms straight distance
 K : Belem to Macapa (Amazon River) - Brazil 1079 kms 1079 kms straight distance
 L : Georgetown, Guyana 1111 kms 1111 kms straight distance
 M : Leticia - Colombia 1100 kms 1100 kms straight distance
 N : Paramaribo, Suriname 1126 kms 1126 kms straight distance
 O : Macapa to Oiapoque - Brazil 1139 kms 1139 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Manaus, Brazil:

Hostel Natureba, Manaus, Brazil - Large Photo
Hostel Natureba, Manaus, Brazil (February 2011 5 nights) - In a good location in Manaus near many sights in the center of town. There are dorms with or without air-con, basically if someone pays for air-con the rest in the dorm get it free. There is a kitchen, restaurant, tv/living room, washing machine. Not the most fun place I have been in, but fine for a relaxing few days. Book your boats for the Amazon from the port, not from the tour desk here, it's much cheaper.

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