Home to an abundant number of plant, fish, bird and mammal species, the Brazilian Amazon is a top destination for jungle tourism in South America. With Brazil being one of the largest countries on earth, it has an endless amount of places to visit. Home to 60% of the Amazon rainforest, this region is a must-see while exploring in Brazil. Lucky for you we have narrowed down the large region to the top 7 places to visit while exploring the Brazilian Amazon:
1. THE MEETING OF THE WATERS
This natural extravaganza will blow your mind as you view the Rio Negro flow into the main stream of the Amazon River through many spirals and whirlpool motions. The Rio Negro’s color resembles coffee and people often say that the mix of the Amazon looks like the cream being poured in. This phenomenon is related to different current speeds, water temperatures, and sediment levels. This mixing pot goes on for around 3.7 miles until the two rivers merge into one. This is the only place in the entire world you can witness this unique spectacle. See if you can spot some freshwater river dolphins as this is where they sometimes like to hangout.
2. RUBBER PLANTATION MUSEUM
Learn about the history of the Brazilian Amazon and the rubber industry by visiting the Museu do Seringal Vila Paraiso. Once restored from an original rubber plantation, the museum displays the harsh conditions the past slaves once had to work through. Experience the hard work yourself by attempting to tap a rubber tree for its latex. You’ll also get to watch the process of raw latex being heated up and formed into huge rubber balls that go on to be manufactured into familiar products. The museum is a 20-minute boat ride from Maina Davi and is open every day, except Mondays, from 8 am - 4 pm.
3. PARQUE ECOLOGICO JANUARI
Parque Ecologico Januari is a great taste of the Amazon that is still within easy reach of the city. This park is located in Rio Negro and is a one-hour boat trip from Manaus. Take in the various Amazon wildlife ranging from colorful birds, howler monkeys, and caiman that call these flooded forests and wetlands their home. However, you can’t leave the park without viewing the giant Victoria lily pads that grow over the shallow and still waters. The size you will have to see in person to believe as some of these giant green pads have a diameter up to 7 feet across. If you are lucky, you’ll get to see the symbol of the Amazon in bloom. The giant lily pad flower starts out as a white flower before transitioning into a lilac shade and then dark red before it dies. This whole process is super quick as it takes place over the course of 3 days.
4. TUPE BEACH
Home to the Dessana tribe, you can pay Tupé beach a visit to witness some indigenous Amazon life. Locals rely on tourism and will share their traditional song and dance routines, hold informative Q&A sessions and have handmade artisan goods for purchase. Embrace the culture while enjoying your time at this beautiful beach on the Amazon river with its white sands and calm surrounding waters.
5. JAU NATIONAL PARK
Notoriously known to be the largest national park in Brazil and all of Latin American, Jau National Park has thousands of square miles of Amazonian Rainforest to offer. This park is an extremely important ecological center due to the number of endemic species it holds along with the richness of the accompanying flora and fauna. This park is open year-round and is best visited between July and September when there is less consistent rainfall. However, the time between November and January brings extensive beaches that are formed along the rivers. The best way to discover this region is through the waterways in a flying boat. If planning to visit this park, the largest cities nearby are Novo Airão (located in the south of the park) and Barcelos (located in the north of the park). Both cities offer options for restaurants and simple accommodation.
6. INPA SCIENCE CENTER
If you are a traveler on a tight budget or schedule and cannot accommodate a full jungle tour, a visit to the Brazilian National Institute for Amazonian Research (INPA) is perfect for you. With a short taxi ride from the city center of Manaus, you’ll find a botanical garden and park with labeled trees and plants. You’ll find various wildlife such as manatees, turtles, otters, catfish, electric eels, freshwater rays, macaws, tamarins, squirrel monkeys, frogs, sloths, and caiman. The Casa da Ciência on the property offers a scientific background to the surrounding Amazon ecology and also goes over major threats to the rainforest such as illegal lumber, dams, mining, and urban sprawl.
7. PRESIDENTE FIGUEIREDO
For some R&R away from the dusty and heated city, take a few days to explore the small town of Presidente Figueiredo, also known as the “Land of the Waterfalls”. Located around a two-hour drive from Manaus, visitors will want time to visit the two main waterfalls. Sanctuary Waterfalls offers a fairytale atmosphere with the lush surrounding vegetation and moss-covered rocks. Additionally, Iracema Waterfalls offers a relaxing swim in the pools at the base of the cascading water. This area also has many caves, the most famous being the Maroaga cave, which many bats, lizards, and insects call home. If paying Presidente Figueiredo a visit, this is also a great time to stop by Terra da Cachoeiras as it is nearby.
There you have it, the top 7 pristine and diverse destinations Brazil’s rainforest has to offer. Which one stands out the most to you? What unique species are you most excited to see? Time to explore the Amazon! Grab your jungle hat and let Acanela plan your next Brazillian Amazon adventure!
Post written by: Kirsten Cusack, @kirqsak