1. Try the soup that surprises
Manaus is the largest city in the state of Amazonas and a great jumping off point for exploring the rainforest, but before you leave town be sure join locals for a steaming bowl of tacacá from one of the city’s numerous street stalls. Made with the leaves of the jambú plant, this soup has the strange effect of making your mouth go numb.
2. Staple or superfood? Sip on a smoothie
Roadside fruit stalls are an equally exotic experience, selling tropical produce in eye-popping colours and overwhelming variety. Among the highlights is the now world-famous açaí, a native berry that has been a staple of the native people for centuries. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, açaí is usually referred to as a superfood. Açaí smoothies are sold everywhere and it’s kind of impossible not to have one.
3. Journey to the jungle theatre
At the turn of the 20th century, this city was one of the richest in the world due to a thriving rubber trade. The golden era lasted just 30 years, but in that time beautiful buildings such as the Teatro Amazonas (Amazon Theatre) were built using only the finest European materials. It’s an architectural extravaganza in the middle of the jungle and that contrast alone makes for a fascinating visit.
4. Fall asleep on a ferry
If you’re heading downriver, there’s no better way to go than aboard one of the region’s slow ferries. It may take three or four nights to reach your destination and booking a hammock on the deck as your sleeping quarters makes for a novel way to travel. Those who want more privacy can shell out a few extra bucks for a bed in a cabin or a private suite.
5. Experience the Amazon
If you’ve come as far as Manaus, why not go one step further to the Uakari Lodge in the Mamirauá Nature Reserve? Built on enormous floating Amazonian tree trunks, the lodge rises and falls with the river’s giant tides and is managed by the local communities. Quickest access is to fly to Tefe, then it’s 90 minutes by fast boat to the lodge. It’s hard to imagine anywhere more remote and from here you can visit floating river communities, keep an eye out for howler monkeys and endangered pink dolphins, and enjoy the pristine rainforest environment. Just watch out for the caimans!
6. Where to eat
Banzeiro (Rua Teresina, 102 - Nossa Sra. das Graças)
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