By Brazil Nuts Director ADAM CARTER
The Gateway of Manaus
If you do stay in Manaus, you have two options: Go deluxe and stay at the impressive Tropical Hotel on the banks of the Rio Negro… and within walking distance of Ponta Negra nightlife scene, some of the best live music you will hear in Brazil, on the banks of the river and under the stars. But consider upgrading to a Superior Room, as the Standards are not in best shape.
Or consider the economical and downtown-located (walking distance to the Opera House) Krystal Hotel. It is a simple 3-star but is well priced and let’s you explore the funkier side of Manaus by foot.
There are two ways to “do” the Amazon!
Rollin’ on the River
The most romantic vision is to take a riverboat “down the river”. This is fine as long as you keep in mind the following: You don’t want to “go down the river” because it is too far and too wide and actually a bit boring – miles wide at parts! Very few people pursue their dream of taking a river boat from Manaus to Belem because once you learn more about the difficulties, time and cost involved, it simply is not worth it for travellers on a multi-city Brazilian itinerary.
Much better is to pick up a special expedition boat in Manaus and do a circular route around the Rio Negro tributary. It is smaller, more intimate, more adventurous and – since it is a black water system (as in “Rio Negro”) very few mosquitoes my friends! There are a variety of options; from the deluxe cruise ship-like Iberostar to chartering private regional styles boats for a Rio Negro Safari- ideal for groups of adventures or for families in search of smoothing different. Between these two extremes there are a couple of regularly scheduled riverboats that I recommend highly, with fixed departures and excellent facilities but a real “Heart of Darkness” vibe. One is the Amazon Clipper (and its sister the Amazon Clipper Premium). Another is the Tucano for more extended, 7 day expeditions. The Clipper group is ideal as they offer 2, 3 and 5 night programs and the itineraries are great. Read more about them on our site.