Manaus is the capital of Amazonas and gateway to the state, since the vast majority of tourists arrive through its international airport. Despite being located right in the middle of the forest and being geographically isolated from the rest of the country, Manaus is a city with over 1.8 million inhabitants (almost half the state's population) and which, thanks to its Industrial Center, has the 7th largest GDP among all the cities in Brazil.
Nevertheless, Manaus is not a particularly beautiful city. In fact, it has serious infrastructure issues, originated from a rapid and unplanned growth and also from the indifference of the local Government and the population itself. Chaotic traffic, poor public transportation, excessive electric wiring, polluted streams and (believe it or not) almost nonexistent urban trees, not to mention a heat often unbearable, are some characteristics common to the self-proclaimed Capital of the Amazon.
"Gosh, but then why should I visit Manaus?" Because, for the past few years, the city seems to have awakened to the seriousness of its problems and has since started an impressive revitalization process. Several squares have been restored and parks built where before there were only slums. New and modern shopping malls, restaurants and bars are springing up, slowly providing the city with several options of leisure, entertainment or pure and simple contemplation.
- Visit the historic center at night and enjoy daytime to make eco-tours.
- Public transportation in Manaus is chaotic and taxis are very expensive. Thus, it is worth considering renting a car, because the many sights of the city are not near each other. Having your own car also allows you to visit other cities of Amazonas.
- Summer in the Amazon begins in August and runs until December, having September and October as the warmest months of the year, when temperatures easily exceed 40 °C. The winter runs from February until June, having February and March as the wettest months. The temperature, though somewhat milder, is still at around 30 °C.
- Personally, I believe the best time to visit Manaus (and Amazonas in general) is September through November. Though the temperatures are high, the sun shines almost everyday, which makes it possible to do all sorts of eco-tours. Besides, that's the beggining of the dry season, when freshwater beaches start to spring up all over the state.
- Here you can find a map designed by me showing the location of major attractions, hotels, inns, bars and restaurants in Manaus and its surroundings.