Manaus is the only city in the Amazon so if you have dreams of exploring the world’s biggest river and jungle housing the most species on the planet, you basically have to pass through this two-million person town. Originally, we thought of it as a stop-off to get to our jungle tour but found ourselves extending our stay to five days because were having such a good time. This largely credited to meeting the loveliest couple Debora and Mark upon arrival; they totally took us under their wing, showing us great local spots; otherwise, I would probably recommend three days here, two for exploring and one for resting after your multi-day jungle adventure.

If you get the chance to visit the Amazonas state, follow our Manaus City Guide for some great spots to check out during your stay in the capital.


Canto da Peixada: This is the local spot for serious fish. Ask to see their biggest catch (you’ ll need two people to lift it.)

Giselle’s Tacacá Stand: When in the Amazon, you have to try tacacá. This indigenous soup, which might not sound good from this description, is dried shrimp, tree gum, antiseptic leaves that make your tongue tingle, and a mystery broth that’s simply delicious!

Waku Sese: This cafe specializes in the highly coveted amazonian acai berry, which is is said to give you energy and a ridiculous amount of antioxidants. It is served like a frozen custard and they offer a ton of toppings. Their tapioca (not the pudding but a spongy pancake) is also a classic regional dish and is yummy with the local salty cheese.

Foodie Tip: Eat all the exotic fruits you can. The most amazing treats grow in the Amazon, and few ever get sold outside of the region. Capuacu’s sour/sweet custard-like goodness will tempt you into booking a return flight.


Hotel Tropical: This historical luxe hotel is 20 minutes up the river in Ponta Negra.

Go Inn: A hip new hotel that all the x-pats are talking about.

Hotel Ideal: This absolutely no frills place redeems itself with its unbeatable prices and balconies. Request room 201 for best river view.


Meeting of the Waters: Locally known as the Encuetro de los Aguas (by the way, you will be hard pressed to find an English-speaking person in Manuas, so it’s good to pick up a few phrases of Portuguese), this is the spot where the Rio Negro and the milky Rio Solimoes meet to form the Amazon. Normally this would be a non-event, but due to their different temperatures they run alongside each other for nearly a mile and their distinct colors make it a worthwhile natural phenomenon. Tip: Don’t get suckered into an all-day tour, take a cab or local bus 20-30 minutes to the ferry terminal in Ceasa and charter a private boat for $20.

Walking Tour: A self-guided stroll starting at the produce market and working your way east to all the funny shopping stands and beautiful parks and plazas through the centro is the best way to get a feel for town.

Amazonas Opera House: A must-see work of architecture and the tour is short and sweet. Free concerts happen on Thursday nights and you can listen in on rehearsals Monday- Thursday from 9-12 am. ( Debora and Mark are both musicians in the orchestra. He plays French horn and she plays viola; say hello for us of you go!)

Jungle Tours: Indian Amazonas Turismo was the five-day tour we took. It is run by Native Amazonians and based out of their family home (read: thatched-roof open-air structures) along the Urubu river. If you are down for true adventure and no running water or electricity this is a truly unforgettable experience. Ask for Cristavo, he is like a Jungle ninja and medicine man rolled into one. Another option that sounded amazing, was Amazon Tree Climbing Company. They run 5-day tours or even 1 day where you explore the jungle from tree to tree.


Hopefully our “City Guide: Manaus, Brazil” will help you navigate this urban jungle!

10 thoughts on “City Guide: Manaus, Brazil

  • February 18, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    I never knew such a big city was there

    • February 19, 2012 at 4:18 am

      Yeah it was a great city. Straight in the middle of the Amazon. and literally not a paved road to other major cities on the coast, only option is a 6 day boat or a flight.

  • February 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Hey Mike & Anne….Obrigado! (I think that’s the right word. I was in Rio & Sao Paulo in 85-86, before you guys were born 😉 

    Just catching up on all your great videos, photos, and commentary. Well done! You must have brought a shale-load of extra batteries for the camcorder.
    Cristovo is amazing…like having your own personal Bear Grylls along (hope he got a healthy tip)

    Take care and watch out for those jaguars – they ain’t like the ones you see on NYC streets 🙂

    Best wishes and stay safe (I’m very jealous!),

    • February 28, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      wow Rio in 85, must have been madness on the streets. have any old photos? post one on your FB and share a link!

      re: batteries, yeah have 6 batteries charged at any give time, and in the amazon we pushed that down to the last one.

      re: cristovo, he was amazing, and we gave him every last dollar (including our US cash), he was so great.

  • March 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I am headed to Manaus on Tuesday 3/ 27! However, its just a pass-through on our way to Belem (I’m traveling with my 88 yo grandmother, so I’m not sure if she would be open to a flexible itinerary), but I’m happy to read your story of the city- even if I can only reflect on your post from the airport window 🙂

  • December 5, 2013 at 9:55 am

    that was toataly amazing i also loved the fish and the chicken that is aslo very awesome

  • March 30, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    Salut Mike et Anne! We are a French-Uruguayan couple and we plan to visit Amazonas next June, so i was looking for a tour in the jungle in a young, natural way and I fortunetely discored your great blog of travels, thks for that. We are now eagger to visit the Forest with the amazonas indian tour, normally we never take guides but … the minimum will be welcome this time 😀 Did you sleep in hommocks ? and how many were you in the tour? How much did it cost the 5 days?
    If you come to Brest (France) one day, this is my email : [email protected]
    Cheers !
    Valentine & Andrés.

    • March 30, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Valentine & Andre, we adored Indian Amazonas. We essentially had a private tour (though so not a tour, it was a totally unique adventure) but we overlapped with a three people for one day at the basecamp/jungle honeystay. We slept in hammocks each night and they were surprisingly comfortable! We are trying to remember what it cost but we think it was roughly around $600 for the two of us. Thanks so much following HoneyTrek and keep us posted on your adventures!


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