Amazonas is the largest state in Brazil. It occupies over 18% of the national territory. Located in the Northern part of the country, it has highlands reaching high altitudes as the “Pico da Neblina”(Hazy Peak) at 3,014m and “Pico 31 de Marco” (March 31st Peak) at 2,992m and also the most extensive lowlands in Brazil. It has an Equatorial weather with average temperature of almost 79F.
The Amazonas is bathed by the Amazonian basin, which counts for approximately 20% of the fresh water in the planet. Eco-tourism is the main attraction in different itineraries showcasing the best-preserved state parks and reserves with 98% of the original forests coverage.
A visit to Amazonas is a fantastic experience, enjoying the opportunity of knowing, learning and valuing the importance of tropical forests and the inhabitants who live in it and the people who help to preserve it for the future generations. Amazonas is also the most indigenous state in the country. It hosts 30% of the 584 indigenous tribes with approximately 80,000 people. Some ethic groups are isolated from the modern world.
The history of the Amazonas started with the Spanish period from 1532-1539 with the first explorers, colonizers and missionaries arriving through the Amazonas River and bringing civilization to the unknown land. Amazonas owes its development to the rubber cycle. During that time when the colonization formed villages and neighborhoods along side the rivers. In 1967, the Free Trade Zone was created to promote the import and export of products and the expansion of the local economy.
Amazonas has over 300 archeological sites identified, and since 1995, 57 urban sites were found, showing that the state has the richest and most diversified archeological assets in the Brazilian territory. Amazonian forest and waters shelter the most varied wildlife ever known. There are 324 types of mammals, 2,500 species of fish and 1,800 species of birds. The traveler may wander days in the woods hearing mysterious sounds but without seeing any group of animals. It has also the largest venomous snakes in the Americas and non-venomous like the Anaconda and Jiboia. This rich biodiversity is unique in the world. The forests in the region concentrate 60% of all forms of life on the planet, although only 30% are known to science.
This biodiversity comprises a strategic reserve for the survival of human beings; hence it incorporates a considerable reserve of nutritional and medicinal plants. The exuberance of the Amazonian culture, influenced by the indigenous populations are represented in the regional music, plastic arts, handcraft and folklore manifestations. An example of this culture is the “ Boi-Bumba de Paritins, which has attained international prestige and attracts thousands of visitors to watch the great show that tell the legends from the Amazonian region.
In Manaus, the state’s capital, there’s an extensive cultural agenda with the “Carnaboi” in February, the “Boi” in October and several folk festivals in June. Other inland towns host their own festivals like in Manacapuru with the “Cirandas (dances) Festival” and in Itacoatiara with the Folksong festival.
For the lovers of classical music and opera, the Amazonas Theater offers several events like the Opera Festival and the International Festival of Jazz. The theater is a symbol of the golden era of rubber in Brazil, displaying a refined ambient, showing bohemian crystal and floors with made of different types of woods from the region. The savors, colors and scents of Amazonas can be tried in the rich Amazonian culinary which values its more than two thousand species of fish above all. Some are served fried, grilled or cooked. Cassava root is another ingredient used in more than one way to go with different dishes as well, besides rice and beans. Regional fruits are easily found and can be appreciate in juices, desserts, ice -creams or by themselves. The regional breakfast offesr a fantastic gastronomic experience as well.
Amazonas is an enchantment to bird-watching lovers with at least 750 species in this state alone, which corresponds to 47% of total bird species in Brazil. Many tours are offered that allow visitors to watch them in their natural habitat and further enjoy their marvelous singing. another great activity is sport fishing that makes Amazonas the best place to practice it due to the number or rivers and its diversity.
Forest lodging is another great family experience in Amazonas. Right in the middle of the forest, eco-lodges offer a high-level service, where good service, safety and the exotic go hand in hand. There are forest hotels for all tastes, needs and budgets. The permanent contact of visitors with nature is the common feature offered by those lodging houses. It also offers forest trail walks, alligator spotting at night, canoe rides in the flooded forests, visit to communities that live along the rivers, waterfall dives and even some indigenous villages.
From the ocean to the meeting of waters, Amazonas is well regarded as a great place to take river cruises, thanks to the mild climate and incomparable beauty and natural richness. Cruisers visit to the region are seasonal from October to April. Many come from Germany and the USA. There are about 25 ships per season with different itineraries for all tastes. Florida is the main port for travelers from the USA.
The best way to uncover natural wonders in Amazonas is onboard a boat. Whether on a large and luxurious ship or small vessel, the tourists must be ready for astonishment. In the dry season, the natural labyrinth uncovers white and sandy beaches. Corporate travel is another big trend in the region, as many corporations choose the state for launching new products, or to hold special events and annual conferences.
For those looking for exciting adventures, unforgettable and remarkable experiences… Amazonas is certainly the destination to pick. Everything is made for a harmonious interaction with nature.
By: Gustavo Pedrosa
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