The Amazon River – Parintins and Santarem, Brazil

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DSC04711 C Along the Amazon River (600x450)  DSC04713 C (600x450)

This is a very big river and it’s not very busy.  Or maybe it doesn’t seem to be very busy because it’s a very big river!  The jungle comes right up to the river bank in most places so there is not much to see from the ship.  Needless to say, If you really want to see the land of the Amazon, a ship is not the way to do it.  Our ship made two “landfalls” as we traveled down the Amazon River.

The first was Parintins (pronounce ‘para-chintz).  It is on an island, Tupinambarana, about 350 miles from Manaus.

The townspeople set up a market for our arrival. 

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We took a short walk around town.

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Each June Parantins hosts a folk festival called Boi Bumba. Thousands of visitors come to town for a week long party.  The festival involves lots of music, dancing, costumes and huge animal floats.  The costumes and sets are very elaborate.  They compare it to Rio’s Carnival.  We were treated to a “mini Boi Bumba” where characters and giant puppets presented myths and legends through dance and song. 

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It is quite a production.  Many people have posted clips on YouTube so you can see a short video of the show here.

It was a gray day and we did get caught in a little rain shower after the show.  Then it was back to the ship and on down the river.

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The second stop on our Amazon River Cruise was Santarem, Brazil.  It’s about halfway to the sea from Manaus. 

We chose to do the Santa Lucia Arboretum tour.  First we were bussed along the Santarem-Cuiaba Highway, the only road connecting this remote region of the Amazon with the rest of Brazil. 


Then we covered ourselves with bug repellant and headed into the jungle.  Our guide took us on a walk pointing out and naming plants, trees and flowers.   



These are bird’s nests.

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The black blob on the left is a termite nest.  On the right are wasp’s nests.

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A cut in a rubber tree starts a slight flow.

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A peanut headed butterfly and bullet ants.  One sting is compared to being shot with a bullet!  Yikes!

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Back on the river we could see the town of Santarem.


There is another “meeting of the waters” here.  The dark water of the Tapajos River runs side by side with the muddy Amazon for several miles before mixing.

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We cruised down the Amazon River for another day, crossed the equator and entered the Atlantic Ocean.  

Posted in Brazil, Parintins, Santarem, The Amazon | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

The Amazon River – Manaus, Brazil

In the spring we took a cruise on the Amazon River.  We started in Manaus,  Brazil.  Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas in northern Brazil. 

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Manaus became a rich city in the late 1800 with the rubber industry. 

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This is the Customs House on the port.

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The rubber boom ended when seeds of the rubber trees were smuggled to Southeast Asia.  Manaus has been trying to recover ever since. 

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The Cathedral Metropolitana was getting some needed repairs.

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Manaus is located in the middle of the Amazon rain forest.  There are very few roads through the jungle or bridges across the river so travelers come by boat or air.  This busy port city is a supply center for villagers and travelers in the Amazon. 

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The Mercado Adolpho Lisboa, the central market founded in 1882, is right on the riverfront.  It is the city’s oldest market.

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DSC04608 C Brazil nuts  Brazil nuts in Brazil !

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The top tourist attraction in Manaus is the Teatro Amazonas, the Opera House.  It was built to be a jewel in the heart of the Amazon rainforest.  Begun in 1885 and finished in 1896, cast iron, steel, glass, marble, tiles and the interior furnishings were all shipped from Europe for its construction.  It’s opulence was a taste of home for the transplanted Europeans.  Now it’s home to the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra. 

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There’s a pretty plaza across the street.  The tiles are a clue to Manaus’s Portuguese heritage.

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Palacio Rio Negro was the home of a rubber baron of the 19th century.  Now it’s a cultural center for the city.

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We could see the opera house and the cathedral from our ship.

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The reason we were here, of course, was to see the great Amazon River.  Manaus is where two rivers, the Rio Negro and the Rio Solimoes, come together.  This “meeting of the waters” forms the Amazon River.  The city of Manaus is situated on the bank of the Rio Negros, the dark water, because it provided inhabitants with clear water coming from the mountains.  The muddy brown waters of the Rio Solimoes flow into the Negro just past the town.  Our ship could not take on water from the river once we left Manaus until we were out to sea.

The two rivers run side by side without mixing for 3 to 4 miles.  It is thought to be because of the difference in the speed of the current, the volumes of water and the densities of each river.

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From here the Amazon River runs for almost 900 miles to the Atlantic.  We spent the next 4 days cruising down the river.

Posted in Brazil, Manaus, The Amazon | 3 Comments