The hidden delights of Manaus
It’s fair to say the Brazilian city of Manaus has never been as popular with tourists as it is at the moment. The remote Amazon city was a somewhat surprising decision to act as one of Brazil’s host cities for the current World Cup, and fans from across the globe have had to take to river boats and ferries in order to reach the city to watch their team.
While never previously thought of as a tourist destination, Manaus has been exposed to a much wider audience than before due to the World Cup’s arrival; with fans from England, Italy, Cameroon and Croatia all heading to the city’s brand new stadium over the next month to watch their sides in action.
Aside from watching the football, visitors to Manaus are able to take advantage of some of the most incredible boat trips in the world. Dozens of boats set sail from Manaus daily for destinations such as Belem or to Sao Gabriel da Cachoiera along the Rio Negro, and visitors are able to explore some of the Amazon’s most remote towns and villages. Manacapuru, about 79 kilometers (49 miles) up the Solimoes from Manaus, are two fascinating day-trips from the city — in an adventure that is more about the six hour journey than the destination.
While the arrival of the World Cup has brought plenty of excitement to the region, it has also brought about it a fair share of criticism. One criticism levelled at the decision to stage matches in Manaus has been the heat and humidity, which often runs as high as 80% – far from ideal football conditions. With games behind held along the length and breadth of this huge country, teams playing in Manaus are rightly concerned that other teams playing in the south of Brazil will have an advantage later on in the tournament.