In a little more than a week, the world’s biggest sports celebration will lead off in Brazil. In fact, this edition of the FIFA World Cup will attract hordes of tourists, locals and Football (Soccer for Americans) fans into 12 cities scattered over the Federative Republic. Among these cities, Manaus stands out as one of the rare host cities without a view of the pacific ocean but still abounds of exceptional sceneries.
Situated in the heart of the world’s largest rainforest, the capital city of the northern state of Amazonas sits at the intersection of the Solimoes (the Amazon River) and Negro (Black) rivers and is mainly accessible by plane or boat. The marriage of metropolitan landscape and the indomitable beauty of the Amazon contributes to the singularity of this destination in terms of climate, architecture, points of interest and gastronomy.
The equatorial climate offers two distinct seasons: a summer that runs from December to May, mainly defined as “hot and wet” and a winter, “hot and humid” which last for the rest of the year. According to TripAdvisor, June is the best time to plan a visit as it marks the beginning of the dry season with daily temperature averaging between 74°F and 84°F.
For the sports fans who will adventure into the rainforest, surely the Arena Amazonia will be the main sightseeing venue. A model project of sustainability, the former Estadio Vivaldao has been revamped to run on green energy, harnessing solar power and rainwater. Also, it features new restaurants, underground parking as well as a dedicated bus and monorail transportation system to easily get in and out of the stadium. This stadium will host some epic confrontations, among which an England – Italy on June 14 and a USA – Portugal.
For non-football related venues, reviews are wild about the Teatro Amazonas, the local opera house, home to the Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra, renowned for its distinguished architecture and the paintings in the in-house museum.
Daily boat tours take tourists on the Amazon to witness the “Meeting of Waters” where the Negro river and the muddy water of the Solimoes flow side by side without ever mingling.
If you happen to make the trip in October, you must not miss the Boi Manaus, a celebration of local folk traditions and Boi-Bumba music, held during Manaus’s anniversary around the end of the month.
With thousands of fish species present in the local rivers and the abundance of fruit varieties originating from surrounding forests and not found anywhere else in the world, travelers will feast on dishes such as the “Macu-Macu” tart and Tambaqui fish roasted on charcoal, or juices made of Açia and Cupuacu fruits.
Check out this list of local venues where to try out some these delicacies.