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Here is a list of places you can visit, take photos and enjoy the environment in Manaus. It doesn’t include specific places to eat and drink, but you have to try our regional coffee!
The list I drew up was all based on my experience. I tried to gather places where people can eat, drink, see nature, see typical local things, see buildings from the belle epoque and recent buildings.
There are many other places that could be recommended but you would need to take a boat or hitch a ride with friends.
Feel free to use the text, the images or the list and enjoy!
10- Praça do Caranguejo
This is one of the busiest squares in Manaus; during football matches this square is buzzing. It’s a place to drink, eat and watch games. Around it, there are lots of bars, ice cream parlours, lan house, street barbecues, grilled cheese stalls, bakeries, places to buy tacacá, there are big screens and lots of young people.
The Carangueijo square or Eldorado square (set name) is only worth visiting at night, and mainly during football matches because when there are matches, all the bars show them on screens.
On matchdays, the pavements and lanes are taken over with chairs
9 – Manauara Shopping
I believe this is now the most popular shopping centre in Manaus. And currently the biggest shopping centre in the north of Brazil. It’s decoration is totally inspired by fauna, flora and Amazonian culture, with a green area inside the shopping centre that is used by many people for lunch or to escape the air-conditioning.
The best thing about this shopping centre is the variety of shops and the number of things to do; in my view, it’s only lacking in terms of entertainment. The only leisure facility is for the little ones.
I don’t really like walking around a shopping centre but I always bring my friends here, to show them the decoration, the sauna that is in the garage, to show them some hi-tech things they have there.
8 – Zoológico do CIGS
The Instruction Centre for War in the Jungle (CIGS) has a zoo, containing various regional animals, some threatened with extinction, to protect them.
You will find animals from the black panther to the harpy eagle, passing from monkeys to anacondas, it is worth checking them out. Going to Manaus and not seeing the jaguar is only for the weak.
7 – Zona Franca
Well, it’s impossible to go to Manaus and not visit the Zona Franca (Free Zone), or best area of mass marketing in the Amazonian capital. Many people ask me, “So what’s going on with the Free Zone in Manaus?” “Is everything really cheap?” Well, I don’t think the prices are more affordable than in Sao Paulo for example, but it is certainly the place that has more varieties. I was born in the centre of Manaus, so I’ve always been used to going shopping for things there. The other thing I wanted to make clear is that there isn’t a physical thing called “Zona Franca de Manaus” but there is for example a technology park called “Polo Industrial de Manaus.”
What I see as the Zona Franca is a place in the centre designed for the masses, like shirts by the kilo, video games of all types, models and prices, clothes on every side. People by the millions. We also have a famous street for this, and we call it Shopping Bate Palma (Clapping Shopping Centre), because the sellers clap their hands and shout on the street to attract customers.
Some streets in the free zone are: Rua Henrique Martins, Rua Guilherme Moreira, Rua Marechal Deodoro, Avenida 7 de Setembro, Avenida Eduardo Ribeiro, Avenida Floriano Peixoto, Praça da Matriz, Rua Quintino Bocaiuva and others.
6 – Mercado Municipal Adolpho Lisboa
I certainly recommend a visit to the port of Manaus and better still, walk a little further to near the Rio Negro and find the Adolpho Lisboa Municipal Market. The market was built during the Belle Epoque, based on a French market that no longer exists, it has all the traces and materials from the old continent, BUT, forget this and move to the covered market, it is a famous fish fair. In this fair, you will find everything (so be careful with your belongings, you never know …).
You will be able to see and buy the most varied Amazonian fish for normal prices, like tambaqui, pirarucu, pacu, sardinha, pescado, surubim, matrinxã, bodó, etc.
You will be able to try regional fruit, and if you want, you can eat there as well among the mestizos, there are many restaurants that serve complete meals with fresh fried fish.
The building also features ornate gables formed by iron railings, and tinted windows.
5 – Praia da Ponta Negra
A trip to the edge of the Ponta Negra is worthwhile, mainly during the night; the beach area has been renovated and has some very cool areas for admiring the river, like, for example, the recently inaugurated viewing point.
On the boardwalk of the Ponta Negra, people jog, walk, meet for a chat outside the bars, and some bars also offer boi bumba (our regional dance) shows.
It’s also possible to eat, have an ice cream with regional flavours, see some artists exhibiting in the street, take lots of photos and play beach football, beach volleyball, or just look at the Rio Negro.
If you go during the day, the scene and the atmosphere will be different; during the day, many go bathing in Ponta Negra. I did so too when I was small, but today, it’s no longer recommended…however, you won’t turn mutant if you do.
4 – INPA
In the National Research Institute of Amazonia (INPA), there is the Science Forest, which is an open area in INPA. There, it’s possible to see some endangered animals, like the manatee and otter, furthermore, there is a trail to take through the preserved forest, you can check out the biggest leaf in the world, see the famous poraquê (the electric fish), and if you’re lucky, on the route you’ll also find the anteater (set loose by the INPA), you will also be able to find the sloth, or small monkeys.
The cool thing about INPA is that it is a reserve inside the city of Manaus and so, it’s not so hot because of the number of trees.
3 – Parque Senador Jefferson Perez
The Senator Jefferson Perez park is perhaps the newest park in Manaus, a public space built in an area that was invaded by stilts that interfered with the streams of Manaus and Bittencourt, two traditional urban points in the city of Manaus.
The park gives a glimpse of a bit of political, social and landscape history of the Amazonian capital, especially in the period of the rubber boom, with the vegetation, layout, architecture, symmetry, symbolism, in fact, the whole climate that marked that historic period.
The other cool thing to see there is the biggest State of Amazonas flag, which is 12.3m by 17.57m hoisted on a mast 60 meters high that can be seen in various parts of the city of Manaus.
2 – Parque Ponte dos Bilhares
The Billiards Park is a place with lots of leisure, sport and cultural options. There are two levels; the first level is decked out with numerous playgrounds, bars, jogging tracks, parking, and the second level has football pitches, a theatre, sports courts and bike paths. One of the biggest streams in Manaus also passes through there, cutting the park in half: the Mindu stream, polluted, but still historic.
It’s a good choice for quiet conversations, or to meet with friends. The environment is familiar and sometimes, there are artists exhibiting in the street in the park.
1 – Largo São Sebastião
Definitely the postcard of Manaus. The complex I recommend encompasses the São Sebastião Square with its famous cobblestone in honor of the meeting of the waters. The São Sebastião church is one of the oldest and most traditional Catholic churches in Manaus.
The Teatro Amazonas (Opera House), the grandest theatre and fruit of Manaus’s golden age. The Palace of Justice, also inherited from the Belle Epoque, at the back of the Teatro Amazonas. Some houses surrounding the square were recently renovated, houses in a colonial Portuguese style, there were many disccusions about whether these houses were authentic or not, but it doesn’t really matter. If they did not exist there, they would exist elsewhere in Manaus for sure.
You can eat banana frita, tacacá, pizza, enjoy MPA (Amazonian Popular Music), or if you stay in São Sebastião square, you can listen to opera during the night.
So that’s it. If you have a little more time, I recommend hitting the road and going to Presidente Figueiredo, a municipality 107km from Manaus and famous for its waterfalls.
Or even go to the port of Manaus and charter a boat to go to the meeting of the waters, the Jaú lake, take a canoe ride down the streams, visit pirarucu nurseries, etc.
Manaus is a great place for ecotourism. In many points of the city, you can buy indigenous art, and on Avenida Eduardo Ribeiro, during Sunday morning, there is an open-air fair. Excellent place to buy souvenirs.
I hope you’ve enjoyed it.
Translated by : Donna Bowater