Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A helpful Guide to your trip to Amazon

A big "thank you" to the Brazil Travel Blog  for posting this list of suggestions for people’s itineraries in their trip to Amazon!!! (I’ve just copied and pasted their awesome article below)…

Amazon river (Foto by  CIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture via flickr)
1. General information
2. Information on destinations
We have five information cards for Amazon destinations:
We have written with quite some detail on two of those destinations:

2.1 Manaus

As well as the information card destination: Manaus, we prepared a map of Manaus, blogged on the wonderful Teatro Amazonas, perhaps the only unmissable sight in the city; went off the beaten track to eat at the peixaria do Jokka Loureiro fish restaurant in Manaus; visited the awesome Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus and became worried by a new threat in the shape of a gigantic bridge.

2.2 Alter do Chão
As well as the information card destination: Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós, on our favourite Amazon destination, we gave plenty of details on the trips around Alter do Chão.

3. Photos
All the photos you will see on this blog post as well as many more can be found at our Flickr albums:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Legend of the amazon river dolphins and Amazon Fauna and Flora


Keeping alive the traditions of the “caboclo” (Brazilian Indian of pure blood).

Folklore is one of the most authentic manifestations of Amazonian popular culture in what it pertains to Amazonian legends that are part of the life of every inhabitant in the region. In any rural community, it is common to hear stories like that of the boto (river dolphin) which magically turns into a handsome man and seduces women. Alternatively, there is the scary story of the big snake, which for many is the explanation for the origin of some of the great rivers. Some legends tell that the forest is dwelled by mythological beings that protect it from the fury of hunters and timber men. The belief in fantastic beings like Curupira, the Iara, the Mapinguari, Matinta Perera and Juma provide an idea of the Amazonian enchantment and the cultural roots of the regional people. The folklore is kept alive through the formation of folklore ensembles with their own music, typical clothes, poignant dances, and rhythms.

In popular culture

"In traditional Amazon River folklore, at night, an Amazon river dolphin becomes a handsome young man who seduces girls, impregnates them, and then returns to the river in the morning to become a dolphin again. This dolphin shapeshifter is called an encantado. It has been suggested that the myth arose partly because dolphin genitalia bear a resemblance to those of humans. Others believe the myth served (and still serves) as a way of hiding the incestuous relations which are quite common in some small, isolated communities along the river. In the area, there are tales that it is bad luck to kill a dolphin. Legend also states that if a person makes eye contact with an Amazon river dolphin, he or she will have lifelong nightmares. Local legends also state that the dolphin is the guardian of the Amazonian manatee, and that, should one wish to find a manatee, one must first make peace with the dolphin". Search: Wikipedia.
 So, because this legend to this day, kids without a father are called "child of the Boto" in the Amazon.

The Amazon river dolphin, commonly known as boto or boto cor-de-rosa is very similar to a mammal dolphin, with the main difference that lives in freshwater porpoise and dolphin in the sea.
The boto lives in the Amazon River basin and can also be found in countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela.

Complete Legend:

During the rainy season (December to April), the river flooded large areas of forest swamps forming along its margins. It's when you can find the 'boto" closest to the people. At the start of the dry season, the "boto" moves to the major rivers and lakes of the forest.

During the June festivals, is celebrated as the day of St. John, St. Anthony and St. Peter, the local population of the Amazon region celebrates these festivals dancing, dropping fireworks, making bonfires and tasting regional food.

The Legend says that in these parties, in full moon nights, the "boto" turns into a young elegant and beautiful, good dancer, well dressed wearing hat and white shoes and go out looking for company.

The hat is a way to hide a large hole in the top of the head, made for the dolphin breathe since his transformation into a man is not complete.

This unknown and attractive guy, crushes and conquer with ease, the heart of the most beautiful and unaccompanied youth who cross his path.

He invites her to dance, seducing her and guiding her to the bottom of the river, where sometimes gets her pregnant.

Before dawn, as he has to go back to the river, the boy abandons her so she would not see him in the form of "boto".

It is also said that the dolphin can bring a sword strapped to his belt, and that at the end of the morning, when the time comes to go back to the river, all its accessories become other inhabitants of the river.

Older women with more experience, warn younger women to beware of beautiful men at parties, to prevent them from being seduced by the "boto".

Therefore, during parties, is necessary to carefully see a unknown boy using hat. Asks always for him to remove the hat for everyone to have the certainty that it is not the "boto" that is there.
Some say that the "boto" can also be a sort of protector of women, whose ships are wrecked.
In such situations, he appears to push women to the river banks to prevent them from drowning.

In popular culture of northern Brazil, when a girl gets pregnant out of wedlock, is said to be the son of "boto"
Text fromePortuguese
Fauna and Flora

The world's largest living laboratory

Biodiversity in the Amazon region is unique and the richest in the world. The forests in the region concentrate 60% of all forms of life in the planet, but it is estimated that only 30% of all forms are known to science. There are about one million species of animals and vegetables, including more than 2000 types of fish, 2500 types of birds, 3500 types of trees having more than 30 cm in diameter and 300 species of reptiles, snakes, and lizards. Of the 483 species of mammals existing in Brazil, 324 live in the Amazonia (67%); of the 141 species of bats, 125 fly in the region. With an amazing 30 million species, the insects form the largest group of living creatures on the Earth, without counting bacteria and microorganisms. One third of them dwell in Amazonia. This biodiversity comprises a strategic reserve for the survival of human beings, since it incorporates a considerable reserve of nutritional as well as medicinal plants.

Amazonia has the largest venomous snake in the Americas, surucucu (Lachesis mutus) over 3 meters long. However, in the forest there are less dangerous snakes than in other regions. Amazing snakes are the nonvenomous Jibóia (Boa constrictor), Sucuris (anacondas) and their relatives, slumberous giants of up to 13 meters long and over 200 kilos. The majority of mammals have night and solitary habits. The traveler may wander days in the woods hearing mysterious sounds, but without meeting any group of animals. However, aquatic birds enjoy their paradise in Amazonia. 

Jibóia (Foto by Dante Ungari Anelli via flickr)

Sucuri (Foto by Eduardo Santos via flickr)

Surucucu-pico-de-jaca (foto by Sanjay Veiga via flickr)

Foto by Mr. Colibri Freeway via flickr

Foto by Dan's world of pictures via flickr

Foto by Petrobras via flickr

Foto by Francisco via flickr

Foto by Petrobras via flickr

Foto by Dan's word of the pictures via flickr

guaraná fruit

Lily of the Amazon. Foto by Marney Queiroz via flickr

Lily of the Amazon. Foto by Vihh via flickr

carnivorous plant


Açai fruit

Birabá fruit

Cocoa fruit

Balata fruit

Friday, July 5, 2013

Manaus - Capital of the Amazon State

Manaus - Port region

Manaus is the Amazon’s largest city, an incongruous pocket of urbanity in the middle of the jungle, a major port for ocean vessels that’s 1500km from the ocean. The rain forest has a population density half that of Mongolia’s, but the journey there invariably begins in (or passes through) this bustling city of two million souls. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little out of whack.

The city itself has some genuinely rewarding sights, including a leafy zoo with as many animals out of the cages as in them, and a beach-and-museum combo that gets you out of the city center. It’s a place to stock up on anything you forgot to pack, or to refill your tank with beer and internet after a week in the forest.(visit: lonelyplanet)

Manaus was at the center of the rubber boom of the Amazon region during the late 19th century. For a time, it was "one of the gaudiest cities of the world".  One historian has written, "No extravagance, however absurd, deterred" the rubber barons. "If one rubber baron bought a vast yacht, another would install a tame lion in his villa, and a third would water his horse on champagne." The decadence extended to a grand opera house, vast domes and gilded balconies, and marble, glass, and crystal, from around Europe. The opera house cost ten million (public-funded) dollars, but its foolhardiness was demonstrated by the death by yellow fever of half the members of one visiting opera troupe. The opera house, called the Teatro Amazonas, still exists today; it has been restored, was used in the Werner Herzog film Fitzcarraldo, and after a type of interlude lasting almost 90 years, presents operas once again.

Amazon Theater - Teatro Amazonas (Foto by Barbara Nonato via flickr)
Teatro Amazonas: Italian Renaissance Opera House built in the 1890’s with marble and frescoes from Italy, wrought-iron bannisters from England, crystal chandeliers and tiles from France. Closed for many years, the theater reopened in 1997 and now hosts international entertainers.
Foto by Sergio Correa da Costa via skyscrapercity

hosted on flickr

Foto by SpecBR via flickr

hosted on flickr by VitalySky

When the seeds of the rubber tree were smuggled out of the Amazon region, Brazil lost its monopoly on the product and Manaus fell into poverty. The rubber boom had brought electricity to the city before it arrived in many European cities, but the end of the rubber boom made the generators too expensive to run, and the city lost artificial lighting for years.

Benjamin Constant bridge (Foto via skyscrapercity)

Via Skyscrapercity

Bridge at night (Foto riker souza via flickr)
Manaus arena (soccer)

Boats on the Amazon River

Manaus Mall

For those expecting to see only a sea of green of the Amazon rainforest when they fly into Manaus, the sight of a modern city with high-rises and a busy port comes as a surprise. Located on the north bank of the Rio Negro, 11 miles (18 km) above the Meeting of the Rivers where the Negro merges with the Rio Solimões, Manaus is 900 miles (1,450 km) inland from the Atlantic. It’s the heart of Amazonia and thus the hub of tourism for the rivers, the jungle lodges and the river cruises.

One of the most spectacular tourist attractions in Manaus, the meeting of waters is a must-see on a visit to Amazon. Two rivers that meet and do not mix its waters. 
The Meeting of Waters (Portuguese: Encontro das Águas) is the confluence between the Rio Negro, a river with dark (almost black coloured) water, and the sandy-coloured Amazon River or Rio Solimões, as it is known the upper section of the Amazon in Brazil. For 6 km (3.7 mi) the river's waters run side by side without mixing. It is one of the main tourist attractions of Manaus, Brazil. The same also happens near Santarém, Pará with the Amazon and Tapajós rivers.
This phenomenon is due to the differences in temperature, speed and water density of the two rivers. The Rio Negro flows at near 2 km per hour at a temperature of 28°C, while the Rio Solimões flows between 4 to 6 km per hour a temperature of 22°Cwikipedia
There are dozens of travel agencies that offer the tour to the region in itineraries that often include a return by the streams of the region. If the tour is done in a small boat, visitors can put your hand in the water during the crossing from one side to the other of the waters, and feel that the rivers have different temperature. The end of the tour is on a floating restaurant with typical Amazon foods.

As the largest city and a major port on the river, Manaus is commercial. Local industries include brewing, shipbuilding, soap manufacturing, the production of chemicals, the manufacture of electronics equipment, and petroleum refining of oil brought in by barge. And tourism, of course.

Some of the hotels:

Manaus Forest Hotel

Tropical Hotel of Manaus
Tropical Hotel of Manaus

Ariú Amazon Towers Hotel
Imagine a hotel built among Amazon treetops: catwalks 70 feet up leading from a great circular dinner room of polished tropical woods, a bar like an eagle's nest, a honeymoon suite built 110 feet up a mahogany tree, and friendly monkeys, macaws, sloths, and parrots scampering, fluttering, and dangling all over the place.

Forest Hotel

Another Forest Hotel around Manaus
Jungle Tours

The rainforest and the wildlife of Amazonia are the prime attraction of this area. You can spend as little as a day or as much time as you like exploring the backwaters and less inhabited river areas and the igarapés, or tiny jungle streams.
Foto Amazort

Foto Rainforest Cruise

Foto by Eli Duke by flickr