A mixture of European, African and indigenous influences, the culture of the North region of Brazil is extremely diverse and rich. It is expressed with great personality in aspects such as music, dance, festivals, cuisine, architecture and many others.
Let’s start the tour with one of the best known tourist attractions in Belém, the Ver-o-Peso Market, on the banks of the Guamá river. On its hundreds of stalls, you can find a little of everything that comes to and that is produced in the city: fresh fish, typical fruits, local cachaças (distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice), exotic seasonings, various garments, medicinal herbs, indigenous handicrafts and more. And, if you get hungry, head to the restaurants on the banks of the river, which serve freshly prepared regional specialties.
Located next to it, Estação das Docas is where the boats that go to the nearby islands depart from. One of them takes visitors to enjoy the Sunset while sailing on Guamá’s waters. It’s unforgettable! At the docks you can also learn about the history of the occupation of Belém, eat in good restaurants and buy souvenirs of the city, such as the famous cachaça de jambu, which numbs the tongue.
At night, nothing better than listening (and dancing) to the local music. From tecnobrega to carimbó and guitarrada, there is music for all tastes. In Estação das Docas itself there is a weekly cultural programming which includes these presentations.
On the second day, start the programming with Basílica de Nossa Senhora de Nazaré, which hosts the Círio de Nazaré feast. One of the biggest Brazilian manifestations of faith, the festival attracts millions of people to Belém, who gather together on the second Sunday of October in honor of Nossa Senhora de Nazaré. If you go there during this time, get ready to find the church and its surroundings crowded with people. In addition, residences, hotels and even the airport become decorated with the theme of the feast and images of Nossa Senhora. And the best things is, if you can't visit Belém during this particular time, you can enjoy the decorations even after the feast because they are maintained for some days.
Then go to the Princesa Isabel Square and board one of the boats that depart towards Ilha do Cumbu, a piece of the Amazon Forest located right next to the city. The island has dozens of restaurants on the banks of the river. Choose yours and go for a refreshing swim in the Guamá while your lunch is being prepared. Don’t know what to eat? We recommend fish with açaí berry. Unlike the other Brazilian regions, in the North the açaí berry is also served as an accompaniment to meals. Without sugar, of course.
After lunch, it's time to go from a paradise to another: leave Ilha do Combu and go to the Mangal das Garças Park. The park encompasses an area of 40000 m² and houses endemic species of the local flora and fauna, besides Museu Amazônico da Navegação e da Torre, from where you may have a panoramic view of the Guamá river and of Belém.
Capital of the State of Amazonas, Manaus is located in the middle of the largest rainforest on the planet. However, it's not just for nature that the city is known. Its architecture also deserves to be noticed.
Built for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Arena da Amazônia Stadium has an architecture inspired by the nearby jungle: its metal structure resembles an indigenous straw basket. Multipurpose, it hosts games, concerts and other events. Some soccer matches of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were held there.
The center of Manaus houses mansions and buildings from the time of the rubber boom, built in the late 19th century, when the city's economy revolved around the latex extracted from the Amazonian rubber trees. Its main attraction is Teatro Amazonas, built with materials imported from Europe and considered one of the most beautiful theaters in the world. The location regularly hosts opera concerts and classical music performances. But it has already been the stage of rock concerts even: the American group The White Stripes recorded a live album there.
Since you’re already around the center, look for one of the many bars that play local music. The tour becomes even better if accompanied by a delicious Amazonian meal.
Save the last day of the trip for visiting the Negro river, which is so wide and deep that you can't see its other side. The first stop is at the Harbor of Manaus. One of the largest river harbors of Brazil, it was also built during the golden age of the rubber boom. It is part of an architectural ensemble, where the elegance and luxury which were characteristic of the Manaus from the 19th century rule.
From there, board a boat towards the Lago Janauari Ecological Park, 1 hour from Manaus. However, before reaching its destination, the boat passes through the meeting of waters between the Negro and Solimões rivers, a great and unforgettable show.
On the 9000 hectares of the Park, you can watch the Amazonian nature, which becomes even more stunning in a tour through its streams. One of the highlights is Vitória Régia, the flower which is the symbol of Amazon, and that can reach 2m in length.
If you feel hungry, then it's time to taste the most typical sandwich of Manaus, X-Caboquinho. Stuffed with queijo coalho (a cheese produced in Northeastern Brazil) and tucumã, a local fruit, it is the favorite sandwich of the people from Manaus, who eat it at any time of the day and often with other side dishes such as fried bananas and eggs.