Visiting Manaus and the surrounding area can be done by bus, boat, or even plane. Viverde (Rua das Guariúbas 47, Parque Acariquara, 26, tel. 92/3248-9988, www.viverde.com.br) is a highly recommend tour operator, as is the slightly more expensive Fontur, located inside the Hotel Tropical (Estrada da Ponta Negra, tel. 92/3658-3052, www.fontur.com.br).
Both offer half-day city tours of Manaus’s major attractions for around R$75. Most guides speak English and the buses are blessedly air-conditioned. Both operators also offer full-day river boat tours to the Meeting of the Waters and the Reserva Ecológica do Lago de Janauari.
For a bird’s-eye view of the Amazon, Viverde will also take you up in a hydroplane that departs from the river, in front of the Hotel Tropical Manaus. A 30-minute flight over the fabulous patchwork of city, forest and Meeting of the Waters costs a whopping R$450 per person, but the view from above is truly unforgettable.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition