The vast country of Brazil contains over half of the entire Amazon rainforest. So if you love adventure, Brazil’s Amazon city, Manaus, is the place to start. Experience captivating culture with its colonial houses, jungle landscapes and the picturesque harbour, while situated in the heart of the Amazon jungle. Despite its location, Manaus is a relatively easy city to get to, and from here you can take a number of Brazilian river cruises into the Amazon on a unique riverboat, with itineraries ranging from two to ten days.
Flying to Manaus
If you are coming from overseas, the quickest way to get to Manaus is to fly. The Manaus Eduardo Gomes International Airport is located 15 km from the city centre, however, there are limited direct flights into Manaus, and they are usually via Miami, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. When you arrive at the international airport you can take the public bus number 306 downtown, which runs to and from the airport every 30 minutes. You can also take a taxi or rent a car from the airport if you prefer (Taxi fare is a fixed rate of about $20).
Brazil is huge so it’s also much quicker to fly to Manaus if you are already in the country, as it can take days/weeks to travel across the country by car or bus. You can fly from any major airport, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and both take about five hours. You can use most popular Brazilian airlines, including TAM, Gol and Vasp, however, many of these flights may have a stopover in Brasilia, so if you prefer to fly direct make sure you check this before you travel. For example, TAM has just one direct flight a day. Domestic flights arrive at the same international airport, so you should still factor in your commute into the city when you arrive. If you plan to take a number of flights in Brazil, TAM offer a fairly cheap Air Pass, which starts at around $500 for four flights within the country.
Flying direct from North America to Manaus
You can fly directly from Miami to Manaus, American Airlines, US Airways, and Brazilian airline TAM run direct nonstop flights to Manaus. If you are flying from elsewhere in North America, you will either have to connect in Miami to Manaus, or fly directly into Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro and change for a domestic flight to Manaus. North American airlines that fly directly to Sao Paulo and Rio include American Airlines, Air Canada, Continental, Delta and United Airlines and fly from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, LA, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Washington, and Toronto. While eastern lines Japan Airlines and Korean Air also connect the US directly with the major cities in Brazil.
Flying direct from Europe to Manaus
Portuguese airline TAP are the only European airline, as of June 2014, that fly directly to Manaus. You can fly from Lisbon on one of their three direct flights a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. British Airways fly directly into Brazil from the UK – but you will have to catch a domestic flight (probably with Brazilian airline TAM) to get to Manaus from their direct destinations of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. Plenty of other European airlines, including Air France through Paris, Iberia through Madrid and Lufthansa through Frankfurt, also fly to Rio or Sao Paulo direct.
Flying from Asia and Australasia to Manaus
If you are coming from Japan, Australia or other parts of Asia, Japan Airlines and Korean Air fly into Brazil, but only fly directly to Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Alternatively, you can fly directly to Miami and change for a TAM flight to Manaus from there. While it can be cheaper to fly to either Rio or Sao Paulo and change there, Sao Paulo’s airport can be a nightmare, the big airport is usually full with horrendous queues, so avoid changing here if you can. If you are flying from Australia to Manaus, you can try Argentinian airline Aerolineas Argentinas, which fly directly to Buenos Aires, where you can connect to Manaus, although you may struggle to find a direct flight. LAN Chile also has one direct flight a week to Santiago, Chile, but again, you will have to connect to Manaus from there.
Arriving to Manaus by Boat
Manaus is a bustling port and harbour, so travelling by boat is an extremely popular way to get in and out of the city. The boat will leave you at the Hidroviaria, which is just 1.5 km from the city centre. You can travel from Belém to Manaus via a ferry, which takes about five days, boats like the Amazon Star ferry operated by AR Transportes will take you between the places, and you have a choice of a bed or a hammock (although make sure you bring your own hammock). You can also travel from Tabatinga to Manaus via ferry (or slow boat) or cargo boat, but the experience is far from glamorous, be prepared to be a little cramped and make sure you bring plenty of bottled water for the trip.
Arriving to Manaus by Bus
Long haul bus journeys are possible if you are staying in Brazil already, however, there aren’t as many choices as if you choose to travel by air. There is a bus station around 8 km outside of Manaus, and while this method of transport is cheap when you arrive in Manaus you will have to ensure you know how to get into the city. A local bus, either the 306 (that goes to the airport) or the 813, should pass the bus station and take you into the centre. Alternatively, you can get a taxi into the centre relatively cheaply.
Travelling to Manaus, particularly via plane, is now extremely easy, especially from Europe and North America, and if you are already in Brazil it’s possible to take a boat, bus or domestic flight and arrive in the heart of the Amazon, ready to begin your river cruise adventure into the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. Contact us if you have any further queries about travelling to and from Manaus, or would like to enquire about booking an Amazon river cruise.