The mystery of spices, legends, scents and flavours.
By Viviane Rosa
Brazil is known worldwide for its soccer, beautiful women, and the Amazon forest. The Brazilian Amazon sitting in the centre of the planet still holds many unknown secrets for humanity. The sought-after Amazon region is located in the northern part of the country and occupies an immense space of land totalling 5.5 million km², The Amazon state alone is over 1.5 million km².
In Brazil, The official Amazon extends through the states of Amazonas, Pará, Roraima, Rondônia, Acre, Amapá, Maranhão, Tocantins and part of Mato Grosso, representing 61% of national territory. Besides Brazil, eight other countries enjoy part of this natural richness: Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana. As it is so large, visiting the Amazon is much more that just an ecological trip, it is an adventure in discovering infinite nature.
With the largest area of biodiversity on the planet, the Amazon has an equatorial climate that is hot and humid, and the average temperature is 28ºC. The forests in the region contain 60% of all forms of life on the planet. It is estimated that there are between 40 and 300 different species of trees per hectare and some that are over 100 meters high.
Brazil receives millions of tourists, who want to experience life in the jungle. Besides the closeness to nature, a tourist will find hospitable locals in the Amazon and incredible cuisine, with indigenous influences. The variety of fruits and fish, combined with local spices, result in true delicacies! A perfect combination of exotic scents and flavours.
Manifestations of popular culture and folklore are a big attraction for Amazonian tourists. There are as many legends, beliefs and myths, as there are types of music, dance and different rhythms to enchant the tourists. The Carnaval, in February, includes the traditional samba school parades. In June, there is the Amazon Folklore Festival with more than 800 thousand attendees. Also in June, 420 km from Manaus, there is the famous Folklore Festival of Parintins with the traditional party of the Boi-Bumbá.
There is also Amazon art, made from raw materials from the forest, such as seeds, fibers, wood and clay for ceramics. This art is rich in indigenous detail. Manaus has many museums and cultural centers with permanent exhibitions that tell of the rich history of this region. Besides this, there is the majestic Amazonas Theatre, which hosts the Opera Festival, from April to May, a reference for this genre in Latin America.
There are many reasons to include trip to the Amazon region as part of your itinerary. In Manaus, you can stay in hotels in the jungle, which are accessible by boat. Many of the accommodations are on solid ground; others float on rafts or a suspended in the trees, in flood areas. There are also luxury hotels and resorts in the region. The trip is a date with paradise, an exercise in humility in a mysterious, involving and passionate place. A perpetual and magical place, where all you need is to be brave and strong, favour preservation, and deplore ecological exploitation.