Manaus is the gateway to the Amazon and a frenetic river port, home to one of the world’s most exotic fish markets and most eccentrically-sited opera house, the Teatro Amazonas. It is here, that the Rio Negro from the north and the Solimões from the west, meet to form the mighty Amazon, by volume the largest river in the world, responsible for one-fifth of the Earth’s total river flow.
Covering more than 4 million square kilometres, The Amazon contains over half of the planet’s remaining rainforests and one tenth of all known plant and animal species. Nowhere else can a visitor experience a region which boasts such overwhelming scale and ecological diversity.
There are a handful of fabulous eco lodges for those who prefer to remain on dry land, but the best way to travel here is aboard a privately-chartered boat, complete with captain, chef and specialist guide. Imagine dropping anchor by one of the gorgeous sandy beaches along the Tapajos River; kayaking with pink river dolphins or visiting local indigenous communities before settling down to a lunch of fresh grilled piranha with lime.