Manaus, deep in the Amazon, is the most popular place for exploring the rainforests of the Brazilian interior. The teeming jungle city is the capital of Amazonas state and sits proudly at the confluence of the Amazon and the Rio Negro. Riverboat cruises and guided wildlife tours are the main attraction in Brazil's green heart and many of these start or end in Manaus. Staying at a luxury Amazon ecolodge is a superb way to experience the Brazilian rainforest and learn about its fabulous flora and fauna.
Despite deforestation for logging, soya plantations and cattle stations, the Amazon rainforest remains one of the world's most beautiful and important habitats. Indigenous groups still live in remote parts of the forest, alongside the wealth of animals and plants for which the Amazon is best known. Its tremendous biodiversity includes tropical birds, monkeys, huge catfish, pink river dolphins and elusive jaguars.
The Amazon river passes through six Brazilian states as it follows a long and steady course all the way to the Atlantic coast, where it passes the little visited but immense Marajo Island before spilling out to sea. In between are huge swathes of rivers, backwaters and small Amazonian towns, which together make the Amazon such a Brazil travel highlight.