The Amazon Forest, the most extensive equatorial forest of the planet, is a real wild paradise. When seen from above, it is similar to a huge green carpet.... Being in Amazonia is feeling like the beginning of the planet. The dense and stuffy forest is still mostly untouched and harbours in its midst a very rich fauna and flora. Manaus (pop. 1.2 million), capital of Brazil's massive Amazonas state, was founded in 1669. During the past century's rubber boom Manaus became one of the world's most prosperous cities, and the opulence of those days may still be appreciated viewing the city's magnificent Teatro Amazonas Opera House.
After competition slowed the rubber industry, the city fell into decline. Today, however, Manaus is thriving once again as the Upper Amazon's transportation hub and distribution center. For visitors daily river cruises and boat transfers depart to jungle lodges situated one to five hours from the city. Once in the jungle, activities include jungle hikes, night outings, piranha fishing, camping, boat tours, and wildlife viewing.
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