The largest city in Amazonia, Manaus once stood as a prosperous rubber boom city where symbols of prosperity like the Teatro Amazonas were built from the finest materials the world could provide. This included Italian marble floors to windows of French stained glass. With the collapse of the rubber boom, Amazon Rainforest cities slowly made the transition to tourism where visitors can experience the world’s largest container of life.
Manaus, however, is somewhat different to other rubber boom cities, as combined with being one of Brazil’s main gateways to the Amazon, it is also one of Brazil’s industrial hubs producing mobile phones, plastic products and exporting timber and Brazil nuts. Nevertheless, the most attractive fact about Manaus for visitors is its proximity to the rainforest where you can tour the Amazon scouting for animals and plants in this vast tropical ecosystem. Because of the size of the city, we recommend tours that take you far from the bustling metropolis and deep into Amazonia. Manaus is now Brazil’s main gateway to the Amazon and to help you pick the best time to visit Manaus, we provide some useful info on temperature, rainfall, festivals and biodiversity.
Manaus is in the world’s tropical zone and lacks distinct seasons familiar to most of us. Instead, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter are replaced with simply a wet and dry season. The driest months in Manaus are July, August and September with the entire dry season stretching between May/June and December/January (receiving around 150 mm each month). The wettest months are March and April with the wet season starting in December/January and ending in May/June (receiving around 250mm each month).
When the rains do come, it usually falls in the late afternoons and evenings then clears for a sunny day the next morning, but it can last for a few days on some occasions.
Manaus temperature is a tropical 30 – 33°C (86 – 91°F) during the day and 23 – 24°C (73 – 75°F) at night. Like other areas in the tropics, the temperature difference between day and night is higher than between months, which only change by a few degrees. Although, when the base temperature is already hot, this can have a difference on your choice of travel time. You may like to know that the hottest months are August to November where temperatures can sometimes approach 37°C (99°F).
The water level around Manaus rises and falls with the season with the high water from February/March until July/August, which is a good time to canoe into otherwise inaccessible areas of rainforest. The lower water months, which are the best times for hiking are from July/August to February/March.
There are two schools of thought on the times for the best wildlife viewing. The dry season is when bodies of terrestrial water shrink, which concentrates the number of wildlife dependent on the water (May/June – December/January). However, the wet season is when many rainforest plants flower and fruit, which attracts many monkeys and birds to feed on the seasonal buffet (December/January – May/June). Thefore, wildlife can be fantastic whenever you visit but you have to make sure you’re looking in the right places. This is why the tour you choose to experience the Amazon is crucial as you are relying on your guide’s knowledge and expertise.
Flowering & Fruiting
The wet season is when many riverine plants bloom and the months with the highest number of flowering plants are February and April. As well as the flowering plants, the wet season is also the time when the plants fruit to attract animals in the hope of spreading their seeds far and wide across the rainforest. The delicious fruits attract different birds and monkeys, which you many see feeding on this seasonal food supply.
As this is Brazil, you can be sure to have a variety of festivals dotted throughout the year. Manaus celebrates the Amazonas Folklore Festival (Festival Floclorico do Amazonas) in June where music and dancing fill the streets and ends in the St. Peter River Procession as hundreds of riverboats travel the Rio Negro honoring the patron saint of fishermen.
The most famous building in Manaus, the Amazon Theatre, has its own festival between March and May known as the Festival Amazonas de Ópera. The opera Ça Ira by Rodger Waters from Pink Floyd opened the festival in 2008.
Music lovers should enjoy July where you will find the Amazonas Jazz Festival in the Amazon Theatre complete with workshops, seminars and activities. As well as featuring local bands, the festival directors handpick some of the best of established and upcoming bands and musicians from the jazz scene. |
Film fanatics will enjoy the Amazonas Film Festival between October and November where you can also attend seminars and workshops.
Between September and October, the Brazilian favorite dance of Samba has its own few days as Samba Manaus stage some colorful dance festivities. This event has helped Manaus to appear on the Samba map as one of the main Brazilian cities for the dance.
Manaus celebrates its anniversary on October 24th and over three days the cultural center of Manaus fills with local music groups for dancing with Boi Manaus, a celebration of Northern Brazilian culture through music known as Boi-Bumbá.
Best Time To Visit Manaus Graphic
For an Amazon Rainforest adventure, a consideration is that the ground is muddier and more slippery during the wet season. There is also more chance of certain activities being rescheduled to the rains, as there is an increase in the frequency and intensity of downpours over the wetter months.