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The Brazilian Amazon is comprised of six states in their entirety, along with portions of three others. It’s so large (3,241,950 square miles) that most of the continental United States could be squeezed into it. Most visitors arrive in one of the two major cities, Manaus and Belém, and strike out from there into the jungle.

Amazon Cities and Regions


Set in the extreme western end of northern Brazil, the state of Acre is notable for retaining about 85% of its original forest. Its topography is primarily flat, except for the Serra do Divisor highlands, located near the Peruvian border, which unite the biodiversity of the Amazon and the Andes.


In the far north of Brazil, Amapá consists mostly of rainforest-covered plateaus, though there’s also a mountain range, an unusual geological feature in the Amazon. Many of Amapá’s natural attractions lie in protected areas like the Orange National Park, the Iratapuru Sustainable Development Reservation, and the Tumucumaque National Park. Attractions include the Araguari River’s pororoca (a fresh water tidal wave that attracts surfers), sustainable development reserves, and local cultural attractions like traditional indigenous dances.

Manaus, Amazonas

Amazonas is Brazil’s largest state in terms of territory, and state capital Manaus is the largest city in the region, with a population of about 1.6 million. Manaus became a bustling metropolis during the rubber boom at the end of the 19th century. Located where the Negro and Solimões Rivers meet to form the Amazon, it’s the main jumping off point for riverboat tours.

Belém, Pará

The state of Pará accounts for one-quarter of the territory of the Amazon region, and capital Belém is its second biggest city, with a population of about 1.4 million. The state includes Marajó Island, the main feature in the world’s largest sea/river archipelago, once home to the largest pre-Columbian civilization in Brazil.


In the far north of Brazil, bordered by Venezuela and Guyana, Roraima is Brazil’s least populated state. It combines a handful of different ecosystems, from flooded rainforests to relatively arid plains and the impressive Monte Roraima mountain. Roraima is home to the Yanaomami, one of Brazil’s best-known surviving Indian tribes. Only the most audacious tourists venture to Roraima as infrastructure is scanty.


Maranhão occupies a transitional region – a place where the sandy beaches and semi-arid sertão (drought-plagued scubland) of the Northeast meet the hot and humid Amazon. The Cururupu region, in a marshland sanctuary, can provide visitors with an Amazon-esque experience. It includes Lençóis Island, a refuge for the remarkable scarlet ibis.

Mato Grosso

The Amazon extends into the northern part of this state, a biologically rich region popular with bird watchers, wildlife spotters, and sport fishers.


The state of Tocantins is located on the border of the Amazon and the adjacent savannah of the Brazilian northeast. Its western border with Mato Grosso state features Araguaia National Park, which occupies the northern section of Bananal Island, the world’s largest island surrounded by rivers. Tocantins also boasts Jalapão – a region that, while not classically Amazonian, is popular with eco and adventure travelers because of its abundant waterfalls, rivers, dunes, and lakes.

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