Anavilhanas National Park

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime exploring the Anavilhanas National Park, a protected area in the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. This guide will help you delve deep into the rich biodiversity, stunning water beauty, thrilling tourist activities, and fascinating local culture of Anavilhanas.

Introduction to Anavilhanas National Park

Anavilhanas National Park

History of the Park

Created on February 6, 1981, as a full protection unit covering 350,018 hectares (864,910 acres). Later, it was reclassified from a strict protection ecological station to a national park (still with protective measures) by Law No. 11,799 on October 29, 2008.
The park protects the environment of the Anavilhanas river archipelago in the Rio Negro, one of the largest in the world, along with its forest formations. It promotes scientific research and conservation of the Amazon biome through environmental education and sustainable tourism. The park is open year-round and houses various protected species, including the margay (Leopardus wiedii), jaguar (Panthera onca), giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla), giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), Amazonian manatee (Trichechus inunguis), and Amazon river dolphin (Inia geoffrensis).

In the year 2000, Anavilhanas National Park was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Later, in 2002, it became part of the Central Amazon Ecological Corridor. In 2003, its territory was expanded with the addition of Jaú National Park, Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve, and Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, forming the Central Amazon Conservation Complex, a larger area declared a World Heritage Site. Furthermore, in 2010, the park became part of the Lower Rio Negro Mosaic, a conservation initiative. All of this is made possible with the support of the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program.

On March 22, 2017, the park was added as a Ramsar Site.

Geographic Location

Located in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. This stunning archipelago (Arquipélago de Anavilhanas) and ecological station span several localities, including Manaus, Iranduba, Novo Airão, and other areas in the state of Amazonas. It is situated on the Rio Negro, about 70 km from the state capital, Manaus.
The geographic coordinates of the park are 2°23’41″S latitude and 60°55’14″W longitude.

Overview of the Park

Fauna of Anavilhanas National Park

Geography and Landscape

The park encompasses a riverine archipelago with over 400 islands, flooded forests, and a variety of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, creating a mosaic of stunning natural beauty.

Biodiversity: Flora and Fauna

The park is home to an immense diversity of species, including jaguars, river dolphins, manatees, as well as countless exotic birds and plants. Wildlife observation is a true delight in Anavilhanas.

Climate

The climate is hot and humid tropical, with one or two dry seasons per year.

The Aquatic Wealth of the Park

Panoramic of the Anavilhanas National Park in Brazil

The Rivers and Anavilhanas Archipelago

The waters of the Negro and Solimões rivers meander through the park, creating the second-largest river archipelago in the world. This aquatic maze is a vibrant ecosystem and essential for the region’s biodiversity.
The Anavilhanas archipelago has formed over time thanks to the accumulation of sediments and eroded materials from the Guyana Highlands, carried by the Branco River and deposited into the dark, acidic waters of the Negro River, giving rise to a spectacular delta-like formation.

It is the second-largest river archipelago in the world, second only to the nearby Mariuá, and its uniqueness lies in the diversity of floating vegetation that composes its aquatic mosaic. A "river archipelago" is found in the middle of a river or stream and refers to the landmass and deposits created by the action of water.

Anavilhanas harbors incredible biodiversity and a variety of ecosystems that stand out among the already rare habitats of the Amazon rainforest. It is part of the Central Amazon Conservation Complex, the largest protected reserve in the Amazon basin.

Covering an area of 350,000 hectares (866,000 acres) and consisting of around 400 islands, 60 lakes, and numerous paranás and furos, the archipelago is in constant change due to fluctuations in the river’s water level. With differences of up to 10 meters between the flood and ebb periods, the landscape of the islands varies significantly between the high waters from October to March and the low waters from April to September.

Ecological Impact and Aquatic Biodiversity

The park’s waters support a wide variety of aquatic life, from the majestic pink river dolphin to a wide range of exotic fish. These waters play a crucial role in the Amazonian ecosystem.

Tourist Activities

Boat Tours

Available year-round, this tour explores the labyrinth of islands in the Anavilhanas archipelago, offering beautiful landscapes. Boat tours are also conducted on the Baependi and Bariaú rivers in the mainland portion of the Conservation Unit.

Beaches (During the dry season, from September to February)

In Anavilhanas National Park, during the dry season, beaches emerge along the coast of Novo Airão and along the banks of the Negro River and the islands of the Anavilhanas archipelago, where the contrast between the white sands and the dark waters of the Negro River creates scenes of incredible beauty.
The most visited beaches include Praia da Orla, Aracari, Bararoá, Camaleão, Folharal/Canauirí, Iluminado, Meio, Sobrado, and Tiririca. Except for Praia da Orla, which can be accessed by land, all the others are only accessible by river.

Note: Over the years, there may be slight variations in the duration of the dry season and the flood season. It has occurred, for example, that the beaches are submerged even in January.

Igapó Water Trails (During the flood season, from March to August)

The igapó water trails are boat rides that venture into the flooded igapó forests, known as enchanted forests, during the flood season.
These water trails are allowed throughout the archipelago and can only be accessed by river, using small boats.

Over the years, there may be slight variations in the duration of the dry season and the flood season. Generally, igapó water trails are accessible starting from April.

Land Trails

It is possible to explore trails in the igapó forest during the dry season or in the terra firme forest year-round. Through these trails, you can get to know and enjoy the different ecosystems characteristic of the Amazon Biome.
It is important to always consult in advance, in addition to the rules, the management conditions before undertaking these journeys.

Within the Anavilhanas archipelago, there are land trails like Andorinha and Miritipuca. These are short and easily accessible hikes located near the city of Novo Airão.

Additionally, there are also terra firme trails open for visitation, such as Trilha do Bariaú and Trilha do Apuaú. Each of these trails offers a unique and fascinating experience for those who wish to immerse themselves in the beauty and diversity of the Amazon rainforest.

Trilha do Bariaú

Trilha do Bariaú follows the course of the river of the same name, considered one of the most beautiful in the Park due to its impressive rapids that are covered during part of the flood season.
During the peak dry season, access to the trail is quite difficult, even for small boats, so it is recommended to hike this route during the rising season, from April to May, or during the falling season, from October to November.

Among the rapids, which are short and shallow, there are several points for recreation and swimming. Being located in one of the most remote areas of the park, the chances of spotting various mammals, such as the tapir, paca, wild boar, giant otter, among others, are quite high.

From Novo Airão to the start of the trail, at the first rapid, it takes approximately 2 and a half hours in a voadeira, a kind of small boat. Up to the fifth rapid, it’s about 1.5 kilometers. Although the difficulty level is low, the presence of a guide is recommended as the trail is not marked.

Trilha do Apuaú

Trilha do Apuaú presents a moderate level of difficulty due to its length and incline in some sections, although it is also possible to hike shorter segments if the visitor prefers.
It is located at base 2 of ICMBio, which serves as a monitoring station at the confluence of the Negro and Apuaú rivers, which border the park. The area is only accessible by boat year-round.

The distance from Novo Airão to base 2 is approximately 30 km, and the journey by voadeira (a type of small boat) takes between 40 and 50 minutes, depending on the motor’s power. During the rising season, the journey is a bit faster due to the furos (shortcuts) that cut through the igapó forest, shortening the route.

The total trail length (round trip) is approximately 4 km, with a duration of about 2.5 hours. The trail features circular paths that allow visitors to return at different points without completing it to the end. The trail crosses igarapés (small rivers) and areas of the forest in various stages of succession, which allows you to find several fruit-bearing species around the base, where there used to be a farm before the park was created (about 40 years ago). It is common to spot toucans, parrots, and other bird species feeding on these fruits in the area.

Temporarily, the base houses a young pair of tapirs (Tapirus terrestris), affectionately named Romeo and Juliet. Because it is illegal to keep wild fauna species in captivity, both were confiscated by ICMBio in 2016 and are in an enclosure at the base, specially built to accommodate them, waiting to grow and mature enough to be released into the wild.

Visits must be scheduled in advance by phone at the ICMBio office in Novo Airão or by email (pna@icmbio.gov.br). Only groups of up to 8 visitors are allowed at a time.

The area has a dining area, hammocks, and sanitary facilities, and overnight stays in hammocks or camping are allowed with prior authorization.

Flora, Fauna, and Landscape Observation

Observing flora, fauna, and the landscape is possible on all excursions, whether they are daytime, nighttime, by boat, or panoramic. Large trees, such as the impressive giant macucu trees, and the rich birdlife stand out. Specialized birdwatching tours are also offered.

Tree Climbing

This activity is offered by operators with prior reservations and provides great fun and interaction with the jungle for adventure tourism enthusiasts. It is a relatively new activity in the park and is carried out in two areas with giant macucu trees. Reaching the top of the tallest trees in the archipelago and appreciating the view from the top of the igapó is a unique experience.
You do not need to be highly physically fit to engage in this activity, as it can be practiced by both children and adults. The cost per person varies between R$ 325 and R$ 795, depending on the number of people and the departure location (Novo Airão or Manaus).

Operator’s Phone:
Amazon Tree Climbing – (92) 99301-4885

Scenic Flight

Aerial observation of the Anavilhanas archipelago is an unforgettable spectacle. However, due to its high cost, this activity is still quite limited. A hydroplane flight costs approximately R$ 3,200.00 per hour for four people, departing from Manaus.
Airline Contacts:

Sea Plan Tours – (92) 98172-2010/99991-1890

Amazon Eco Sight – (92) 3673-9346

Amazon Destinations – (92) 3084-4414

Water Activities

Water activities, both motorized (voadeiras, wakeboarding, water skiing, banana boat, etc.) and non-motorized (canoes, Stand Up Paddle, rowing, etc.), are recreational and adventure options that can be enjoyed in the beautiful crystal-clear waters of the Negro River. Although they are allowed on the shore of Novo Airão, most of these activities are not yet available due to a lack of operators.
Some hotels and inns in Novo Airão (Amazon Park Suites, Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge, Pousada Bela Vista) offer non-motorized activities such as canoes and Stand Up Paddle.

Overnight Stays in the Park

It is possible to spend the night in various places within the Park, but specific rules for each region must be observed. Camping can be done in rustic shelters, wild camping, or even tree-suspended camping, among other possibilities.

Conservation and Sustainability

Current Conservation Efforts

Anavilhanas is actively involved in the conservation and protection of the Amazon rainforest, working closely with local and international organizations.

The Importance of Sustainable Tourism

Sustainable tourism is essential for the park, as the revenues generated help fund conservation efforts and support local communities.

Local People and Culture

Indigenous and Traditional Communities

Anavilhanas is home to various indigenous communities that have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. Their rich culture and history are an essential part of the park experience.

Park’s Impact on the Local Economy

The park plays a significant role in the local economy, generating employment and supporting small businesses through sustainable tourism.

Practical Information

How to Get There

By Plane

Novo Airão does not have an airport, but it is possible to rent a seaplane and land on the Negro River. Helicopters can also be used to land in open areas of the communities, Base 2 of PNA, and Novo Airão, with prior authorization.

By River

Boats to Novo Airão depart from the São Raimundo Port in Manaus. Currently, only regional boats (9 hours of travel) are available, and there are no fast boats (3 hours of travel). Departures from Manaus to Novo Airão are on Tuesday and Friday nights at 8:00 PM. It is recommended to confirm the days, times, and prices as they may vary. It is necessary to bring a hammock for sleeping during the boat trip.

By Land: Car or Private Vehicle

The journey by car can be made by taking the AM-070 road from Manaus, crossing the bridge over the Negro River, and then taking the AM-352 towards Manacapuru. From this point, the journey is approximately 98 km to Novo Airão.
Taking a taxi is a faster option (around 2.5 hours of travel), but it does not operate 24 hours. It is suggested to contact a service provider in advance. There are two taxi services that provide transportation between Manaus and Novo Airão: Sindicato dos Taxistas de Novo Airão (SINDTAXI) and Associação Anajaú Radio Táxi. There are also executive buses that depart from the bus station in Manaus and make a stop in Manacapuru, with a journey of approximately 4 hours to Novo Airão.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Parque Nacional de Anavilhanas in Brazil is during the dry season, which runs from June to November. During this time, there is less rain and clear skies, allowing for outdoor activities and exploring the park’s trails more comfortably. However, the wet season also has its charm, with lush landscapes and flooded areas to explore.

Accommodation and Services Nearby

There are various accommodation options near the park, ranging from eco-lodges to hotels in Novo Airão, Manaus, Iranduba, Presidente Figueiredo, and Rio Preto da Eva. There are also several restaurants offering delicious local dishes.
In Novo Airão, there are various lodging options with different price ranges (from the most expensive $$$ to the most affordable $). Here are some suggestions:

  • Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge: (92) 3365-1180 ($$$).
  • Mirante do Gavião Hotel: (92) 3365-1181/1644 ($$$).
  • Amazon Park Suites Guesthouse: (92) 3671-2731/99114-3266 ($$) *.
  • Bela Vista Guesthouse: (92) 3365-1023 ($$).
  • Novo Airão Guesthouse: (92) 99140-5241 ($$) *.
  • Recanto das Orquídeas Guesthouse: (92) 3365-1082/99114-7556 ($$).
  • Green Islands Hostel: (92) 99448-0887 ($).
  • Rio Negro Hotel: (92) 3365-1504 ($).
  • Lanna Guesthouse: (92) 99160-0526/99114-5432 ($).
  • Cabocla Guesthouse: (92) 3625-1826 ($).
  • Jandira Guesthouse: (92) 99204-0315 ($).
  • Fortaleza Guesthouse: (92) 99154-2672 ($) *.
  • Paraíso Guesthouse: (92) 3365-1216 ($) *.

(* Note: Options marked with (*) likely offer more affordable accommodation).

Prices

Entry to the park is free.

Regulations and Safety Considerations

It is important to follow the park’s regulations to protect its biodiversity. This includes respecting the local fauna and adhering to safety recommendations during excursions.


References