Parintins, Brazil, riverfront
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Parintins riverfront David Schroeder
Parintins, Brazil, Caravana da Cultura
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Caravana da Cultura in Parintins Ministério da Cultura

Parintins, Brazil

While Parintins is small and doesn’t have a great deal of infrastructure, it is quite used to handling ship traffic: It's located on an island, separated from the mainland by a channel. In this part of Brazil, the Amazon's mighty flow long ago created an island group, interlaced with many channels, from what was once a single island. As a result, Parintins is reachable by ship, not by car, and the preferred local transportation is boat. That hasn't stopped it from hosting one of Brazil's most theatrical festivals.

What We Love

Island Exploration: The metropolitan area occupies just a small portion of one island, so it’s quite easy to get away from human civilization and into glorious nature. This has made Parintins a popular gateway for Amazon jungle ecotourism.

Town Center: Visitors enjoy the distinct Amazonian flavor of this destination. It’s not a glossy place — indeed it’s somewhat primitive — but its blend of indigenous cultural pride, Catholic mysticism, folklore, and pageantry is unique. You can really soak it all in by exploring the town center, which radiates from its landmark Portuguese-style cathedral.

Best Known For

Boi Bumba: Parintins is famous throughout Brazil for this annual folklore festival, which Amazonians claim is second only to the Rio Carnival in awesomeness. That’s up for debate — Brazil has a lot of fantastic annual festivals — but this is truly a wild, crazy, costume-centric party that takes over its little host city in June. The high point is a performance competition, for which locals rehearse year-round. Tourists can visit a few different Boi Bumba facilities, and there’s almost always a shore excursion to a theater to watch a condensed version of the show.

Small Boat Tours: While international travelers don't typically think beyond the Amazon itself when visiting Parintins, Brazilians know that the magical Tupinambarana island group contains beautiful lakes, floodplains, and river beaches that only appear during the dry season.

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Who It's Best For

Ecotourists: The waterways themselves are a force of nature, and the incredible biodiversity that thrives all around Parintins is exactly what travelers hope to experience in the Amazon.

Theater Lovers: When it comes to costumes and stagecraft, Brazilian festivals can compete with any Broadway show. But to see it on an island in the middle of the Amazon? Amazing and crazy. Your jaw will drop.

Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

There's Limited Offerings for Tourists: Other than the Boi Bumba show, most cruise lines don’t offer official excursions in this area. The local tourism industry isn’t set up to handle such a high volume of visitors — so if you want to explore, you’ll have to plan it yourself.

by: Lena Katz
Lena Katz

Lena Katz is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides.

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