To look at Manaus on a map, any expat about to relocated to Manaus would be forgiven for thinking it was a primitive jungle town, nestled as it is in the heart of Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest. In fact, Manaus is one of the most exciting cities in South America, with skyscrapers towering above the trees, tropical beaches lining the river, and a new world-class soccer stadium signaling the city’s focus on international tourism. For this reason, it has recently become known as “The Paris of the Tropics.” Living in Manaus is like living in any up-and-coming Brazilian city, with the added bonus of the world’s most valuable jungle being just a stone’s throw away. The Amazon Rainforest is on many a traveler’s bucket list, but few get the chance to experience life as a modern-day Amazonian. Today’s Manaus is committed to preserving the surrounding environment, and the habitats of the nearby Indian tribes, and these ancient cultures are integrated into Manaus life like nowhere else in Brazil. At the same time, modern Manaus is developing at a rapid pace – newly arrived expats living in Manaus should, for example, visit the "Parque do Mindú", a 33-hectare park in a residential area, for a glimpse of the Manaus social life, or the Museu do Seringal Vila Paraíso for a journey into the past.
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Given the long tribal history of the Amazon, it is worth doing some background reading before moving to Manaus. Understanding some of the area’s rich culture will make moving to Manaus an even more exciting experience than it already is. Before you leave, it is also worth taking a few Portuguese classes. A variety of languages are spoken in Manaus, so the chances are you will bump into expats living in Manaus who are also speaking your native tongue. However, in order to truly immerse yourself in Brazilian life, you will need at least a good working knowledge of Portuguese. Luckily, there are thousands of expats and former expatriates in the InterNations community who have been through these lingual challenges in the past, so why don’t you visit one of our forums for tips on picking up local slang, as well as classical Portuguese.
Over the past few years, many expatriates have come to work in Manaus in any one of the thriving local industries: construction, tourism, timber, nuts, petroleum and the up-and-coming technology sector. As a result, the local working community is a veritable melting pot of different trades and nationalities. Manaus boasts a Free Economic Zone in the city center, which will appeal to businessmen or financiers seeing to capitalize on this emerging market. Working in Manaus is likely to be a stimulating experience, with all the benefits of a sophisticated local economy, but with a tropical rainforest at your front door to the great joy of many an expatriate in Manaus.