JAÚ NATIONAL PARK
The Jau National Park, established in 1980, is located in the State of Amazonas. The Park covers an area of 2,272,000 hectares in the municipalities of Novo Airão and Barcelos, being the second largest National Park in Brazil and one of the largest continuous protection tracts of tropical rainforests in the world.
It stands out for being the only park in Brazil that protects almost the entire catchment area of a black water river, the Jau River.
The Jau National Park was recognized as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Park is also part of the Amazon Central Corridor and is one of the most significant reserves of flora and fauna in the black water basins of Central Amazonia. Its biodiversity is so rich as unknown, due to its large number of habitats.
WHEN TO GO
The park is open year-round and its climate is typical of tropical forests, constantly moist. The wettest period, and therefore less suitable for visits, is from December to April and there is less rainfall between July and September.
By water: The Park can be accessed by boat at the Negro river. Coming from Manaus, capital of Amazonas State, it is possible to reach Novo Airão - the nearest town to the south entrance of the park - by a 6-hour speedboat trip. In common boats, the journey can last up to 18h.
By air: One can get to the Park by seaplane, right from Manaus. In single-engine or helicopter, the trip takes 1h; in a twin-engine, it takes 45 minutes. The Park entrance is about 200 km in a straight line from Manaus.
By road: Only part of the path can be made via highway because there is no direct access road to the Park. Traveling to 70 km in the AM-070 highway (road via Manacapuru), visitors must go in the direction to Novo Airão for over 100 km.
Tickets costs BRL 5.00 per day. There is also a fee charged according to the size of the vessel:
Up to 9 meters: BRL 16.00
Between 9 and 18 meters: BRL 32.00
Above 18 meters: BRL 64.00
No booking is required, but one must ask for an entry permit at least 48 hours in advance.
Going through the waterways of the Park in a flyer boat is the best way to discover and enjoy the beauties of the region. Along rivers Jaú, Carabinani and Unini, visitors can observe flocks of macaws and parrots flying over the flooded forest. In the calmer part, floral orchids reflect their delicate form in the dark waters. Between November and January, extensive beaches are formed in the Negro river - close to the mouth of the Jaú river.
It crosses representing areas of the rain forest and regenerating forest, allowing visitors to observe the Amazonian flora. The trail has a medium degree of difficulty, with rolling terrain and plateau type, some ups and downs with the crossing of small streams. At the end of the trail one can bathe in a small waterfall of about 3 meters high. The trail is located next to the Community of Seringalzinho and starts on the waterfront of Jaú river. Access is done by boat from the Park headquarters (approximately 1 hour) until the beginning of the trail, which is open year round.
Rapids of Carabinani and Jaú river
In the dry season, the rivers become a nice place for bathing, recreational and sports activities. In both there are waterfalls and trails, amid beautiful Amazon landscapes. Access is by boat from the Park headquarters, lasting one to two hours.
The Park has an archaeological site, located in São João lake, with several inscriptions on stones. The region was the first colonization pole in the Amazon by Indians, marked by battles for the territory, which allows the visitors to undertake a tour in the prehistory of the lower Negro river.
Historical site of Airão
The area has traces of the Portuguese colonization in the eighteenth century, as well as vestiges of the "rubber period", when there was exploitation of rubber trees. It is possible to check the ruins of 11 buildings, the cemetery and the 18th-century church, a symbol of the city.
WHERE TO STAY
The largest cities nearby are Novo Airão, in the south of the park; and Barcelos, in the north. In both, there are locations for simple accommodation, as well as restaurants and eateries serving local and occasional visitors.