by Alessandro Sala

Formerly known as the “Paris of the Tropics” in the late 19th centuries when the region’s rubber industry was booming, Manaus actually perfectly fits its second nickname: The Heart of the Amazon. The most populous city in the Brazilian Amazon area is located on the Rio Negro a few miles before it meets the rio Solimoes to form the Amazon River proper. It is in fact one of the most important river ports in the whole country and access to the city is primarily through boat. Thanks to the partial isolation this city has naturally preserved many local customs and habits of Native Brazilian tribes; few places in the world afford such a variety of plants, birds, insects, and fishes. Given to its geographic location, Manaus is known all around the globe for its ecologic and responsible tourism. This sort of tourism is taking place at some kaboklos tribes living in the forest, like the Xixuau’ community, 500 km north west away from the capital, settled along Rio Jauaperi, at the border between the Amazonas and Roraima regions. The combination of the three rivers mixing in eddies in this area makes it even more extraordinary. Preservation in terms of biodiversity is primary. Here “Amazonia Onlus” has its headquarter; a non-profit association taking care of the Amazon forest’s preservation as well as improving life quality of the local population. Tourism is an important source of income for the Xixuau’ natives because it allows them to activate sustainable development plans and health care, education plans and most importantly to be able to keep living on their native area.