Thursday, January 9, 2014

Parintins - The Amazonian City of Brazil

The city of Parintins is a small Amazonian city that is situated in a fairly inaccessible part of Brazil, and is most famous for the Boi Bumba festival which draws visitors from around the world every year.  One of the distinctive features of the city is that it is impossible to get to by car or bus alone, as it is located on a large island in the Amazon river.  The city is one of the largest settlements in this part of Brazil, and is located on one of four islands in this stretch of the river that was originally one island that became divided through erosion caused by the Amazon

Because of the river itself, the majority of visitors to Parintins do so by boat, with a variety of river ferries and launches traveling down the river to Parintins every day from the city of Manaus.  The city also has a small airport which welcomes flights from other airports within Brazil, and does occasionally take some charter flights from elsewhere in South America, mainly in the week leading up to and after the Boi Bumba festival.  The method of transportation will largely depend on the individual's preference, as the boat does offer a great view of the forest, but is a long journey, while the flight is much more convenient for those without the time to spend traveling.

As it is only a small settlement of some fifty thousand people, there is not too much need of an extensive transportation system in Parintins, although there are still a few taxis available, and are particularly useful when traveling to and from the airport, which is about three miles from the Parintins city center.

The Boi Bumba Festival is one of the most popular and interesting festivals in Brazil, and is based around the story of a bull which is reincarnated by a shaman represented by the magical music produced by the drummers.  The festival involves several performances that range from puppets and parades through to storytelling and theater, and one of the most impressive sights is the ornately dressed dancers who delight the visitors.  The culmination each night is a theatrical show, followed by a celebration of local food and drink.

For most of the year Parintins is a relatively quiet and peaceful Amazonian town, but during the festival that takes place over several days at the end of June, it is a noisy and fun place to be.