Parintins on Amazon, Brazil

Parintins is a city on the Amazon River about 900 miles from the delta at the South Atlantic Ocean. Its claim to fame is the three-day Boi-Bumbá Festival in June, the second largest celebration in Brazil.

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1 Introduction to Parintins, Brazil

Parintins is the second largest city in the Brazilian state of Amazonas with a population just over 100,000 residents. The municipality is located on Tupinambarana. This cluster of four islands are defined by the Madeira, Sucunduri, and Abacaxis rivers as they flow into the Amazon. The port is about 900 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean and 230 miles east of Manaus, the state’s capital. No roads lead to Parintins … literally. The only ways to reach Parintins are by air or water. Sightseeing boats provide tours around the islands and the Amazon River. Riverboats such as this one are ferries for people living along the rivers and for connections between cities.

R. Viêira Júnior, 51-89 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-290, Brazil

2 Port of Parintins, Brazil

If you are aboard one of the 15 cruise ships visiting Parintins each year, your tender will arrive at Terminal Hidroviário. This main dock for the small Port of Parintins is conveniently located at the core of the city on the right bank of the Amazon River. Chances are good you will be greeted by costumed dancers and musicians.

R. Viêira Júnior, 51-89 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-290, Brazil

3 Port Crafts Market in Parintins, Brazil

After disembarking your cruise ship tender, you will walk a short distance along the pier before entering a terminal. Waiting for you on the other side is a crafts market. It is fun to browse among the booths in search of the perfect souvenir. The local currency is the Brazilian real.

R. Viêira Júnior, 51-89 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-290, Brazil

4 Indigenous People Crafts in Parintins, Brazil

The indigenous people in the state of Amazonas are the Sateré. Alternative names are Sateré-Mawé or simply Mawés. Their current population in the mid-Amazon River region is just over 10,000. A main source of their income is producing crafts they call teçume. These bags, hats, jewelry, etc. are produced from materials found in the Amazon Rainforest. This woman is wearing a headdress and skirt made from parrot feathers. The body paint is extracted from genipapo berries.

R. Viêira Júnior, 51-89 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-290, Brazil

5 Pedicab in Parintins, Brazil

Parintins is not large so it can be explored on foot. But the places to see are not clustered together nor easy to find. And it will be hot. The average daily high is 90°F with a relative humidity of 81%. That is why the best option for sightseeing is aboard a pedicab. Plenty of eager drivers will greet you at the terminal. Agree on a duration, bargain for the best rate, then sit back while you get peddled around town. Notice the red and blue wall in the background. These are the predominate colors in Parintins. The reason why will be explained throughout this travel guide.

R. Gomes de Castro, 834-884 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-090, Brazil

6 Municipal Market in Parintins, Brazil

Mercado Municipal is a cultural and culinary experience housed in a 1937 riverfront building. Inside are an array of kiosks displaying fish, meat, fruit, produce and herbal medicines made from indigenous plants. Other vendors will please your taste buds with regional coffee, tapioca crepes, cakes and sandwiches. Outside of Municipal Market is typically surrounded by locals selling their handicrafts.

R. Benjamin da Silva, 307-239 – Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-000, Brazil

7 Tower at Christ the Redeemer Square in Parintins, Brazil

There is little doubt how Praça do Cristo Redentor got its name. At the top of this abstract tower is a rendition of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue from Rio de Janeiro. Less clear is the square’s alternative name of Praça Digital. This elevated plaza is a delightful place to watch boats as they travel along the Amazon River.

97, R. Caetano Prestes, 1 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-310, Brazil

8 Bandshell at Christ the Redeemer Square in Parintins, Brazil

This bandshell anchors the other end of Christ the Redeemer Square. This is the scene of free concerts, especially in June leading up to the Parintins Folklore Festival.

97, R. Caetano Prestes, 1 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-310, Brazil

9 Cathedral of Our Lady of Carmo in Parintins, Brazil

In 1803, Captain-mor of Pará, the Count of Arcos, established a missionary in the village and placed Friar José das Chagas in charge. He built a small church in the present-day Christ the Redeemer Square. Three decades later, it became the Catholic parish of Nossa Senhora do Carmo of Tupinambarana. This third church of the same name was erected in 1981 based on the design of Italian architect Giovanni Butori. On top of the 130 foot bell tower is a statue of Nossa Senhora (Virgin of Carmo). The Cathedral of Our Lady of Carmo was paid for by a 23-year fundraising campaign. Part of this campaign launched the Folklore Festival in 1966. Our Lady of Carmel is the patroness of Parintins.

Av. Amazonas, 1121-1069 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-000, Brazil

10 São José Municipal Cemetery in Parintins, Brazil

Behind the Cathedral of Our Lady of Carmo is the São José (St. Joseph) Municipal Cemetery. The long, rectangular churchyard contains elevated graves and small mausoleums. The rows are narrow and the grounds are unkept yet fresh flowers adorn most markers.

Praça da Catedral, 113 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-000, Brazil

11 Indigenous People in Parintins, Brazil

Outside of the Bumbódromo stadium are bas-reliefs, sculptures and murals of indigenous people and their legends. This maiden with yellow-spotted river turtles is a beautiful example. The artwork was created by Fábio Martins and Augusto Tavares. The background painting reflects the harmony the Sateré-Mawé enjoyed with the Amazon Rainforest prior to their first encounter with Europeans in 1669. For the next 300 years, their population and territories dwindled by the exploitation of forest land for farming, the harvesting of rubber, rosewood (pau-rosa) and minerals plus the expansion of cities. In 1978, their protected land was demarcated. Today, some Indians are in remote river villages and maintain many of their ancestral customs while others live in poor urban neighborhoods.

Av. Nações Unidas, 818 - São Benedito, Parintins - AM, 69151-537, Brazil

12 Boi-Bumbá Festival in Parintins, Brazil

Since 1966, the city has hosted the Boi-Bumbá Festival during the last weekend in June. This celebration is the second largest gala in Brazil behind the Carnival prior to Lent. About 100,000 people flock to Parintins to join the non-stop party. The main events are choreographed singing, dancing and floats inside the Bumbódromo for three nights. The 35,000 seats in this stadium shaped like a bull’s head are segregated for fans of the red versus the blue team. Imagine 17,500 people cheering loudly during their team’s 2.5 hour nightly performance of 21 distinct segments. Meanwhile, the other half of the audience sits in total silence until it is their team’s turn to dazzle the crowd. Both teams compete to tell the legend of when a pregnant newlywed asked her husband to kill his boss’ prize ox so she can eat its tongue. After he complies and then fears reprisal, he begs a priest and shamen to resurrect the bull.

R. Paraíba, 1665-1593 - Palmares, Parintins - AM, 69153-005, Brazil

13 Old Floats at Galpão das Artes in Parintins, Brazil

If you do not visit Parintins in late June during the Boi-Bumbá Festival, you can still experience the essence of the event. Cruise ships typically offer an excursion to see a mini-performance of costumed dancers, singers and musicians. You can also marvel at previous year’s floats (called allegories) from the street outside of Galpão das Artes. The warehouse is owned by the Boi Caprichoso (the Blue Association). A similar workshop of the Garantdo (red team) is on the other side of town.

R. Nhamunda, 1005 – Palmares, Parintins - AM, 69153-050, Brazil

14 Master Float Creator at Galpão das Artes in Parintins, Brazil

You can tour inside Galpão das Artes to see additional old floats such as this anteater and squirrel monkey. Equally interesting is learning the story of master craftsman Jair Mendes. He has dedicated over 40 years creating incredible floats for the Parintins Folklore Festival. Mende is credited with many innovations for design, life-like appearances and animation. His creativity is legendary in the city.

R. Nhamunda, 1005 – Palmares, Parintins - AM, 69153-050, Brazil

Blue Coca-Cola Sign in Parintins, Brazil

Every resident of Parintins is an avid – often fanatical – fan of either the red or blue team. Personal items people use reflect their chosen team’s color and excludes the other. This ardent color preference extends to soda drinks. Supporters of the Caprichosos team refused to buy Coca-Cola in traditional red cans until blue Coke signage emerged around the city. The bottler also introduced special edition red and blue cans in 2011. Coca-Cola is a major sponsor of the Festival do Boi Bumbá.

15 Fountain at Liberty Square in Parintins, Brazil

Liberty Square is frequented by locals yet rarely visited by tourists. Add it to your list. In the center of Praça de Liberdade is a fountain embellished with colorful bas-reliefs. They portray city landmarks, cultural settings and historical events. Above each artwork is a plaque with a brief description and the name of the artist.

R. Gov. Leopoldo Neves, 68-156 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-460, Brazil

16 Practice Stage at Curral Zeca Xibelão in Parintins, Brazil

This is the practice stage at Curral Zeca Xibelão, the headquarters for the blue team. Don’t try entering while wearing red; you will be asked to leave. The Boi Caprichoso was established in 1913 by the Cid brothers under the name Galante Ox. The red team was created in 1920 by Lindolfo Monteverde in honor of St. John the Baptist. Their home base is Curral do Boi Garantido. The Hatfield–McCoy type feud between these two wealthy families began in the 1920s. The citywide rivalry now runs so deep that supporters of each team live in different sides of town.

120 Brazil, R. Gomes de Castro, 62 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-090, Brazil

17 Costume Displays at Curral Zeca Xibelão in Parintins, Brazil

There are several exhibits at Curral Zeca Xibelão. Among them are the blue team’s trophies won at the Folklore Festival since their first championship in 1969. You can also see some of the elaborate costumes including the black bull, the symbol of Boi Caprichoso. Preparing for the three-day event in June is a year-round endeavor. Over 4,000 people are involved across both teams. Although everyone volunteers their time, annual expenses exceed $4 million dollars.

120 Brazil, R. Gomes de Castro, 62 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-090, Brazil

18 Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Parintins, Brazil

When this Catholic church was constructed in 1888, it was Nossa Senhora do Carmo. After the cathedral was built, this was renamed the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Across the Sacred Heart Square is the Nossa Senhora do Carmo College. This waterfront plaza is a popular place to watch the sunset over the Amazon River.

86, R. Silva Campos, 2 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-293, Brazil

19 Caiman Statue in Parintins, Brazil

Over 450 species of reptiles live in the Amazon Rainforest. The largest is an alligatorid crocodilian portrayed in this statue. The black caiman can reach 16 feet in length and weigh up to 2,400 pounds. The other five types of caimans indigenous to South America are smaller, averaging six to eight feet long.

Blvd. Quatorze de Maio, 100 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-180, Brazil

20 Crafts Store in Parintins, Brazil

When your pedicab tour of Parintins ends, spend time exploring the waterfront, sampling a riverside cafe or souvenir shopping before returning to the cruise ship. This is one of the best craft stores in town. Notice the two oxen. The white bull with the red heart represents Boi Garantido (red team). The black ox with the white star is the symbol for Boi Caprichoso (blue team).

R. Gomes de Castro, 719-671 - Centro, Parintins - AM, 69151-090, Brazil