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The Meeting of the Waters In Manaus, Brazil


A vacation in South America will be full of wonder and amazement. From the snow-capped peaks of the mighty mountain ranges to the coral reefs that decorate the oceans – there is always something to marvel at. Deep in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest is one such natural wonder: The Meeting of the Waters.

The Meeting of the Waters is quite a spectacle to behold and it happens in Manaus, an Amazon city in Brazil. This is where the waters of the Rio Negro and the Amazon River, also known as Rio Solimões, meet. Here, the sandy-colored water of the Amazon River and the black water of the Rio Negro (literally translating as black river in English) collide. You would expect two rivers that meet to blend in to one another but that is not the case here. At the meeting of the rivers, there is a clear line that forms between the two waters and it is utterly mesmerizing as well as fascinating.

Meeting waters seen from a plane

From a plane

The Science Behind the Meeting of the Waters

So, why do these two rivers collide in such a picturesque manner? In fact, they don’t just collide, they flow together with this separation in tact for around 6km. This is due to the notably different water properties in the rivers. Let’s start with the Rio Negro. The water in this river is relatively clear, despite having the appearance of being dark. It is usually around 82.4 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature and flows slowly at around 1.24 miles per hour.

The Amazon River, however, is very different. Its water is virtually opaque due to all the sediment that it has collected as a result of streams picking bits up as it flows down from the Andes. The river is much cooler than the Rio Negro, at 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The speed of the flow of the river is also much faster as the water travels at approximately 3.7 miles per hour. There is also a difference in pH levels between the two rivers.

These differences cause the stark difference when the waters finally meet and are the reason the rivers don’t mix straight away. It is a natural phenomenon unlike any other. Amazingly the contrast in color between the two rivers is so distinct that it can be seen from outer space. However, it is far easier to just go to Manaus and see it in person than it is to go all the way up there

Close proximity sight of the meeting waters

From a ship

How Do I See It?

The meeting of the waters in Manaus, Brazil, is one of the most popular attractions in South America. As a result, a very good infrastructure has built up around it to allow visitors to view it with ease with boat trips available from Manaus’ floating port in the center of the city. We offer a number of Brazil Amazon cruises and each one typically includes a stop at the Meeting of the Waters in its itinerary.

This means you don’t need to worry about getting yourself individually to Manaus and then organizing transport out to the location. Instead, you can explore this culturally rich and diverse part of the world at your leisure, taking in the sight of the two rivers meeting along with a number of other attractions.

Manaus’ pride in this natural phenomenon can be seen throughout the city, with black and white prints symbolizing the contrasting river waters decorating plazas and murals in monochrome. Witnessing the Meeting of the Waters in Manaus is truly a bucket list experience and a must for anyone heading on an Amazon vacation in Brazil.


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This entry was posted April 10, 2018
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