Trace the history of the Amazonian rubber boom by visiting a rubber museum in the heart of the jungle, followed by a tour of a lavish opera house built by rubber barons in 1896.
Boarding a regional speedboat at the pier, you will soon find yourself cruising up the inky waters of the Rio Negro, taking in the spectacular Amazonian scenery. After approximately ninety minutes, you will reach a museum devoted entirely to natural rubber, a product gathered and processed in the surrounding jungle that brought immense wealth to the area.
The Rubber Museum accurately depicts a 19th-century rubber plantation, from the opulent estate house to the rubber tappers’ lowly shacks. During the tour, you will follow a trail into the jungle to see how the trees were tapped and then how the collected latex was processed in a smoke house. The conditions were harsh, the work punishing, and the resulting wealth for the rubber barons was beyond the imagination.
The barons spared no expense to satisfy their pleasures. In fact, they built one of the world’s grandest opera houses in the middle of the jungle. Returning to Manaus by land, you will behold this magnificent Renaissance-style performance hall. Over the course of 15 years, European craftsmen constructed the opera house with French roofing tiles, Italian marble, Murano glass and steel imported from England. While touring the interior, you will see just how extravagant it was at the time and still is now. Afterwards, you will return to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of moderate to strenuous walking/standing. The trail at the rubber museum travels over uneven and natural surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Light-weight clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; insect repellant; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.