Image: Map of the Amazon basin
Manaus - at the very center of the Amazon Bay, where the Solimoes and Negro Rivers join their waters and the Amazon River officially begins - it is the main reference city in the Amazon.
Belém, at the mouth ending, is another big reference.
Santarém, Obidos or Alenquer, halfway between Manaus and Belém, are more quiet towns.
The navigable upstream Amazon goes till Iquitos, a Peruvian town, not far from the border between Brazil and Peru.
Boa Vista, far from the river, in the high Amazon, is another reference city: Boa Vista is the capital of the state of Roraima, a region yet largely unknown, with dense and majestic forests.
Manaus offers good options for cruises and tours in the Amazon river and forest. Manaus is the easiest way to get a quick and satisfactory experience of the Amazon. The map on the left shows some of the major spots of Manaus region.