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Parintins

Bishops’ Residenz

About Parintins

Parintins is an island city in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, near the border of the state of Pará. It is situated near the right riverbank of the Amazon River on Tupinambarana, a group of four adjacent islands surrounded by the waters of the Amazon, Madeira, Sucunduri and Abacaxis Rivers. The endless surging current of these rivers divided this once-singular island into four, making Parintins a fascinating illustration of the Amazon’s power to dramatically shape the landscape and lives of its people.

The islands and surrounding rainforest were once dominated by indigenous tribes who lived off the Amazon’s bounty. In the 18th century, José Pedro Cordovil discovered it while on expedition for the Portuguese king. After years of settlement, Parintins was officially recognized as a city in 1880.

The surrounding region is a magnificent canvas of forests, lakes, islands and small mountains. Still today, most locals use riverboats for transportation. The Parintins mountain ridge rises to just 500 feet, blanketed by rich flora and fauna. The waters of Valéria Lake shimmer alongside the mountains, known among Amazon explorers as the doorway to ecological tourism here.

Parintins Lifestyle and Culture

Locals are warm and hospitable in this small Amazonian city and are known the world over for their annual folklore festival, the Boi Bumbá, by far the city’s biggest draw. This vibrant festival started in the early 1900s as a friendly competition between two local families and has grown to become the second most popular and significant festival to Brazilians after the famed Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

Combining costumes, drumming, and Amazonian, African and European rhythms, Boi Bumbá tells the story of a resurrected bull, with a cowboy, a pregnant girl and a priest as colorful supporting characters. It is an incredible musical and theatrical experience, a religious procession, a tribal ritual, a giant puppet show and a folk art presentation all at once.

Even after a century, its competitive nature endures as two teams, Garantido and Caprichoso, attempt to outdo each other with flamboyant dances, singing and decorated floats, all representing their interpretation of the story of the bull.

Parintins Sights and Landmarks

The sleepy town centers around its Square of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, home to the eponymous church and a thriving market. You might visit the Cathedral of Parintins on the river’s banks, and experience the floating market, brimming with the exotic bounty of the rainforest.

The town’s Bumbódromo, the round stage, hosts the annual Boi Bumbá competition. The cultural arena, designed in the shape of a bull’s head, is used exclusively for the three-day festival and comes alive each year with the cheers and applause of 35,000 spectators.

Parintins Entertainment and Activities

By far the biggest attraction in Parintins is the Boi Bumbá festival, which takes place during the last weekend of June every year. Outside of festival season, smaller-scale folkloric presentations draw devout festivalgoers and curious visitors alike. The smaller venue provides a more intimate experience and invaluable insight into a cherished Amazon tradition. Alternately, pedi-cab tours of the city show you the highlights of Parintins, giving a glimpse of life in this remote town.

During the dry period of July through February, sandy river beaches appear along the Uaicurapá River, ideal for swimming and watching the local boats drift by. You might board one with a guide to visit nearby islands that host banana plantations, jaguars and howler monkeys.

Parintins Restaurants and Shopping

Because Parintins is such a small town in a remote location, dining options are limited. A few small eateries near the port serve local seafood and meat dishes and offer an enlightening local experience.

The flea market near the port offers masks, beaded jewelry, paintings and woodwork, all created by local artisans, at affordable prices. The Sateré-Mawé and Wai-Wai Indians are famous for their necklaces, earrings and items made with feathers, seeds, straw and jute. At the Floating Market, you’ll find colorful boats selling similar artisan goods, including souvenirs by which you can remember the Boi Bumbá.