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Brazil : BR319 and Manaus
Written by Jerem   
Monday, 10 June 2019

My goal for the next days will be to drive to Manaus, via the BR319 highway, which is often refered as the "Brazilian worst highway". It's actually more of a 600km-long muddy trench in the middle of the wet forest than any kind of highway you can think of.

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I leave Puerto Velho and Peru on a very rainy day. I should get used to it, as i will spend the next weeks in the amazon bassin during the rainy season and its average 200 to 300 mm of monthly rain.


The road heads east into Brazil until it reaches the Atlantic ocean as the Transoceanica road. It is paved and in decent condition even when going through flooded areas. I follow it for some hundred kilometers before turning north onto the BR319.

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The first part is in very good condition. In the last city, in the heart of the amazon bassin, i meet a group of brazilian mud enthousiasts. They spent the last 2 weeks, circumnavigating around here and Manaus, via the BR319, and the BR230, the transamazonica highway (the same kind of "highway"). After looking at my car, they tell me that yes, I should go through. I'm confident. Indeed, the road remains very decent for some kilometers and there is no sign of rain yet.

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On the second day, the road turns bad, and the rain catches me.

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I eventually get stuck. After some hours struggling alone with short straps and the car litterally glued into the puddle of mud, a car (the only car of the day) passes by. They help me for another few hours so I get out of that trap. I park a bit further for the night, and rest for the next day, as they told me there are many more of these hardly passable parts to come, and they will drive back to Manaus tomorrow so they can help me again.

The next day comes as described, with a dozen of very tricky parts, two third of them I manage to cross, the others taking from 20 minutes to 1 hour to get across, winching me out of the mud trenches.

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At the end of the third day, I am passed the hard part, with only 200 km left to Manaus, and according to locals, only a few not-so-tricky parts more to cross. There are again people living along the road, but their houses, even built on piles, look dangerously close to the water.

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Manaus is located on the north bank of the Rio Amazonas, where it meets the Rio Negro. The 2 rivers, which waters have different colors, temperatures and densities, run parallel for kilometers after the confluence before mixing. The last ferry I have to take to reach Manaus passes over this area.

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I rest some days in Manaus, visiting the theatre, the port, a rescue center for amazonian endangered species and the bridge over the rio Negro.

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To the north of Manaus, is an area with a lot of rivers and waterfalls, all of them overflowing now.

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Still continuing north, the lust jungle slowy disappear, leaving place to the open spaces of the savanna.

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