Boa Vista Tourist Attractions
Situation and CharacteristicsBoa Vista, capital of the territory of Roraima, lies on the west bank of the Rio Branco. It is linked to Manaus (785km/488mi south) and the Venezuelan frontier (220km/137mi north) by BR 174, and with Bonfim and Guyana (205km/127mi north-east) by BR 401.
Other parts of the country are best reached from Boa Vista by air.Bus stationAvenida das Guyanas 1627AirportAeroporto InternacionalBoa Vista's main tourist interest is as an inexpensive staging-point on the way to Guyana and Venezuela. The continuation of BR 174, which connects Boa Vista with Manaus, leads to Santa Elena de Uairén in Venezuela (bus services), while BR 410 leads to Guyana. Visitors entering these countries by road require a visa, which is not issued at the frontier; it is advisable, therefore, to apply for a visa to an embassy or consulate of the country concerned before traveling.HistoryThe first evidence of the establishment of Luso-Brazilian settlers in Roraima dates from 1670. In the early years of the 18th century the Indian villages in this region drew large numbers of settlers (sertanistas) and Christian missionaries. The construction of the fort of São Joaquim in 1765 was a clear sign that the Portuguese feared the intrusion of other European powers into the area. Two hundred years later, when rich seams of gold and other minerals were discovered in Roraima, thousands of garimpeiros (gold- and diamond-prospectors) seeking to make their fortune streamed into the territory occupied by the Indians. The conflicts which then arose between garimpeiros, representatives of the government and the native tribes such as the Yanomami affected the relationship between the sertanistas and the churchmen and continue to influence attitudes to the problems of the far north of Brazil.
Lake Caracaranã180km/110mi north-east of Boa Vista, in the commune of Normandia, on the frontier with Guyana, is Lake Caracaranã, its shores bordered by cashew-trees. On BR 401, which leads to this area, poor road conditions are to be expected from December to May.
Casa do Indio
Casa do IndioThe museum in the Casa do Indio (House of the Indians) in Parque Anauá, on Avenida Eduardo Gomes, displays weapons, costumes and personal equipment of the Roraima Indians.
BeachesThe beaches on the Rio Branco, near the Ponte dos Macuxis, are accessible from September to March.
There are a number of attractions within a short distance of Boa Vista.
Maracá Island100km/65mi north of Boa Vista (BR 174), in the Rio Uraricoera, is the island of Maracá, now a nature reserve (area 92,000 hectares/230,000 acres). To visit the island a permit must be obtained from IBAMA, the agency responsible for the protection of the environment; and shooting and fishing are prohibited. The fauna of the island includes herons, red wolves and buffaloes. To reach the beach known as the Boca do Inferno ("Jaws of Hell"), with its dark-coloured sand, it is necessary to cross the cleft known as the Igarapé do Inferno which divides the island into two: as the name indicates, this is no easy matter.
Monte Roraima National Park (area 116,000 hectares/290,000 acres), established in 1989, lies in the extreme north of Brazil, on the frontier with Venezuela and Guyana.
São Joaquim Fort
The ruined 18th century fort of São Joaquim at the junction of the rivers Tacutu and Uraricoera, 40km/25mi north-east of Boa Vista, can be reached either by boat (1 hour) or by road (BR 401, the Bonfim road).