The capital of the state of Rondonia emerged during the historic building of the Madeira-Mamore railway, at the start of the 20th century. The town’s population consists of a wide mixture of people from several parts of Brazil, who moved there not only during the building of the railway, but also for the construction of the Santo Antonio Hydroelectric Plant.
It isn’t a usual vacation destination sought by Brazilian tourists, but it’s very popular with travelers from other countries who wish to see the beauties of Amazonia.
Porto Velho’s main attraction is the boat trip along the Madeira River. It takes about 45 minutes and leads to the Santo Antonio rapids, one of the capital’s main beauty spots. The trips at the end of the day are the most incredible, since one can enjoy the sunset and maybe even be accompanied by the river dolphins (even the pink one) during the trip.
Besides that, leaving from Porto Velho and sailing down the Madeira River, one reaches the Extractive Reserve of the Cuniã Lake, which holds one of the most incredible lakes in Amazonia. This is a region full of igarapés (narrow waterways) that traverse flooded fields and forests, and is home to exuberant flora and fauna that will enthrall visitors and remind them of why the Amazon region is so admired all over the world.
The nightlife in Porto Velho is very lively. It’s concentrated in the “Calçada da Fama” (Sidewalk of Fame), full of bars and nightclubs.
The city, although a state capital, still has the friendly atmosphere of a small backwoods town. There are many unpaved streets, especially along the riverside. The Mercado Central (Central Market) is one of the places that still have this backwoods aura, and is a “must” for visitors, as it’s a traditional meeting place for breakfast. Among the many nutritious options, one finds porridges, cakes, tapioca, different cheeses and regional fruits.
Porto Velho should be more valued by Brazilian tourists, since it’s a city like few others, uniting a big city structure with a small town ambiance. It’s a destination recommended for everyone.