Elon International Studies: Brazil


Meet the Crew

Growth in Brazil

The Myth Behind Rio

Christ the Redeemer

An Intro to the
Brazilian Economy

Rubber to Retail

A World with no

History of the
Ariau Towers

Ariau Towers

Dollars and Sense

Landless Workers

Iguacu National Park

Iguassu Falls

Happiness in the

Racial Issues

Dance to the Music

Samba Schools


Beaches of Brazil

History of The Ariau Towers

By Sara Walker

       Welcome to the Ariau Towers aka Heaven on Earth! The Ariau Towers are the only hotel complex at treetop level in the Amazon Rainforest. This hotel is located 35 miles in a Northwest direction from Manaus , Brazil . The hotel is part of the National Park of the Negro River and is situated at the beginning of the Anavilhanas Archipelago- the largest fresh water Archipelago in the world. I found the history of the towers to be just as magical as the towers themselves.

       Jacques Cousteau was a man revered by a whole generation as an ecologist, conservationist, and protector of the earth's oceans. His sixty-year odyssey with the sea, much of it on his famous boat the Calypso, was much more than a great adventure. He co-invented the aqualung, developed a one-person jet propelled submarine, and helped to start the first manned undersea colonies.

       In 1982, during his expedition to the Amazon, Cousteau made a very serious declaration: "Today, the world is concerned about nuclear war, but this threat will disappear. The war of the future will be between those who defend nature and those who destroy it. The Amazon will be in the eye of the hurricane. Scientists, politicians, and artists will land here to see what is being done to the forest." ( www.ariautowers.com ) At this time, Cousteau's interlocutor was Francisco Ritta Bernardino, an owner of the hotel in Manaus where the oceanographer and his team stayed. It was Bernardino who memorized Cousteau's visionary statement.

       It was in 1986 that Bernardino began building a small jungle hotel with only four suites on the bank of the Negro River . The hotel was three hours by boat away from Manaus . And now that once small jungle hotel is the largest treetop hotel in the world. Eighteen years later, Francisco Bernardino is in charge of a business that brings in about 1.5 million U.S. dollars per year. The Ariau towers are now known as a "five star hotel" in the middle of the jungle. Long catwalks that are all about 30 feet high, which is at canopy level, link the six towers.

       When asked about the business that he has made from the towers, Bernardino said that. "I am preparing for the wave that's coming. For the time being, this is a promising business, and it is going to be an excellent business." ( www.ariautowers.com ) Bernardino is now in his mid sixties and is still quite the entrepreneur. He is a perfect example of how possible it is to take advantage of the Amazon's endless natural riches without leaving a trail of devastation.

       I found the Ariau Towers to be the most surreal and magical place that we experienced in our travels through Brazil . Rather it be the animals, surroundings, or the people, no words could ever explain the beauty of it all. If I could recommend one place to visit in Brazil it would definitely be the Towers, because nothing even comes close to the amazing things that one can experience there .