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Letter from the Amazon: Alter do Chao, Brazil
We arrived at Alto do Chao on Thursday 24th January. The rustic beach community of Alto do Chao lies on the bank of the Tapojas river, upstream from Santaram. It’s a small village with a population of about 2,500 who depend on fishing, handicrafts and – more recently – tourism for their livelihood. With the increasing number of visitors making trips along the Amazon River, the village is fast becoming a well-known international destination.
The beaches of Rio Tapajos are pockets of paradise and better still, completely mosquito-free! Alto do Chao lies at the entrance to a picturesque lagoon, ‘Lago Verde’ (Green Lake), whose waters change colour from blue to green during the day. The waters here are crystal clear, unlike the brown, sandy waters we’ve become used to on the River Amazon. A sandbar forms a picturesque white-sand island, know as ‘Ilha do Amor’, or ‘island of love’. Apparently at low water levels – between June and December – you can wade across to the island, where there are a number of small beach-front bars selling the local beer and snacks. This being January the water was too high to wade across and we had pay to use one of the row-boat water taxis that ferry people backwards and forwards to the island.
We had a relaxing day here on a virtually deserted beach, enjoying a lunch of garlic prawns and fried fish, washed down with a couple of ice-cool beers at a dining table that was literally on the edge of the lagoon, with the waters of the lagoon gently lapping at our feet. Paradise? Well it can’t get much better than this!
Next stop – our last in the Amazon before sailing for Iles du Salut (Devil’s Island) – is at Macapá, on 25th January.
Seeking a quite spot on the congested beach on the ‘Ilha do Amor’
Looking out at the lagoon as we enjoy lunch. It’s a tough life!
A rare picture of us together – thanks to the passer-by!