Letter from the Amazon: Alter do Chao, Brazil

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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’
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Looking out at the lagoon as we enjoy lunch. It’s a tough life!

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A rare picture of us together – thanks to the passer-by!

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About Post Author

Stephen Dale

I’m a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about life. I love travel, good food, and good company. I’m happy to share what I know with others….even the interesting stuff! My outlook on life is pretty well captured in this quote from a book about the legend of King Arthur: “The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.” ― T.H. White, The Once and Future King So much to learn, so little time!
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