A paradise of fresh water and long beaches is hidden in the middle of the Brazilian Amazon jungle. This is Alter do Chao, a "Caribbean" oasis that resists the galloping predation suffered by the largest environmental reserve on the planet.
This small fishing village, located in the north of the country, in the Amazon state of Pará, competes in exoticism and beauty with the most renowned oceanic spas in the world.
These beaches, bathed by the crystalline and warm waters of the Tapajós River, reach their greatest splendor in the second half of the year when the drought allows islands of white sand to emerge imposing under the sun surrounded by waters that change their shades of blue according to The luminosity of the day.
Known as the "Brazilian Caribbean" or "Amazonian Caribbean", in this fishing village stands out the "Alter do Chao" beach, the prettiest in the town and located just in front of the main square, in the so-called "Ilha do amor "(Island of love).
Tourists and families of villagers usually visit it in small canoes and even walk between August and December, when the water level can drop to 10 meters.
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The rainy season begins at the end of January and runs until June, a time where the landscape changes; the level of the rivers grows; the islands of sand disappear; and blue skies are scarce.
Therefore, the second half of the year is the most recommended to visit this small village.
"It is the time of fat cows," says Noelson Miranda, a boatman who for 5 reais (about $ 1.25) transports people from the edge of town to the island of love or who twice offers a Little tour around.
Bathed by the imposing 160-square-kilometer green Lake, in the region you can also find several indigenous reserves and quilombolas, ecotourism roads and walks such as that of the hill of Piroca, which leads to a viewpoint 100 meters high.
"My suggestion is that whoever comes here talk to people, take that time, have that patience and say goodbye to the speed of the city," says Daniel Gutierrez Govino, a young journalist working in independent reporting and who also has a tourism company.
For this, he says, the ideal thing is to share with them in their communities and for this they suggest visiting the Tapajós National Forest (FLONA), an environmental reserve of more than 500,000 hectares.
Another way to get to know nature is to visit the "School of the jungle" an initiative designed to teach the importance of the environment to minors and where students from schools in the region, from Brazil, and even from other countries such as France, They have learned in a playful way to care for and preserve biodiversity.
However, as it is a mostly river region, many of the recommended activities are in surrounding areas that are reached by boats or small boats.
The meeting of the Amazon and Tapajós rivers, in Santarem, is one of them, as well as visiting Oriximiná, one of the cities that is home to the largest quilombola population in Brazil, with 35 communities.
To get to Oriximiná the night boat trip is recommended, sleeping in a hammock, with the purr of the engine in the water like a mantra and with the breeze cooling the racking.
From then on the options are endless, always in boats, crossing the recesses that the Trombetas river leaves between the jungle, like a river labyrinth that seeks its destiny.
On the way you can find small ports where many fishermen live with their families in rustic boats, or isolated riverside houses.
They integrate some communities forgotten by the Brazilian State and that survive with what the land gives them and under the constant threat of illegal mining, agribusiness and illegal timber trade.
María Angélica Troncoso
. (tagsToTranslate) Caribbean (t) Brazilian (t) hides (t) full (t) Amazon