Alter do Chão and the region of the river Tapajós provide the perfect setting for an Amazon adventure. Whether you are after a hardcore encounter with the jungle or seeking something on the lighter side of things, Alter do Chão might be the place for you. Here’s a description of some of the trips you can do using Alter do Chão as your base.
1. Floresta Encantada (Enchanted Forest)
Time needed: half a day.
Physical effort: none. You will sit most of the time on a boat.
The Enchanted Florest is found at the end of the Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon). It is reached quickly on a motorboat. After leaving the lagoon, a change of boat is needed as only a canoe can penetrate inside the flooded forest.
The florest is a wonderful “igapó”, the flooded forest formed during the rainy season (you can read more on the topic at “cheia” and “seca” on the Amazon region). The flooded looks its best from May till September. After September the river levels descend and the florest dries up.
Canoeing through a flooded forest is a unique experience and one of the most fascinating activities you can enjoy in the jungle. If you visit the forest towards the second half of the day you will realize how the forest creatures wake up as the end of the day approaches.
2. Canal do Jari (Jari channel)
Time needed: half a day.
Physical effort: none. You will sit most of the time on a boat. As it is quite a
The Canal do Jari is a natural channel connecting the Tapajós river and its dark and transparent waters with the Amazon, with its muddy waters. As you enter the channel you will realize how the colour of the waters gradually changes; the closer to the Amazon, the brownier they become.
The channel cuts through a series of fields that are flooded during the rainy season. Only a few people survive on the region on their stilt houses built at a safe height.
Navegating the channel is a very beautiful trip where you will contemplate many plants and trees as well as an abundant number of bird species. Quite close to the Amazon a wonderful surprise awaits for you: a natural garden of victoria-regias, the true queens of the Amazon.
From Alter do Chão it takes approximately an hour for the motorboat to reach the channel. On windy days it can be quite a bumpy ride (the width of the Tapajós river at this point is 15 km, which makes it feel as if you were sailing on the open sea).
You can combine your trip to the Jari Channel with the trip to the Enchanted Florest. A perfect day out.
3. Reserva extrativista (RESEX) (Extractive Reserve)
Time needed: a day.
Physical effort: you will walk through the jungle for three to four hours.
Crossing the river Tapajós across from Alter do Chão you reach the Extractive Reserve, where several communities make a living out the sustainable explotation of natural resources. Several of those communities are visited on foot.
At the end of one of the treks we canoed through a beautiful “igapó” (flooded forest).
4. Floresta Nacional do Tapajós (FLONA)
Time needed: 2 to 3 days.
Physical effort: a five-hour treck through the jungle to reach a giant samauma tree.
The Floresta Nacional do Tapajós (aka FLONA do Tapajós or simply FLONA) is an entity similar to a National Park with the only difference that human activity takes place within its boundaries. The FLONA can be reached by dirt track or by boat (three hours by boat, an hour on a speedboat).
As it takes quite some time to reach FLONA you need to sleep on the area to make the most of your trip. While in the region you will visit the local communities of Jamaraquá and Maguary and learn how the natives making a living through the combination of several activities: rubber tapping, beekeeping and, more recently, ecotourism.
During your jungle trek you will have a close encounter with the jungle giants and will contemplate the enormity of the giant samaúma trees.
5. Ilha do Amor (Love Island)
Time needed: 1 hour to the entire day.
Physical effort: none.
Alter do Chão is worldwide famous for its beaches, the most important of which is the Love Island. Getting there is as simple as it gets. Take a boat right next to the main square in the village and in five minutes you’ll reach the beach.
6. Additional trips
As well as the trips described here, local agencies organize longer trips travelling around the region and even further away (if you are willing to pay for it, you can reach the remote Amazon National Park). You can also visit Belterra, the second settlement Henry Ford chose when he decided the Tapajós region would be the base for its rubber production industry.
destination: Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós
“cheia” and “seca” on the Amazon region
destination: Ilha do Marajó
the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus
Amazon riverboat trips