RSSCategory: Destination: Pará

341 days to the World Cup

341 days to the World Cup

341

Tucunaré for dinner. Contrary to what it might look like, we are at a river beach on our perfect Amazon destination, Alter do Chão.

July 6, 2013 | By More
Amazon sunset

Amazon sunset

Amazon sunset

In Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós, in the middle of the Amazon jungle, state of Pará.

May 5, 2013 | By More
weekly shot: the Amazon gets even greener for the World Cup

weekly shot: the Amazon gets even greener for the World Cup

Alter do Chão, Brazil
Alter do Chão, Brazil

It’s so interesting to see how the inhabitants of the Amazon region manage to add an even greener (and for that matter, yellow, too) touch to their cities and villages while the soccer world cup takes place miles away. The photos were taken in the formidable Amazon destination of Alter do Chão during the celebration of the 2010 World Cup.

If you want to see more photos of Alter do Chão check out our Flickr album.

If you want more information on the destination, have a look at our blog post Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós.

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October 7, 2011 | By More
riverboats across the Amazon – schedules / timetables

riverboats across the Amazon – schedules / timetables

For anyone planning an Amazon riverboat trip finding reliable information on schedules / timetables has become something of a quest for the Holy Grail. If a few days ago we pointed at some tips on Amazon riverboat trips, today we’re going to look at the scheduled services across the Amazon region.

Manaus / Manaos

There isn’t a single unified site consolidating information from the different companies sailing the Amazon. As a matter of fact, you’d be pressed hard to find a single website belonging to a sailing company listing its schedules and fares.

Navegando e Lendo (“Sailing and Reading”) is an NGO trying to promote reading across the Amazon. Their website contains a wonderful page listing most of the big boats sailing the Amazon. The list is here: Barcos.

Manaus / Manaos

The information is grouped according to the three different boarding points in the city of Manaus (there are three). For the three piers (if you could call them that) the following information is offered:

  • On the column Barco, the name of the boat.
  • On the column Destino, the destination, including the different ports of call along the way.
  • On the column Saída, the days of the week with scheduled departures.
  • On the column Hora, the departure time.
  • On the column Fone, the contact telephone number.
  • On the column Tempo de viagem previsto, the length of the trip.

Manaus / Manaos

As it is not an official list, we encourage you (and so do the authors of the listing) to contact the company to confirm the departures and schedules. Do not plan your trip based on the information that appears on the list or, if you do, make sure you have a plan B in hand. Schedules are changed, navigations can be cancelled.

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RELATED POSTS:
Amazon riverboat trips
an Amazon adventure: trips around Alter do Chão
“cheia” and “seca” on the Amazon region
tourism on the Amazon region is a foreign affair
destination: Algodoal
destination: Belém
destination: Ilha do Marajó
destination: Manaus
the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus

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June 21, 2011 | By More
Alter do Chão, are its beaches worth a trip?

Alter do Chão, are its beaches worth a trip?

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1. Alter do Chão, our Amazon secret

Alter do Chão, Brazil

Alter do Chão is a beautiful and to a large extent unkwon Amazon destination that reached fame not long ago thanks to an article on British newspaper The Guardian británico. It is found near Santarém, in the state of Pará and here at the Brazil Travel Blog we devoted it a destination card back in 2007 (a card we updated recently in Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós and an Amazon adventure: trips around Alter do Chão).

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2. Alter do Chão´s recent claim to fame

Praia do Amor, Alter do Chão, Brazil

On 15 April 2009 The Guardian published an article with the title Top 10 beaches in Brazil. It is an article that, by the look of the comments and conclusions extracted from it by the tourist trade, was read by very few. On the second paragraph of the article there is an explanation on how the beach ranking was elaborated. “we asked 10 experts to choose their favourites”. That’s all there is about the ranking. The newspaper asked 10 travel specialists to mention their favourite beach in Brazil. One beach each. The list is published in no hierarchical order. Ricardo Freire -one the specialists consulted- explained at Nasce um mito: Alter-do-Chão, “a melhor praia do Brasil segundo a imprensa inglesa” that the specialists were asked not to mention beaches chosen by any of the other 8 experts. Had it not been for this rule we could have expected a heavy Fernando de Noronha presence on the list (strangely, The Guardian lists the island of Fernando de Noronha as if it only had one beach).

Alter do Chão is on the list. Conspicuous by its absence on the description of Alter published by the newspaper is any mention to the fact that the beaches of Alter are covered by the river between January and July. Should you arrive in Alter in April you will find no beaches at all -you will agree this is no insignificant detail. We know of several frustrated tourists that chose the wrong time of the year to travel to Alter and get to know its beaches.

Praia do Amor, Alter do Chão, Brazil

On the Guardian list, Alter do Chão appears listed first. We know the beaches were listed in geographical order (from north to south). But the local tourist trade chose to ignore this fact and a myth was born: Alter do Chão as the most beautiful beach in Brazil according to the Guardian newspaper. And once a myth is born it is a mean task to make people understand the mistake.

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3. What are the beaches of Alter do Chão like?

Praia do Amor, Alter do Chão, Brazil

Alter do Chão and the region of the river Tapajós contain the most extense collection of white sandy beaches in the Amazon region. Alter owes its fame to the Ilha do Amor beach (“Love Island”) which rather than an island it is a sand bar right in front of the village, contemplated at its best between July and December. The sand bar is bathed by the Tapajós river to one side and by the Lagoa Verde to the other. In the middle of the sand bar there is an endless series of beach huts with restaurants serving Amazon fish. But the Ilha do Amor is just one of many beaches in the region. During the dry season you can walk from Alter to Santarém through the beach following the river course.

Praia do Amor, Alter do Chão, Brazil

The Ilha do Amor is a pleasant beach of fine sand and no waves. The river waters are dark, warm and transparent. To reach the beach from the village you need to enlist the services of a boatman that will take you there in no time at all.

During the weekend and the holiday season the beach is filled with tourists from the region and the cities of Belém and Manaus. The atmosphere at the beach is no different from that of any other beach in Brazil. High season means an awful lot of tourists, noise, movement, chaos, plastic chairs and tables and food and drink aplenty. Plenty of rubbish too.

During the low season, if you reach the beach during the week you will have it mostly for yourself.

rio Tapajós, Brazil

We have mentioned there are many other beaches. You can hire a boatman to take you there. Most of the beaches are virgin, with no infrastructure whatsoever. Other beaches, such as the Ponta de Pedras, have restaurants.

If you don’t want to take a boat, you can reach the popular praia do Cajueiro on foot. From Alter’s main square, follow the riverfront to the left and you’ll get there in five minutes.

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4. So, is it worth a trip to Alter do Chão just to see its beaches?

We feel the beaches of Alter are a plus to anyone visiting the rainforest in the region. Alter is a fantastic base for the perfect Amazon experience. So if you go to Alter after a jungle experience, there is much worse you can do than relaxing one day at its beaches.

If you are only after a beach destination for your holidays, and you like your beaches with plenty of intrastructure, we dare say Alter do Chão might not be your place. For the money you’ll pay to get to roustic Alter you can spend a week at a holiday resort.

However, if roustic is your thing and you are after a different type of beach, you might want to give Alter do Chão a try. And if you have in mind a trip combining a beach holiday with a trip to the jungle, then go ahead, Alter is your place.

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RELATED POSTS:
destination: Alter do Chão and the river Tapajós
an Amazon adventure: trips around Alter do Chão
destination: Algodoal
destination: Belém
destination: Ilha do Marajó
destination: Manaus
the Meeting of the Waters and the Janauary Ecological Park, near Manaus
Jungle Lodges in the Amazon

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October 15, 2010 | By More