Alter do Chau, Brazil

Alter do Chau is 33 kilometres west of Santarem on the Tapajos river.  We sailed past Santarem and continued up the river to this resort town of a few thousand people.  People fly here during the dry season from July to December to visit its spectacular white sand beaches.   Today, midway through the rainy season, there is only a small strip of beach with its umbrellas left on Ilha do Amor (Island of Love) (photos).  Soon it will all disappear.  The town has a church (photo) and a few streets full of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops (photos).  Most of the souvenir vendors from Santarem relocated here for the day to make those last sales until the next tourist season starts.  I went for a swim just to say that I swam in a river in Amazonia.  The water was warm and clear and the sand was very soft right out to the bottom of the river, but it was quite windy out.  If I had just woken up here and was asked where I thought I was, Amazonia would not have been the first place to come to mind – the Caribbean or Mediterranean, maybe. This is our last Brazilian port.  Tomorrow we sail the rest of the way down the Amazon to the Atlantic Ocean and on to our next port, Barbados, which we reach on Sunday.

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