Although the Amazon region isn't too far from our previous destination, Forteleza, it took 3 mini stops to arrive by plane. We landed in the city of Santareem and quickly hopped on a local bus into the teeny-tiny town of Alter do Chao where we spent the next 3 days.
One word to describe the Amazonian region would have to be "tranquilla" - everything is calm, simple and natural! It's quite eye-opening to see this side of life - everyone should get a taste at least once. It is super HOT, there are trees + vegetation growing everywhere and you can hear all kinds of animals just chatting away, primarily birds + bugs!
Alter do Chao is a neat little town perched on a huge lagoon, Lago Verde, that bleeds into the Rio Tapajos. Again, there is only 1 main square with several unpaved streets lined with houses and pousadas. More people do live here than say, Jeri, however the town square is much more simple with few restaurants + boutiques. A sandbar lies directly in front of the town to form a white sand mini island, Ilha do Amor (Island of Love) which can only be seen during low tide season (June - Dec)as it floods over in the other months. The island gets packed with locals from Santareen each weekend where you swim in warm fresh water, drink, and eat yummy fresh grilled whole fish seved from the beach shacks!
We spent our whole Sunday swimming + basking in the sun on the island, and there just happened to be a concert in the square that night which we enjoyed with all the locals. The following day it was up early for our Amazon riverboat tour. We moved up the Rio Tapajos (which has much cleaner, clearer water than the Amazon, plus fewer mosquitos) through the Canal do Jari where the muddy Amazon river feeds into. This was a unique day trip and our guides + add´l mates were awesome. We went for a hike along the canal into the jungle, visited a domestico farm right along the canal where they cooked us a traditional lunch right in their home, went parana fishing (Jenn's line caught a sting ray), and made a stop at another beach for the sunset. The domestico house was a site all it's own...their simplicity is unimaginable for us with an outhouse for a bathroom, minimal household appliances and open air windows + doors. Believe it or not, the Amazon isn't filled with wildlife like we all tend to think, however we did manage to see some good ones - a school of fresh water dolphins, several iguanas, numerous bird species, sloths, and of course...bugs! Our last day was spent lathargically in the rain...rain is so soothing when it's hot out in the jungle.
Jenn has aquired lots of mosquito bites over the past couple weeks (even using spray each night) and is itching like crazy, but that's the price we pay to travel! Of course, Peter has gotten bitten a couple times.