I was expecting a lot of things from the Amazon: bugs, lots of green, the occasional thunderstorm and of course, the heat. Never did I expect a Caribbean escape in the middle of this tropical rainforest. But that’s what the beaches of Alter do Chão are.
When we arrived in Santarém, after having been on a boat for 3 days, we where ready for some relaxation. Luis had mentioned there were beaches of Alter do Chão, but considering we were in the Amazon I was not expecting much from it initially. I hadn’t done any research on the place, which in hindsight I think was great! I was in for a nice surprise…
First order of business was picking up our rental car, getting some groceries at the local supermarket, before heading towards Alter do Chão.
The beach of Ilha do Amor
The beach that was easiest to reach from our little cabin, was the main beach of Alter do Chão. We made a quick stop to drop our stuff, and 5 minutes of driving later, the beach was right in front of us.
Eager to plop down and have some lunch, we walked through the water to the other side and found ourselves a seat. We ate some more rice and beans (vegetarian in Brazil does not usually equal variety) and I ordered my first caipirinha of the trip.
Praia do Pindobal
The next day we woke up to grey skies, but that didn’t stop us from hopping in the car again. The plan for the day: Praia do Pindobal, another beach about a 20 minute drive away. This was our introduction to the dirt roades in this part of Brazil. This particular one wasn’t great, it had many holes and bumps, but still not bad for an unpaved road.
It was a regular Thuesday, so together with one other family we had the whole place to ourselves. The perfect setting for some reading, and just enjoying the quiet. We hadn’t had much of that during the boat trip…
On this day, our first sunset was also a fact. It had been cloudy the whole day, but in the late afternoon the sun broke through and we had a fan-tas-tic sunset. Totally unexpected, but a great end to our first full day in Alter do Chão.
Praia do Carapanari
When we arrived in Santarém, we had to take a taxi to the small local airport to pick up our rental car. The driver was talkative and gave us some recommendations for things to do in the area, one of them being the restaurant ‘Casa do Saulo’. We saved it in our shared Google maps, no idea if we’d actually visit it. But we’re glad we did.
Casa do Saulo is situated above the beach on a hill, and the view from up there is amazing. We walked down to the beach, that counted a grand total of 3 other people, and made ourselves comfortable under one of the sun shades. Of all the beaches of Alter do Chão, this was the most beautiful one yet.
We climbed the stairs back up for lunch in the restaurant, and we’re pleasantly surprised to find a vegan option on the menu! It was definitely a bit on the expensive side, but so worth it (which, of course you only find out after ordering, but still). De-li-cious! 1 baked banana sliced in half with rice, crispy farofa, salad and local bean hummus with little roasted beans on top. Especially the hummus was fingerlicking good. 10/10 would go back for more!
Alter do Chão was full of surprises for me, but only good ones! Would love to come back here someday, let’s see ;).
But first, a trip to the jungle!