When you’re in the Amazon… you go in to the jungle! So that’s what we did during our stay in Alter do Chão. Next to all the beaches that you can find here, there are also beautiful national parks around that are definitely worth a visit. Definitely worth a day trip from Alter do Chão!
How to get there
On our fourth day in Alter do Chão we drove down to FLONA, or, the Floresta Nacional do Tapajós’. Most people do this by boat because it’s faster and also quite beautiful. At least, so we’ve been told. However, it’s also quite expensive at 180R$ per person (approx. €33) round trip, which was not exactly within our budget. So, taking that into account, and the fact we had our rental car, it was an easy decision to drive instead.
Now, literally the first 5 minutes of the drive were on asphalt. After the first turn, it’s dirt and gravel roads from there on, with a little bit of (bad) asphalt when passing through Belterra. Don’t let this scare you though, most of these roads are totally fine to drive on. Of course you can expect some more holes and bumps than normal, as these roads are definitely more sensitive to the elements, but it’s nothing extreme. The drive took us about 1,5 hours from Alter do Chão, as you can’t go as fast as you would on asphalt (although the locals would disagree).
We were here during the dry season, in November, so we have no experience with the wet season.
The Floresta Nacional
When you arrive at the entrance of the Floresta Nacional, the São Domingos base, you need to check in with the guards there. They’ll register your name and the license plate of the car, but there is no entrance fee. You can also check out the map with some more information about hiking. Most trails start from one of the communities, so it could be easy to figure out which trail you want to walk so you know which one you need to drive to.
Afterwards you continue by car into the park. We drove until we arrived in the Jamaraqua community, which took about 10 minutes. We inquired about a guide, which would cost 200R$ for a group of max. 5, and they would not make it cheaper as it was just the 2 of us. We were trying to figure this out, when a family of 3 arrived, also asking for a guide for the same trail. Sometimes you just need a little bit of luck!
We set off into the jungle, which luckily meant we’d be covered by trees most of the way, keeping out the sun. This didn’t stop us from sweating our asses of though. It was around 30 degrees, no wind, and crazy humidity, so you do the math.
The family that joined us, a man, woman and child, turned out to be great hiking company. Luis got to talking with the man about many different things. At some point some bird made a lot of noise making its way through the jungle (honestly, it sounded like it crashed), and that’s when we learned that the boy actually spoke some English. His father laughed at my face of total surprise after he blurped out ‘that bird went so fast!’.
Time flew by; we stopped at specific trees, at a viewing point and the final (and best) stop of the trail, a little creek! We were all pretty hot and sweaty, so it doesn’t take us long to get in the water. Believe me when I say I did not want to leave, that spot came straight out of a fairy tale. I don’t remember the actual name, so, fairy pools they are.
But on the other hand… lunch was waiting for us. We finished the hike and headed to the restaurant we had pre-ordered our lunch at. A busy spot, all the other day-people were already enjoying their food when we arrived. We dropped ourselves in to our chairs and ordered a nice cold beer (we deserved it). Thinking back to the hike we just did, looking at the pictures I had taken, this day trip from Alter do Chão was definitely a success. Tiring, but a great way to spend a day doing more than just beach bumming.
And more jungle adventures were in our future!