The Amazon rainforest is a living testament to the inspiring power of nature; it is a breathing masterpiece. It’s vast territory covers nine countries and it is believed that one fourth of all terrestrial species live in there making the most biologically diverse place on Earth.
It’s quite amusing that as a Brazilian, I’ve never had the chance to venture into the Amazon rainforest. The truth is, due to its immense distance from the big cities of Brazil, reaching certain pockets of this lush haven often entails enduring long flights that span over 10 hours. But hey, guess what? Against all odds, we’ve made it! We’ve finally set foot in this paradise, and we can hardly contain our excitement as we embark on a journey to unveil how this remarkable experience has profoundly transformed us.
Since we love açaí, we couldn’t resist but begin our adventure in the state of Pará, one of the main sources of the açaí supply in the world. Touching down in Santarém, a mere 30-minute drive away from our first destination, Alter do Chão, was the perfect entry point for us. Known as one of the gateways to the rainforest, choosing to stay in this vibrant little town was a strategic decision, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the local culture and embark on unforgettable explorations along the Tapajos River that is connected to the Amazon River.
To our surprise, Alter do Chão turned out to be so much more than a mere entry point to the forest. It revealed itself as a charming, vibrant small community bursting with life. We had absolutely no idea of what awaited us—street festivals that filled the air with infectious energy, one of a kind local cuisine, encounters with Indigenous tribes that left us in awe, and countless other highlights of this incredible trip. And let’s not forget the locals who embraced us with open arms, making this journey all the more extraordinary and unforgettable.
On the night of our arrival in Alter do Chão, a friendly local told us about the “Carimbó” celebration. Intrigued and thirsty for adventure, we wasted no time in venturing out to discover what this is all about. In the heart of this charming town, a weekly gathering takes place where locals full of excitement watch the Carimbó performance—an extraordinary music style born from the fusion of African, Indigenous, and European influences. The vibrant rhythm permeated the air, making it easy for everyone to join the dance. Women adorned themselves in flowing skirts, gracefully twirling and swaying with mesmerizing hip movements, while the men accompanied them with their own distinctive steps. It didn’t take long for the welcoming locals to embrace us and share the art of Carimbó dancing. What a splendid way to kickstart our Amazonian journey!
With little time to rest, we awoke early the next day and hopped onto a boat, ready to venture deep into the jungle along the Tapajos River. The energy of this place is something that simply can’t be described with words. The landscape unfolded before our eyes, growing more exquisite with every moment. After a couple of hours navigating the river our boat driver switched off the engine. He pointed across the river to a humble house in the distance and invited us to pay a visit. The house belongs to his friend, and he said we would be welcomed to stop by.
We’re all about immersing ourselves in the local culture, so when the chance came to visit a local’s house, it was like striking gold for us, especially in the middle of the jungle. Without a second thought we said yes. Kaue, a friendly older indigenous man, lived all by himself in the heart of the jungle, surrounded by the cutest little monkeys you can imagine! They all started coming from all different directions as we entered the house as they were greeting us. Kaue told us the monkeys are like his pets, they live nearby in the jungle but anytime there is any unusual noise or different people approaching the house they all come to see what’s going on.
Back to the boat again, we went to this place called Enchanted Forrest, a crystalline water lake surrounded by exuberant nature. The high tide season creates seasonal creeks in the middle of the jungle where is possible to navigate with a little canoe. I have never seen anything like that, this place definitely makes justice to its name, it’s magical!