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Beaches: South America

Alter do Chão, in Northern Brazil, Has White Sand Beaches Along River Tapajós

by Antonella Kann  (Contributor for The Beach News, from Pará, Brazil)


Only 37km (23 miles) separates Santarém airport, in the state of Pará, from a fishing village that can surprise those who have traveled around Brazil and the world.


Although Alter do Chão is little known in Brazil it has recently been chosen by British newspaper "The Guardian" as Brazil's most beautiful beach, the country's answer to the Caribbean. The setting is framed by white sand beaches along the bank of River Tapajós - which is in turn so large that it looks like a sea of pristine, warm and calm waters.


The lifestyle in the village is simple and there are no pressures of transforming Alter into a popular destination. Nevertheless, the village has become very eclectic since the arrival of foreigners - especially Europeans - began. Many decided to stick around and small businesses began springing up around the village.


This influx of people also contributed to the opening of charming inns. Slowly, all of these businesses added a pinch of allure to the already picturesque scenery of Alter, and, of course, had an impact on the development of quality tourism infrastructure.


At dusk a miniature tower of Babel gathers around the village square where Spanish, English, French and Italian can be heard mixed up with the sounds of carimbó, a local musical genre popular across the entire state of Pará.