By Alia Ponte
With its damp climate, Ilha de Marajó is a pleasant place for tourism receiving tourists during most of the year due to its driest period of only two months in the second semester. The rest of the year, Marajó represents an irresistible invitation for those who love ecology tourism. Besides the awesome landscape and pleasant weather, Marajó offers tourists an intense nature walk, which city comforts do not provide, in order to enjoy the contact with the wild life experience.
Considering geography, Ilha de Marajó is a great location, which tourists can visit in the artificial hills called “teso”’, built by local Indians, between centuries XV and XVI. To the north and south there is a huge area of savannah, mainly in the areas of transition from the rain forest and the areas full of rivers and lakes. Marajó represents beautiful rustic landscapes, and primitive local culture. It belongs to a national touristic circuit because of its beaches and particular vegetation, outstanding nature and peculiar culinary. It attracts a great number of tourists from Europe, Japan and United States.
What tourists’ have called attention to in Marajó is the charming rustic infrastructure; it’s a paradox throughout the area. There are few restaurants and they are simple. In general, the owners of such restaurants prepare the food and serve the clients with typical dishes made of fish, fruits and homemade candies. The local handcrafting is also rustic and, for the most part, is made with products from the Amazon forest – which makes a great attraction to foreign tourists: baskets made of palm tree fiber, objects made of clay and Indian culture’s utensils.
Eco-tourism is a great attraction because it includes visits to the buffalo farms. Sustainable Development and ecotourism are important to its touristic policy. In Marajó, it is possible to live a unique experience faced with a natural phenomenon called “‘pororoca”: the fusion of the Amazon River and Atlantic Ocean. There are other activities that are impossible to miss: the night watch of alligators through ‘lanternagem’ which is a technique of surprising the animals by the use of flashlights that freeze them, allowing the observation of the animal, and riding bulls in tracks made by ancient local people.
From June to November – considered the ‘Amazon summer’, tourists who go to Marajó can’t miss the fields of natural observation, full of egrets and manned wolves seeking food among the cattle, a spectacle of nature not seen in any other place. For the lovers of radical sports, tree Climbing is a great option. As it is known, tree climbing is normally done from a structure that simulates a forest, but in the island the spot where it is practiced. The sport is practiced among native trees, over lakes through ropes and bridges. Tourists can climb up to 12 meters high because of equipment and well trained professionals support. To get to the top of the trees, ladders made of rope and wood are used. The passage between trees has nets, trunks, bridges, ladders made of ropes, among others. More natural… impossible!
A great touristic activity in the island is a walk near the hotels for a close observation of the Amazon forest, the fauna and especially the buffalos. The walks provide a greater contact with the nature due to the fact the tracks cross typical vegetation, which allows the tourists to have a wider knowledge of the variety of local animals and plants.
In Marajó, there are eight different tracks used alternately in order to preserve the animal’s paths. For all these attractions, Ilha de Marajó is a mandatory destination for those who love ecotourism. Thanks to its natural exuberance, Ilha de Marajó includes about three thousand islands, both large and small, that form the greatest archipelago fluvial-maritime on Earth.
*Alia Ponte is a journalist and professional translator for English, Spanish and French languages. She lives in Los Angeles and contributes with Soul Brasil magazine with writing and translations.