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Santarem - Altar do Chao
Situated along the Amazon River between Manaus and Belem, the sleepy port town Santarem is ideally located for discovering still-virgin patches of the Amazon forest.
Santarem lies at the junction of the Amazon and the Tapajos rivers, and the meeting of the two rivers, one muddy brown and the other blue, is quite spectacular.
The town's other claim to fame is the fantastic white-sand river beaches of Altar do Chao; known as "the Caribbean of the Amazon"
What is special about the beaches of Altar do Chao, except that they are really beautiful, is that they are only there for 9 of the 12 months of the year. In November, December the water level in the Amazon rivers raise 5, to 8 meter, so the restaurants and the beach you see in the picture above, would not be there if you're not there at the right time.
If you do visit Altar do Chao, you will probably have an oportunity to see the Amazon river dolphins, from the beach, or you can hire a small boat that will take you for a cruise on the Tapajos river.
The Meeting of the Waters
Where the dark waters of the Rio Negro join the lighter muddy waters of the Rio Solimoes a natural phenomenon is caused: the separate shades of water run side by side for a length of more than four miles (6km) without mixing. The separation is apparently caused by the difference in temperature, density and flow rate of the waters from each river: Rio Negro travels at 2 km (about a mile) per hour with a temperature of 22ºC (72ºF) while Rio Solimoes flows at between 4-6 km (two and four miles) per hour with a temperature of 28ºC (82ºF). This phenomenon can also be observed near Santarem.
What to say about the city, Santarem: Well, if you search the numerous travel guides found on the Internet, you will probably have to search a lot to find information about it. What we can say after visiting the city is that you are likely to find a good restaurant with good food there. If you like fish, even if you don't like it too much, we recommend that you try the Amazon fish; Pirarucu. It's delicious and a speciality in most cities around this part of the Amazon river.