Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Largest Fluvial Island in the World

This is the gateway to Marajo Island.  It's a fluvial island, because it sits in a river or the delta of a river.  Marajo sits in the delta of the biggest of them all--the Amazon.  The island isn't officially the largest in the world, because of tides and seasons.  Sometimes Marajo is a single island, sometimes an archipelago.  Pororoca is the confluence tide in the delta of the Amazon where the sea water meets the freshwater of the river.  There are many times during the year when you can see the two waters moving against one another.  It's a phenomenon that you would be hard pressed to find visible anywhere else on Earth.

But why should you go to Marajo?  I always pick something unusual.  The tides are enough, but that's not all.  Marajo is most of the year, the size of Switzerland.  That's big.  Remember, the Amazon Delta is also the biggest in the world.

This may look like your average resort, but it's not.  This is Fazenda Do Carmo, a local farm and ranch turned tourist attraction.  What makes it different?  The activities.  There are many things that you can do on a farm, of which this is only one of many farms on the island.

They have Water Buffalo.  They raise them, they breed them, they cook them, and they are a primary source of transportation on the island.  I'm not joking.  They ride Water Buffalo on Marajo Island.  It's common, and they will teach you how to ride.  They do also have horseback riding and such, but why would you waste your adventuring time riding a horse when there are Water Buffalo awaiting?
And this is only the tip of the iceberg here on Marajo.  There are kayaking and other boat tours of massive Mangrove forests.  There are lush beaches with beautiful white sand.  There are excursions that will take you fishing for Piranha.  It's amazing all the things you can do and learn on this magnificent island.

The scenery is beautiful.

It's largest city, Soure, is beautiful.

The beaches are beautiful.

Marajo Island is a great place for birdwatching.  As a matter of fact, if you love ecotourism, this is a great place for it.  Most of the activities are based on nature.  There aren't many cars on the island, so there isn't a lot of damage to the ecosystem here.   There is a ferry that comes to the island from Belem on the coast of the river.  If you don't want to ride Water Buffalo or horses around the city, you can rent a bike almost anywhere.

The accommodations at Fazenda Do Carmo are nice, farmhouse rooms, with meals as well as activities.  They will teach you more than just to ride a Water Buffalo there.  They will teach you about fishing for Piranha ranching in the river delta, Mangrove Forests, and their culture.  You will eat and help cook authentic local dishes.  Beware, you will try Water Buffalo.

So, if you've seen Rio, and the other busier spots in Brazil, try this one.  It's wonderful, small town, and different.

Oh yeah, and they ride Water Buffalo. 

As I always say, try something different and enjoy!

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