Peaceful life at Ilha do Algodoal, Pará

Arrival to Ilha do Algodoal

Arrival to Ilha do Algodoal

Ilha do Algodoal is a small island located in Pará, one of the northern states of Brazil. In general Pará is well-known as eco-tourism destination, but the fact that it also offers cultural attractions and irresistable beaches, makes it an interesting destination for international tourism. Ilha do Algodoal is a mixture of eco-tourism and beaches. It’s a destination of an open-minded traveller, who is looking for once in a life time experiences. As soon as you arrive to Ilha do Algodoal and get transfered to your pousada by horse wagons, you will notice that tiny island is completely lost in time. A good proof of this is the electricity that came to the island just few years ago, and as motorized traffic doesn’t make part of the island life, you can only imagine how far away the rythms of life in Algodoal is from the rush and run of any big or any medium sized city.

Village of Algodoal

Village of Algodoal

Reaching this paradise requieres a little bit work, but is definitely worth it. The best access to the island is from Maruda, a small town located about 160 km from the state capital Belem. You can reach Maruda by a regular bus, which takes about 4-5 hours or by minibus/van when the journey takes about 2½-3 hours. Naturally a minibus/van is more recommendable even if it turns out to be slightly more expensive than the regular bus. The third option is to hire a private transfer, which of course is the most comfortable way of travelling and the arrival time will be planned according the departure time of the boats to Ilha do Algodoal. Once you reach Maruda you still have to take a boat across the river. The ride takes about 30-40 minutes and the departure times vary depending on the weekday, being generally few departures during the morning and the early afternoon. Once the boat arrives to the island of Algodoal several horse wagons are waiting for to transport the passangers to their final destinations. A horse ride a fantastic way to get used to the relaxed and easygoing atmospheare of this lovely island.

Praia da Princesa

Praia da Princesa

Even if the state of Pará is not wellknown as a beach destination, the beach of Princesa was recently chosen among the ten most beautiful beaches of Brazil. During the low tide you can reach Princesa either by walk or by hiring a ride with one of the many horse wagons operating around the island. When the tide is rising a small river has to be crossed by a rowboat. Here the sea water gets mixed with the rivers and therefore you will hardly notice any salty taste at all.  The color of the water may not be as bright as in many other brazilian beaches, but what makes Praia da Princesa special is a combination of several facts. This wide and long beach is surrounded by dunes, lies in a complete peace and harmony with the nature and has one of the most neverending kind of horizons for a traveller to admire. The beach bars serving clients are all rustic and outside of the high season (January & July) or the public holidays the beach can be basically yours. Once the sun goes down Praia da Princesa shows the another side of its’ beauty, here the sunsets are something spectacular. Due to the location close to the Equatorial the horizon seems to have no end at all, and the blue moment before the night falls is something to be remembered.

Lagoa da Princesa

Lagoa da Princesa

What are the other attractions of Ilha do Algodoal appart of the Praia da Princesa beach? The lagoon of Princesa is located in the middle of  the dunes and surroundedn by tropical vegetation, just about 30 minutes walk (or a short wagon ride) away from the beach. It’s a lovely place to visit and you can also enjoy a refreshing bath in the lagoon before starting your hike back to the beach. An another attraction requiring a longer hike is the village of Fortalezinha, located at the other end of the island. To reach Fortalezinha, you have three options: hire a local guide and hike approximately during two hours, take a wagon ride (approximately 1 hour) or a boat ride (approximately 30-40 minutes). Hiking is the best option if you wish to enjoy the pureness of the nature with all your instincts, but in this case it’s recommendable to start the journey as early as possible before the heat of the sun is insupportable. When reaching Fortalezinha, you will most probably see many species of birds, including beautiful red Guarás, be able to bath in the natural swimming pools during the low tide and enjoy the beach before returning back to the main village of Algodoal.

Beach at sunset

Beach at sunset

If you choose Ilha do Algodoal as your destination be prepared with a mosquito spray as there are a large number of all kind of insects in the island. Also do not expect to find a large variety of night life. On the weekends live Carimbo (a local dance) is played at the restaurant La Dune, while Raiz do Mangue concentrates on Reggae music, but that’s basically it. Algodoal is a place where you will mostly listen the sounds of the nature and easily forget everything related with your daily routines. Welcome to Ilha do Algodoal, one of our favourite destinations!

Colorful flowers

Colorful flowers

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Marhesias – A small pousada with 4 chalets surrended by tropical vegetation. The best option on the island with quality installations, stylish details and personalized treatment.
  • Chalets do Atlantico – Pousada offereing standard chalet accommodation, suitable especially for families or small groups.
  • Restaurante La Dune – A simple restaurant at the center of the village offering tasty home made food.
  • Bar & Restaurante Argentino – A recommendable bar at the beach of Princesa.

The Delta of Parnaíba, Piauí

Delta of Parnaíba

Delta of Parnaíba

Delta of Parnaíba has a unique ecosystem, comparable only to the Nile or the Mekong River. It’s located in the state of Piauí, close to the boader of Maranhão and consists of 85 islands covering an area of 2700 km2. The Delta of Parnaíba is a mixture of rivers, lagoons, dunes and deserted beaches. The mangrove trees are home for many different species of birds and other animals, such as crocodiles, monkeys, turtles and crabs that can all be found from the area of Delta.

The unique nature of Delta

The unique nature of Delta

For a tourist , a visit to Delta of Parnaíba is not the simplest thing to do. First of all the access to this ecosystem has to be done from the city of Parnaíba, which do has an airport, but it’s only operated by small regional airlines. Therefore a visit to Delta often forms part of a larger itinery including either Lencois Maranhenses in Maranhão or Jericoacoara in Ceará, or both. The reach Parnaiba departing from Lencois Maranheses your first step will be reaching Caburé and then after you need to hire a 4×4 transfer to Parnaíba. The first part of this transfer takes you over the dunes until you reach a road leading to Parnaíba. In total the journey takes about 5 hours, as the road is not in the best possible conditions. If you are coming from direction of Jericoacoara, the access is done with 4×4 vehicles as well, as leaving Jericoacoara can only be done over the dunes. The total distance is about 220 km and an approximate time of journey is around 4 hours. An another option is to arrive from the direction of the state capital Teresina accessible by major airlines of the country. In this case the distance is about 335 km. If you decide to choose this option and are into active eco-tourism, including a visit to the National Park of Sete Cidades, located in the northern part of Piauí state only about 140 km from Parnaíba, might be an interesting option for you. This National Park is wellknown for particularly interesting stone formations dividing the area into seven different ambients (“Seven cities”, like the names says).

Boat excursion

Boat excursion

However let’s get back to the main point, the Delta of Parnaíba. To get to know the delta your options are either a private or a group excursion, being the second one of course a more economic option for you. Private tours are taylor made according to your schedules, while the group excursions have a duration of a day and are organized on board of a river boat, which in fact is a quite charming way to explore the region. The journey takes you along the river all the way to deserted beaches, where you have a chance for a bath. You will climb up on the dunes to see how wide the area of Delta really is and enjoy a delicious lunch buffet on the board surrounded but the mangrove vegetation. During the excursion you will fully experience the nature of this unique ecosystem. If you are not travelling during the high season try to visit Parnaíba on weekends, just to guarantee that the inexpensive group excursions are organized while you are in the city. Flying over the Delta is also a great way to see the expansion of the rivers and the islands. This is when you really realize how amzingly large the area is.

For those willing to feel the pureness of the nature with all their senses and discover the ecosystem on their own, we would recommend a visit to Ilha do Caju. This island that forms part of the Delta is in fact located in the side of Maranhão, but enjoys the best fluvial access leaving from Parnaíba (approximately 3½-4 hours). Ilha do Caju is under ecological protection and is a perfect destination for those who enjoy active eco-tourism. Due to the private ownership the access requires a reservation in the only pousada located on the island. The numerous cashew trees have given the name for this island, which until today is one of the few places where the wonders of the nature have been totally preserved.

Pedra do Sal

Pedra do Sal

Once you have arrived to Parnaíba visited Delta, it’s not worth continuing your journey immediately. Beside of Delta, Parnaíba has other attractions to offer as well. You may make a day trip to many of the beaches on the litoral of Piauí, being some of the most interesting ones Praia da Pedra do Sal and Macapá. All of them are naturally beautiful offering rustic beach services. Pedra do Sal is characterized by stone formations and Macapá on the other hand is a meeting point for a river and the sea. The most famous beach of the area is Luis Correia, which tends to be pretty crowded during the weekends. Try it out from Monday till Friday, and on weekends head to the more peaceful beach like Praia do Coqueiro located not so far away from Luis Correia. This beach with many palm trees offers also quality accommodation for those looking for to stay in front of the sea.

Our itinerary suggestions including Delta of Parnaiba.

Beach of Macapá

Beach of Macapá

Brazil Diversity recommends:

  • Pousada Dos Ventos, Parnaíba – Centrally located good quality pousada in Parnaíba. Excellent choice for any travelling willing to visit the Delta of Parnaíba.
  • Pousada Ecológica, Ilha do Caju – The only pousada of the island operates respecting the ecological values and is a perfect base for your eco-tourism adventures. Please not pousada doesn’t accept under 15 years old children.
  • Aimberê Eco-Resort, Praia do Coqueiro – A good quality choice for those willing to stay in front of the beach., just a short drive from the city of Parnaíba.
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