Ilha de Marajó (and the hunt for the Guaras)

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July 27th 2005
Published: July 28th 2005
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So from Belem we got on a riverboat and headed three hours up the Amazon to the Ilha de Marajó. The island is slightly larger than Switzerland and famous for two things - buffalo (which thrive in the swamp conditions) and the scarlet guara birds we encountered in Cabure.

Grassy streets where the buffalo roam , beaches , miles and miles of green make this a truly beautiful island and we had a fantastic time there.

The first night we stayed in a beautiful pousada set right on top of the ocean. It was that night we ate buffalo steak for the first time (and i tell you it is good) ; whats better though is buffalo cheese - my god its delicious ..

After the first night we decided we wanted to try and find these guara´s which had so eluded us in Cabure. They are plentiful on the island (or so we thought) and are seen quite often (or not quite so often as in our case).

Anyway we moved to a small Fazenda on the outskirts on Soure the small town on Marajó. The fazenda was stunning - with buffalo roaming everywhere. There was also an added benefit of two wild macaws which had taken up residence there (because of the number of fruit trees) - they always stayed in one tree and we woke up every morning to the sound of them screeching for food (or attention..).

The fazenda we stayed on was famed for the fact that about 20 mins walk away was where the guaras were often seen feeding. Anyway we walked down there (twice i think) as it was on the way to the beach - and guess what not a damn guara in sight. Ever.

Another afternoon we visited Fazenda Bom Jesus - which is run by Doner Eva (who does amazing resue work with animals). The fazenda is huge and beautiful - we did a walk through the large open flooded plains with the buffalos roaming, the sound of howler monkeys in the trees and flocks of birds everywhere. And then just before the end of the walk - we found them (from a distance) the scarlet guaras against the green backdrop of Marajó - there werent many and they were a bloody long way away but it was great to see them again after they had eluded us for so long.

All in all we cannot recommend Marajó enough. It is absolutely beautiful, the people are friendly beyond belief and willing to chat all day about the island and its history. It is just a must see place - and one anybody going to Belem must visit.

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