Santarem, Brazil

Santarem has been a major player in the region’s booms of wood, rubber, minerals and, today, soybeans. Nearby is a “meeting of waters” where the darker Rio Tapajos merges with the light-brown Amazon.

A few miles to the west, the town of Alter do Chao offers an idyllic setting for relaxing and exploring, with its white sand beaches, huge natural lagoon and surrounding forest.