marajó island 2

“Despite the placid, muggy appearance, Marajó’s tumultuous history boasts some of the bloodiest indigenous resistance to the Portuguese.”

“It was high time to take Atlas on another adventure, something on the order of Bananal Island, and it didn’t take long to settle on just such an opportunity, another isle no less.  Belém sits across from Isla de Marajó, the largest delta island in the world, bigger than Switzerland.


“Marajó is very much a sedimentary island, built up over millions of years by tons and tons of Amazonian flotsam, detrius, backwash, and dirt.” [pp. 155-156, 158, ‘To Belém & Back’]

From Belém, we took a three hour ferry ride across the mighty Pará River, which debouches the Amazon into the Atlantic.  It takes much less time, here, to see it for yourself.

Following a morning spent on the riverine beach:

“After I dried off a rejuvenated, if spent, Atlas with his towel, we boarded Joãozinho’s lumbering bus of dreams and rumbled back to the hotel, on a low-lying island afloat in the glittering expanse of the Amazonian delta.  Breaking barriers, I realized, is a force as natural as the Amazon’s onrushing ability to clear detrius, free blockages, and send it all out to sea.” [p.167]

About Ben

Ben Batchelder has traveled some of the world's most remote roads. Nothing in his background, from a degree in Visual & Environmental Studies at Harvard to an MBA from Wharton, adequately prepared him for the experiences. Yet he persists, for through such journeys life unfolds. Having published four books that map the inner and exterior geographies of meaningful travel, he is a mountain man in Minas Gerais, Brazil who comes down to the sea at Miami Beach, Florida. His second travel yarn, To Belém & Back, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. For more, visit

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