Welcome to Monte Alegre

Monte Alegre's cave paintings are quite accessible from Santarém. The best-known site is Serra do Paituna, with the stunning Pedra Pintada cavern, where Roosevelt's primary excavations took place, and a distintive ridgetop rock formation called Pedra do Pilão. Two other sites, Serra do Ererê and Serra de Itauajuri, are harder to reach (especially in rainy season) but have excellent paintings as well. All three require a vehicle and guide (the area was recently designated a state park), and include moderately strenuous hiking. Bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water.

Nelsí Sadeck is an amiable former teacher who assisted Roosevelt's excavations, and is Monte Alegre's go-to guide. Tours are R$150 to R$200 per day (up to four people) and use of a truck runs R$300 per day. There's a daily speedboat and slow boat service from Santarém, but the schedule is such you'll need to stay two or more nights to have sufficient time; Hotel Shekinah is a reliable option.

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Monte Alegre in detail