Alter do Chão, 33km west of Santarém, is an appealing, languid riverside town that's popular with visitors from Santarém on weekends and during holiday periods. It's best known for its Ilha do Amor (Island of Love), a picturesque island ringed by a white-sand beach directly in front of town.
But Alter do Chão is much more than a beach town. The lagoon it fronts (Lago Verde) can be explored by canoe or stand-up paddle board. It's also the departure point for boat tours to nearby forest reserves and isolated communities, and has one of the best indigenous art stores in the Amazon region.