Day 101 Saturday April 25, 2015 Alter do Chão, Brazil
(Note: Brazil photo courtesy of ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews)
The beach resort of Alter do Chão along the Amazon River is on a beautiful bay flanked by two hills, one of which resembles the shape of a church altar, which gives the place its name. The other cone-shaped hill is easily climbable (after hiking through a thick forest), offering a spectacular view of the meeting of the Amazon and Tapajós rivers.
The bay is lined with white sand beaches on the deep blue Tapajós River; the beaches feature rows of simple stalls that sell fried fish and cold beer. The primary sight in Alter do Chão is the Center for the Preservation of Indian Art, a spectacular collection of Amazon Indian artifacts, housed in one of the village’s largest buildings.
Courtesy of ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews
Day 102 Sunday Apr 26, 2015 Santarém, Brazil
First settled by Jesuits in 1661, Santarem quickly became a focus of American interest during the rubber boom of the early twentieth century. Today, Santarem remains one of Brazil’s most important trading centers, and is imbued with the energy of a growing city. Be sure to view the “Wedding of the Waters,” the unique merging of the Tapajos clear water with the Amazon’s muddy water.
Day 103 Monday Apr 27, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Amazon River
Day 104 Tuesday April 28, 2015 Devil’s Island, Iles du Salut, French Guiana
Devil’s Island (Ile du Diable) is one of the three infamous penal colonies of the Iles du Salut archipelago (Islands of Salvation), the other two being Ile Royale and Ile St. Joseph.
The penitentiary was first opened by Emperor Napoleon III’s government in 1852, and became one of the most infamous prisons in history before closing in 1946. Each island served a different purpose of the penal colony: Ile Royale was the site of the administrative center, the wardens’ accommodations and for prisoners deemed less dangerous. The more troublesome convicts of hardened thieves and murderers were kept at Ile St. Joseph. On the almost inaccessible Devil’s Island, political prisoners such as Alfred Dreyfus were held in isolation.
A great many of the more than 80,000 prisoners sent to the harsh conditions at disease-infested Devil’s Island were never seen again. Other than by boat, the only way out was through a dense jungle; accordingly, very few convicts ever managed to escape. The prisoner who became world famous was Henri Charriére, immortalized in the movie Papillon, for supposedly being the only convict ever to have escaped from the “green hell.”
Day 105 Wednesday April 29, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Day 106 Thursday April 30, 2015 Barbados/Bridgetown, British West Indies
Barbados offers sun-drenched beaches, clear blue-green waters and cool trade winds. Inland are lovingly preserved plantation houses, lush sugar cane fields and fragrant gardens. This charming former British colony is one of the most stable independent Caribbean nations. Reminders of British rule abound, from cricket fields to Lord Nelson’s statue and the original Trafalgar Square. Don’t miss Bridgetown’s bustling Careenage and the shops on Broad Street, which offer exceptional deals on luxury imports from Britain.
Day 107 Friday May 1, 2015 St. Thomas/Charlotte Amalie, USVI
Glimmering bays, shining seas, powdery sand beaches, towering green hills and unsurpassed shopping – this is St. Thomas. The Danes originally declared St. Thomas a free port, making it the shopping paradise it remains today. You will delight in exquisite imported goods ranging from Danish silver to French porcelain and Swiss watches. While this mountainous island is one of the loveliest stretches of land in the Caribbean, its offerings are not limited to its idyllic tropical scenery. The former pirate haunts, Danish relics and picturesque old buildings are constant reminders of St. Thomas’ exotic history, making this a fascinating place in which to sightsee.
Day 108 Saturday May 2, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Day 109 Sunday May 3, 2015 At Sea Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
Day 110 Monday May 4, 2015 Miami, Florida, USA
It has the largest city population in Florida, is the third most visited American city among international travelers and showcases an Art Deco Historic District encompassing one of the largest neighborhoods entered on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Miami certainly boasts its share of impressive characteristics, even before adding to the list its gorgeous beaches, spirited Cuban population and ritzy enclaves of Coral Gables and Coconut Grove.
Miami wasn’t always the glamorous and energetic city you see today. Until the late 1800s, it was mostly swamp, disconnected from the rest of the country thanks to its position on the edge of the continent and lack of the essential link of the day: a railroad. All that changed in 1896, when the railroad in northern Florida was extended to the latent tropical paradise of the south.
The rest, as they say, is history, as Miami has since seen recurrent booms fueled by surges of immigration, perennially good weather and an insouciant refusal to do anything halfway. Admire the full glory of Miami Beach with a stroll along South Beach’s famous Ocean Boulevard, where splendidly restored art deco buildings compete with fashion models and sun worshipers for attention. For a taste of Cuban cuisine and culture, visit Little Havana on the mainland (Miami Beach is separate both in its municipality and its geography: it sits on a barrier island four miles off the coast, and is reached by a causeway). Also outside mainland Miami are the acres of rare tropical plants nurtured to their fragrant and beautiful best in Fairchild Tropical Gardens. The aforementioned slice of heaven known as Coral Gables lies to the southwest. A gem of 1920s city planning, the city unfurls impressive boulevards and features the alluring Venetian Pool, where waterfalls and underwater caves offer the chance for a uniquely refreshing dip.