Ilot Macoa Island is a hidden paradise in the heart of the Amazon rainforest. Nestled between the Paru and Tapajós rivers, the island is a natural habitat for dozens of bird species. It’s also a haven for wildlife preservationists, who are fighting to protect the island’s rich ecosystem. Ilot Macoa Island is an eco-sensitive zone and you will need special permission to visit.
The island’s only inhabitants are a few eco-tourists who live on the island year-round. Ilot Macoa Island is a unique place that you don’t want to miss if you’re travelling to the Amazon rainforest.
Ilot Macoa Island was first discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. The island was colonized by the Dutch in 1642 and the British in 1779. It became a municipality of Manaus, Brazil, on July 9th, 1946. Ilot Macoa Island is completely surrounded by protected forested areas managed by Ibama (Brazilian Environmental Agency).
In 1985 UNESCO declared Ilot Macoa an Ecological Reserve due to its wide diversity of habitats and rare tropical birds, plants and animals.
The climate is tropical with a mean annual temperature of 26°C. The average rainfall is 1,500 mm per year and the island has an average humidity of 80%. In the rainy season, May to November there are over 20 days of rain each month.
Highlights For those of you who have limited time to explore the rainforest, this island offers a very short boat ride across the river. You can spend up to 2 days exploring this remote area, hiking and enjoying the jungle.
Ilot Macoa has a small population of eco-tourists who live on the island year-round. The locals are mainly subsistence farmers practicing traditional agriculture methods. They have no access to mainland markets and trade with the rest of the Amazon region is primarily by boat.
This relatively isolated island community are very proud of their unique culture, traditions and language, which they call Lingua de Macoa Ancestral. The local fishermen use a specialized type of large sailboat called paca boats (see photo below) in order to navigate aquatic routes like rivers and mangrove swamps connecting all other islands along its access boat route.
Kooperatives Associations for the production of native crops like fruit trees and medicinal herbs, flax cultivation produce both food and revenue in this community.
Ilot Macoa is not a political island, it’s an ecological reserve. Politics are not a priority for this community. But visitors can observe the local difficulties such as water pollution, deforestation and conflicts with neighboring islands (Belmiromar) about rights to resources and areas of Traditional Ecological Reserve or National Park territory.
No government services are available on the island. All activities are completely under the responsibility of local community.
School for young children and adults (not on board)
There is no public school or kindergarten on Ilot Macoa, but there is a volunteer-run primary/basic education program set up in Belmiromar through Eco Unite since 2009 which provides assistance to low population communities: student teachers, high school students volunteers who support with design and programming tasks.
Ilot Macoa is not a tourist destination. There are no hotels or restaurants here. Visitors need to bring their own food and supplies. Bird watching
Ilot Macoa offers a variety of birdwatching opportunities due to its location in the Belmiromar area where several different types live and migrate. You can often see them from your boat on offshore macaws, toucans, horned guan or large numbers of other tropical birds passing over you when sailing . For example this beautiful sailboat with 40 migrant passerines (over 100 individuals) is as usual visited by very few birds, because of the bad weather during this winter.
There is no public transport on the island, visitors need to bring their own provisions and boats. Natural habitat
Ilot Macoa is a natural island without any ecological degradation. The ecosystems have been protected since 1970 and form part of the National Park of Belmiromar in French Polynesia. There are some areas which still allows contact with less developed cultures such as fishermen (for example, Biga often uses fishing boats to go from one reef to another).
Due its low population density, wildlife can be seen everywhere: sea turtles nesting on the beach, fish of all kinds (large schools of saury are sometimes to be found when fishing is particularly good), the area around Belmiromar has a great variety of seabirds and reef animals.
There is no specific cuisine of Ilot Macoa, but the main food items are seafood (fresh or dried), fruit and vegetables. There is also a variety of breads, pastries and local beverages such as coffee or piña coladas. General information
Ilot Macoa is inhabited by the Ilotan people. The population of over 350 inhabitants lives in so-called longhouses (around five to 12 houses). These are built along the coast on piles and dolos altitudes which vary from 4m to 16 m. There are two or several longhouses, dep ending on the size of the island.
The island is home to over 100 migrant passerines including 60-70 species of ducks, geese, coots and turkeys. Although the island is relatively small in size, habitats are well-preserved. There are sea turtles and two species of land birds here (lapwing/koura). Among reef species, there will be spotted barracuda, octopus and flat fish with an interesting pattern on its back—very spectacular.
The ocean floor though somewhat altered by sedimentation still hosts unusual populations including unicornfishes that inhabit particular crevices only known to a few local.
All wild island habitats are faunal and floral opportunistic, with the lagoons serving as outstanding places for endangered birds of prey that nest there in large numbers. Here you can see great sea turtles (about 100), an endemic bat species called Sepkoslopy and two rare kind of land animals: a member of flatfishes family Staurodon conchonius which lives off inshore bottom-dwelling fish and a rarer kind of endemic land rodents called Sepkoslopy.
Ilot Macoa is a private island located in the south of Haiti. It is a nature reserve and home to one of the last populations of the endangered American crocodile. It also has an abundance of birds, including the critically endangered purple heron, as well as a diversity of reptiles and amphibians. Ilot Macoa is open to visitors who can enjoy its beautiful wildlife and stunning scenery.
1.What Is Ilot Macoa?
Ans. Ilot Macoa is a small private island located in the south of Haiti, between the Paru and Tapajós rivers. It is a nature reserve and home to one of the last populations of the endangered American crocodile.
2.Who Can Visit Ilot Macoa?
Ans. Ilot Macoa is open to visitors who have special permission from its owners. Only a few eco-tourists live on the island year-round.
3.How Do I Get A Permit For Ilot Macoa?
Ans. You can contact either AAD or FNE/AF our friends are recommended as some permits are limited in numbers, especially during holidays and peak seasons.
4.What Should I Wear?
Ans. You don’t need to dress up for Ilot Macoa, but please note that visitors are not allowed on the island during periods of high rainfall.
5.Is There Food Available On Ilot Macoa?
Ans. No, there is no food or drink available on the island.