Santarém is located on the southern bank of the Tapajós River (a tributary of the Amazon), in northern Brazil. It's the second-largest city in Pará, and located just about midway between Manaus and Belém.
Santarém is about 36 hours by river boat from Manaus and a couple of days from Belem, making it an ideal place for a few days' stopover on a trip along the Amazon. Boats leave Manaus every day besides Sunday. There are usually 3 boats leaving from Manaus, however on Wednesdays only one boat leaves and costs R10 more than usual for first class. Usual cost is about R110-120 for first class (top deck with a hammock.)
There's a domestic airport(Santarém-Maestro Wilson Fonseca Airport), but few foreign travelers use it to get in. It's handy if the Amazon gets to you and you need a quick ride out, though.
- Mercado Modelo -- the city market.
- History Museum João Fona , on the eastern end of the waterfront. Good for a half-hour's worth of learning about the city, and attended by a helpful staff. Between the millennia-old pottery shards and the portraits of every single mayor of Santarem, there should be something to hold your attention.
- Museum do Índio; Museum de Arte Sacra; Museum Dica Frazão.
- The nearby river beach of Alter do Chão is the city's biggest attraction.
- Mascote, Pça. do Pescador, 10, (93)3523-2844. A popular restaurant located on the waterfront.
- Peixaria Piracatu, Av. Mendonça Furtado, 174, (93)3522-7580. Excellently prepared river fish such as Surubim, Tambaqui, Tucunaré, Pirarucu.
A few bar-come restaurants along the Beira Rio, particularly downstream from the center.
- For a happening Wednesday, pay 10 R$ for a cab to Vila Arigó where there is live open air pagode with dozens of plastic tables and chairs around.
- Gram Rio, (Overlooking the Mercado Municipal). single R$ 60 double r100. edit
- Hotel Equatorial, Av. Rui Barbosa and Silvino Pinto
- Santarem Palace Hotel, Av. Rui Barbosa 726
There is free wifi available at Praça da Matriz.
Santarém has two ports: Docas do Pará serves farther destination like Manaus and Belém while a smaller port near Praça Tiradentes serves destinations on the Tapajós river and other local destinations like Monte Alegre and Alenquer.
- Alenquer is a small town on the north bank of the river. From there, it's about two hours by taxi to Vale do Paraíso, an eco-resort built around the Viuva da Noiva waterfalls.