Santos is a city in the south of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Santos is the core city of Baixada Santista, a coastal metropolitan area with 1.6 million people, and contains the most important port in South America.
View of Santos from mt Serrat. Notice Ana Costa avenue
Santos is a municipality in the São Paulo state of Brazil, founded in 1546. It is partially located on the island of São Vicente which harbors both the city of Santos and the city of São Vicente, and partially on the mainland. It is the main city in Paulista Coast. As of 2006, its population was estimated at 418,375. Santos has the biggest seaport in Latin America; is a significant tourist center; has large industrial complexes and shipping centers, which handle a large portion of the world's coffee exports; as well as a number of other Brazilian exports including oranges, bananas and cotton. The city also displays the Coffee Museum, where, once, coffee prices were negotiated; and a football memorial, dedicated to the city's greatest players, amongst which is Pelé. Its beach's garden, 5.335 Km length, figures in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest beach front garden.
There is a tourist information on the beach garden in the center of the beach. It is the the building with Mondrian walls at the big "i"-sign, The staff speaks excellent english and are very helpful.
From Sao Paulo
- By air - Arriving the airports in Sao Paulo (Congonhas / CGH) or (Guarulhos / GRU), packtours can arrange convenient TAXI service to Santos, it may take slightly more than one hour to go. There are also about 8 bus service a day from Guarulhos.
- By bus - Take a taxi or the subway to Jabaquara Bus Station. There you can take a bus directly to Santos. Estimated travel time: 1 hour 20 minutes. Buses leave every 15 minutes 24 hours a day. Bus companies are e.g. Cometa (http://www.viacaocometa.com.br/pt/), Expresso Luxo (http://www.expressoluxo.com.br/), or Ultra (http://www.viacaoultra.com.br/). You can check timetables, prices (app. 20 R$, Nov. 2012) and book online, More information: 011 50113421. The bus stops at the Terminal Rodoviario De Santos and them some go on to São Vicente (Santos' twin city), some to Gonzaga (beach) and some to Ponta da Praia (on the channel, handy for taking a boat on to Guarujá). You can get off at many other stops on the bus way on, but only if you do not have luggage in the luggage trunk of the bus (it is possible to request your luggage is removed from the luggage trunk and placed inside the bus at the Santos Terminal in order to get off at a later minor stop with luggage). Terminal Rodoviario De Santos is directly in the center, however, the beach is far away (app. 5km).
There is also a direct service from terminal 1 I used this easter 2012. The Bus is Cometta I paid around 12 usd and arrived into Santos in 2h20
- By car - From São Paulo, take either rodovia Padre Anchieta ("Anchieta", SP-160) or rodovia dos Imigrantes ("Imigrantes", SP-160). Both roads have a "planalto" (plateau) section and a "serra" (mountain) section that goes down the Serra do Mar to the sea level. Anchieta being older, its mountain section is winding and narrow, while Imigrantes' is wider and mostly straight due to extensive use of tunnels and bridges. Both roads are linked through a high and a low interlink. Trucks and busses are prohibited in the mountain section of Imigrantes, and are forced to take the interlink and use Anchieta. Both roads feature a toll of about R$ 20,00 that you pay only in one direction (when leaving São Paulo). Also note that traffic is frequently deviated from one road to the other for traffic regulation purposes or road works, so you should follow the dynamic signs.
A good way to move around to not-so-close places. They are not very expensive and drivers are mostly friendly, although small cheats are not uncommon. To avoid it, after getting into a taxi, check if the taximeter has been started . If not, ask the taxi driver to do so.
Buses are a cheap and nice way to get around by day, although by night they become more scarce. The fare is payed either with tickets, which can be bought in most bus stops, or in cash to the driver, or conductor by passing by turnstile. Keep an eye out for pickpockets when the bus is crowded. Many people still get wet from the sea into the bus, so have a good look if your seat is dry before you sit.
Some bus stops have time tables and a map where the buses are heading to. However, the LED-displays of the buses are also good indicators on the direction.
Use small change. Paper money of R$ 20 or more are not polite.
Bicycles are by far the best way to move around the town, and since 2012 its possible to take one for free (bike-sharing). There are many "stations" of bicycle over all the city, especially on the beachfront. The system requires a register with credit card (ten reais as security deposit) at the website http://www.bikesantos.com/. Travel up to 30 minutes and with 15 minutes of break are free.
By streetcar (tramway)
There are a couple tourist routes with early XX century streetcars downtown.
Statue of the dock worker
- Dock Museum, Av. Rodrigues Alves with Rua João Alfredo, ☎ 3233 6565. Mon-Fri 7-11AM and 3-5PM. This museum tells the story of what was during the 19th century the greatest coffee dock in the world. Free.
- Statue of the dock worker, Praça Silvério de Souza. 12-meter-high statue in homage to the labor force that endured carrying tons of coffee everyday back in times.
- Coffee Stock Exchange, Rua XV de Novembro, 95, ☎ 3219 5585. Tue-Sun, 9AM-6PM. Once an active and important institution, nowadays it houses a Museum of Coffee where visitors can see the history of Coffee in Brazil. There are also some old machineries and different kinds of coffee. The building has renascentist inspiration and was reopened to the public in 1997. Adults R$4; Students and seniors R$2.
- Monte Serrat Hill, Praça Correia de Melo, 33, ☎ 3221 5665. Right in the center of the city. On the top of the hill (157m) one can have a 360 degrees view of all Santos and adjacent cities (like Guaruja). Full of restaurants and coffee bars. If climbing is not your sport, you can take the tram (R$23,00).
old men playing cards and checkers at the beach
- Beach front garden. The longest beach front garden in the world according to the Guinness with 5335 meters long. Just go to the beach and you will find it.
- Aquarium. Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Ponta da Praia, Phone: 3236-9996. The first public aquarium in Brazil featuring hundreds of sea creatures of the Brazilian seas. Tue to Sat, 9:00 to 18:00. R$ 5,00, students pay R$ 2,50 and free for children under 12.
- Church of Embare. Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 32, Phone: 3227-5977. Gothic church built in 1946. Everyday from 8:00 to 20:00. No admission fee.
- Orchid Garden plus Zoobotanic garden at Praça Washington Luis at the end of Avenida General Francisco Glicério, 200 metres from beach and 300 metres from São Vicente boarder. Small entrance fee. Several green houses full of orchids. Small local animals loose in the garden: turtles, pacas. Walk in fenced garden with loose large birds: tucanos, macaws.
- Benedicto Calixto Art Collecion at Bartolomeu de Gusmão Avenue, 15 (near a touristic guide place) is a beautiful mansion house with a permanent exhibition of paintings by Benedicto Calixto and an art library. Worth visiting the beautiful indoor garden.
Center East area
- Santos Futebol Club. Rua Princesa Isabel, Phone: 3239-4000. The famous club where Pele played most of his career exhibits some glories and trophies of the past and present. Interesting only for football fanatics. From 9:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 18:00. No admission fee.
- People from Sao Paulo often go to Santos to lie down under the sun and enjoy the beach. Santos beaches are not the most beautiful in the Paulista Coast, but they are still popular and a good place for a walk. Once there, you may try some coconuts (R$ 3.00) or buy handicrafts. If you can't find the vendors, don't worry, they will find you.
- Walk on the XV de Novembro Street. Located in the center of Santos, the street used to be where the office s of Coffee Lords were located. The interesting colonial architecture and the many bars and Cafes around make it a pleasant walk in the ending afternoon.
- Trams in Santos date back to 1861. You can still ride them and take a peek in all main attractions of the center. Tours costs R$5,00 (Nov. 2012) and leaves from Maua Square (Praça Visconde de Mauá).
- Climb up Monte Serrat or take the fanicular, nice view over Santos.
- Double Deck tour travels along the beach front on Saturdays and Sundays in summer, and during the rest of the year, on long holiday weekends. Departure point is near the Aquarium. A guide points out the main attractions along the route. Departures: Aquário Municipal de Santos (Neighborhood: Ponta da Praia)tickets costs: R$4
- The handicraft market is the place to buy a nice souvenir from Santos. There you can find paintings, earrings, clothes, candies, esoteric stuff, flowers and the like. It's located at the end of Avenida Conselheiro Nébias, every Saturday from 14:00 to around 23:00.
- Some tourists like to check the Fish Market, close to the ferry boat, where one can buy fresh fish with a very cheap price. Be aware: when you leave there you will smell like fish.
- Beduíno - Av. Ana Costa, 466 or Av. Marechal Floriano Peixoto, 44, Phone 32841702 - Brazilian burgers and other finger foods.
- Gotissô - Av. Saldanha da Gama, 159, Phone: 3261188O - Japanese cuisine with affordable prices, self-service system.
- Cafe Paulista, Praça Rui Barbosa 8 (in Centro, close to the Coffee Bourse), ☎ ''+55 13'' 3219-5550. Nice old cafe from 1931 where the coffee bosses used to hang out. It has kept some of the former style with white table cloths, attentive servers that fill up your glass, etc. Great salads, meat, and seafood. Very good selection of brazilian and imported wines R$15-40 for big portions.
- Vista ao Mar - Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 68, Phone: 3273-4411 - This seafood restaurant serves, among others, a tasty paella. The portion is huge, so it's better to come with a big group.
- Mar Del Plata - Av. Saldanha da Gama, 137, Phone: 3261-4253 - Traditional seafood restaurant.
- Piccola Forneria - Av. Almirante Cochrane, 62, Phone: 32736699/32711200 - Charming Italian restaurant with a great variety of pizzas and pasta. Good selection of wines.
- Último Gole - Rua Carlos Afonseca, 214, Phone: 32840508 - Traditional Portuguese cuisine. A nice dish of codfish, try the bacalhau Zé do Pipo.
- Point 44, Rua Jorge Tibiriça , 44 Gonzaga Santos/SP, ☎ ''+55 13'' 3877.7561, . One of the better place to eat around the beach R$ 40 for mains.
- La Recoleta - Av. Washington Luiz, 422, Phone: 3232-2803 - Argentinian restaurant inspired on La Recoleta area in Buenos Aires. Mainly meat. There's a Tango performance on Tuesday nights.
- Tertulha - Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 187, Phone: 3261-1641 - barbecue restaurant with many options of meat, salads and desserts. The waiters went at the tables with many options of meat, that you can choose what you prefer.
Bars in Santos are usually crowded and lively during the weekends. Many bars offer live MPB music (Popular Brazilian Music). Beer, caipirinha and batidas are found everywhere.
- Armazém 29 - Rua Pindorama, 29, phone: 32894629 - A very informal bar where people go after a day at the beach. Santistas say they serve the best caipirinha in town.
- Barão do Café - Av. Ana Costa, 547, Phone: 32861603 - Thematic bar that celebrates the glorious times of the coffee in Brazil. Old photos of the city on the walls. Live music from Wednesday to Sunday at nights.
- Chop Santista - Av. Vicente de Carvalho, 54, Phone: 32845428 - Huge bar with two separated rooms, one with live music, that stays very crowded in the weekends. A lot of flirting.
- Heinz - Rua Lincoln Feliciano, 54, Phone: 32861875 - A more traditional option with a not-so-young crowd. They serve good German food and appetizers to go with the beer.
On the side streets just West of Avenida Ana Costa (forwards Avenida Bernardino de Campos), one or two blocks from the beach, there are a few simple mixed cheap hotels / pensões.
On the Paqueta side of the city center (between the center and the port) there are a few grotty very cheap hotels, if you cannot afford anything else. (women travelling alone might fell uncorfortable there).
- Atlântico Hotel, av. Presidente Wilson 1, ☎ ''+55 13'' 3289-4500. checkout: noon. Very basic with bare walls and tile floor, but has airondition, TV, and affordable minibar. The hotel is an beautiful older building in an excellent location right at the beach. Free wireless internet. R$200 for a double room.
- Mercure Hotel Av Washington Luiz, 565, Phone (13) 3036-1013
- IBIS Hotel Av. Vicente de Carvalho, 50, Phone (13) 2127-1600
- Plaza Hotel, av. Floriano Peixoto, 42, Phone (13) 3208-6400
- Atlântico Inn, rua Jorge Tibiriçá, 4, Phone (13) 3289-4700
- Panorama, rua Euclides da Cunha, 15, Phone (13) 3208-6400
- Avenida Palace, av. Presidente Wilson, 10, Phone (13) 3289-3555
- Ritz, av. Marechal Deodoro, 24, Phone (13) 3284-1171
- Parque Balneário, av. Ana Costa, 555, Phone (13) 3289-5700 - Awesome hotel for those willing to spend a little (lot) more.
- Mendes Plaza, av. Floriano Peixoto, 42, Phone (13) 3289-4243 - The top of the local hotels.
Santos is infamous for beach pollution, and during most of the year, swimming on its beaches is not advised. A red flag of CETESB in the beach indicates that it is not suitable for swimming (information also available online).
You will probably see plenty of people swimming on the beaches, and some sanitarians argue that CETESB's indicators are too conservative. Nonetheless, if you want to play safe, it is better to go the the neighboring city of Guarujá for swimming.
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