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Santarém (Brazil)

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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.

Get in[edit]

By boat[edit]

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.

Three boats usually leave Manaus every day, except Wednesday (one boat, costing R10 more than usual) and Sunday (no boats). For example, the N/M Ana Karoline II departs from the Balsa Amarela dock in Manaus at 10am Mondays and arrives at the Port of Santarém at 6pm Tuesdays. As of Jan 2020, a hammock space costs around R150 and a cabin space costs around R600; the cheapest fares can be obtained at the ticket office in the Port of Manaus (cash only). As of Jul 2019, meals are usually not included in the fare; breakfast costs around R6-8 and lunch and dinner cost around R15.

By plane[edit]

There's a domestic airport (Santarém-Maestro Wilson Fonseca Airport) named for one of the city's most beloved composers with regular connections to cities like Belém, Manaus, and Brasilia. The flights from Manaus and Belém are both about an hour and a half. Housed at the airport are two antique cannons from an old fort. You will need to step out of the plane and walk to the baggage claim on the tarmac, during which time you will pass by the cannons.

Get around[edit]

The taxis in the city are very reliable around the airport and the downtown area. They are all metered. You can also catch a motorcycle taxi, but the locals tend to be uncomfortable riding them since they can be dangerous.

See[edit][add listing]

  • 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.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • The nearby river beach in the town of Alter do Chão is the city's biggest attraction. Several buses travel between the two cities. The ride is about 45 minutes.
  • The Orla or city waterfront is popular with locals as a place to hang out or go for a walk. You can find several shops there and in the downtown area, including some that are housed in historic buildings. During the rainy season, you can visit the fish market and see pink dolphins swimming underneath the boardwalk.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • 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.

Drink[edit][add listing]

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.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Gram Rio, (Overlooking the Mercado Municipal). single R$ 60 double r100.  edit
  • Hotel Equatorial, Av. Rui Barbosa and Silvino Pinto

Mid-range[edit]

  • Santarem Palace Hotel, Av. Rui Barbosa 726

Contact[edit]

There is free wifi available at Praça da Matriz.

Get out[edit]

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 destinations like Monte Alegre, Alenquer and Macapa. You should be aware that boats advertised as departing for Macapa actually dock in Santana and from there you will need to take a bus or taxi.

  • 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.


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