Santarém is a city 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 60 to 70 hours 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 R$10 more than usual for first class. Usual cost is about R$110-120 for first class (top deck with a hammock.)
- 1 Santarém-Maestro Wilson Fonseca Airport (STM IATA). There's a domestic 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. Connections exist, among others, to Fortaleza, Manaus, Recife and Rio de Janeiro. The following airlines have flight to and from Santarém: Gol, LATAM, Trip e Azul.
- The meeting of the Tapajós River with the Amazon River.
- 1 Mercado Modelo, Travessa Senador Lemos, 2-76 - Centro, Santarém - PA, 68005-350. The city market.
- 2 Museu Centro Cultural João Fona (João Fona Cultural Centre Museum), Praça Avenida Adriano Pimentel,s/n ,Prainha, R. Adriano Pímentel, S/N - Prainha, Santarém - PA, 68005-270 (on the eastern end of the waterfront), ☏ . M-F 07:30-17:00. 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 Santarém, there should be something to hold your attention.
- Museu do Índio. Indian Museum
- 3 Museu de Arte Sacra (Sacred Art Museum), R. Siqueira Campos, 439 - Centro, Santarém - PA, 68005-030 (Annex of the Matriz Church (Igreja Matriz)), ☏ . Tu-Sa 08:00-11:30.
- 4 Museu Dica Frazão (Dica Frazão Museum), R. Floriano Peixoto, 281 - Centro, Santarém - PA, 68005-280, Brazil, ☏ . Daily 08:00-18:00.
- 5 Theatro Victória, Travessa Senador Lemos, 60 - Centro, Santarém - PA, 68005-000, ☏ .
You can enjoy good moments in the various bars of the city with live music, pizzerias, cinemas and nightclubs. Besides a pleasant walk along the waterfront in front of the meeting of the waters of the Amazonas and Tapajós rivers.
- 1 Festa de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Feast of Our Lady of the Conception), Centro, Santarém - State of Pará, 68005-000, ☏ . The feast of Our Lady of the Conception begins on Saturday, the Vespers of Círio (in November), when the image of the Virgin of the Mother Church is transferred to the Church of St Sebastian, where the pilgrimage leaves on Sunday morning.
- 2 Festa Folclórica do Sairé, Sairódromo, or Praça do Sairé, Alter do Chão (There are buses to Alter do Chão.). In the Alter do Chão area about one hour south of Santarém. Held between June and September.
- 3 Alter do Chão. The nearby river beach of Alter do Chão is the city's biggest attraction.
- 4 UFOPA - Amazon Unit, Av. Mendonça Furtado - Fátima, Santarém - PA, 68040-050, ☏ . Lectures (in Portuguese).
You can to taste the rich regional cuisine that includes the famous tacacá, duck in tucupi, pirarucu in escabeche sauce, the delicious farofa de piracuí with banana, calderada de tucunaré, manissoba, macaxeira cake and diverse fish dishes, in addition to the tasty creme de cupuaçu, bombom de cupuaçu, Brazil nut biscuit and tapioca.
- Mascote, Pça. do Pescador, 10, ☏ . A popular restaurant located on the waterfront.
- Peixaria Piracatu, Av. Mendonça Furtado, 174, ☏ . Excellently prepared river fish such as Surubim, Tambaqui, Tucunaré, Pirarucu.
You have the opportunity to sample the tasty and nutritious açaí, bacaba and assorted tropical fruit juices such as cupuaçu and graviola.
- A few bar-come-restaurants along the Beira Rio, particularly downstream from the center.
- For a happening Wednesday, pay R$10 for a cab to Vila Arigó where there is live open air pagode with dozens of plastic tables and chairs around.
- 1 Hotel Gram Rio, Rua Floriano Peixoto, 903 – Centro. 68005-060 (Overlooking the Mercado Municipal), ☏ , (mobile), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Single with fan R$30, with air-con R$50; R$100 double.
- 2 Hotel Equatorial, Travessa Silvino Pinto, 14; Centro; 68005-330 (at the crossing of Rui Barbosa avenue and Silvino Pinto), ☏ .
- Santarém Palace Hotel, Av Rui Barbosa 726, ☏ .
- 3 Aquário Hotel, Rua Floriano Peixoto, 799,68010-060, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. daily rates from R$70.
- Hotel Encontro das Águas, Rua 24 de Outubro, 808 - Centro, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Free Wifi, air conditioning, fridge, breakfast. No hot shower. Individual: R$60-100. Double: R$80-120.
- Hotel Granrios, Av. Tapajós, 375 - Centro, ☏ . Old hotel on the edge of Tapajós. Air conditioning, minibar, breakfast. No hot shower. Single R$50-80, double R$60-80.
- 4 Barrudada Tropical Hotel, Av. Barão do Rio Branco, 344 - Centro; 68005-310, ☏ , , (events), ✉ email@example.com. Includes breakfast and wifi. Daily rates from R$152.
- Hotel Sandis, R. Floriano Peixoto, 609 - Centro, 68005-060, ☏ , , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A 4-minute walk from the Rio Tapajós, this no-frills hotel with a tile facade is 900 m from the Museu Centro Cultural João Fona and 3.1 km from the Porto de Santarém. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org . Daily rates from: single R$93-150, double: R$120-180.
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 Macapá. You should be aware that boats advertised as departing for Macapá actually dock in Santana and from there you will need to take a bus or taxi.
- Itaituba is located to the south about 15 hours by boat along the Tapajós River, or 8 hours by bus. From here you can explore the Amazônia National Park.
- 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 Véu da Noiva waterfalls.
- Fordlândia is a small historic town on the east bank of the Tapajós River. It can be arrived at by boat.