Santarém (Santarem), Brazil

Introduction to Santarém (Santarem)

The centre of Santarém is home to the Mercado Modelo – city market – filled with stores, boutiques and other shops. Don’t miss the Museu de Santarém, which has fantastic displays of local historical art, and the ‘wedding of the waters’ – the meeting of the Amazon and Tapajós rivers.

Bordered by the Tapajos and Amazon rivers, Santarém is a city of astonishing, breathtaking sights. From the beaches that run alongside Av Tapajos you can witness the famous ‘Meeting of the Waters’, where the two rivers flow side-by-side without mixing, creating two distinct bands of different-coloured water and one of Brazil’s greatest natural attractions.

In the centre of the city, there are plenty of other sights to enjoy too, such as the pretty architecture and art exhibitions in the local museums. The Museu Dica Frazao is truly unique, exhibiting various items of clothing and other fabrics that are made out of natural fibres taken from grasses, shrubs and trees from the surrounding Amazonian plains. To sample some traditional local produce, head to the Mercado Modelo – the City Market – where you’ll find a host of stalls, charming boutiques and other stores.

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MAICA LAKE CRUISE (TOUR B)

Must do tour
  • Meander through the flood plain by river boat
  • Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive pink dolphin
  • Admire the magnificent ‘Meeting of the Waters’ – a truly unique natural phenomenon
Boat Tour
Price£50.00 - £60.00
DurationApprox 3.5 Hrs
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking

An excellent opportunity to explore the wonderful ecosystem that is the Amazon.

The lakes within this section of the river are especially lush, containing a wealth of vegetation; keep your eyes peeled for some of the more curious local wildlife.

Your tour begins with a visit to the ‘Meeting of the Waters’, where the Amazon and Tapajós Rivers come together – a natural phenomenon that is fascinating to observe. Continuing, you travel downstream on the Amazon to Maicá, a natural outlet and a much smaller stream, making it easier to spot flora and fauna as the boat meanders through the flood plain.

As your riverboat approaches the entrance to the Maicá Lake, you will see native homes as well as being able to admire the local flora – keep your eyes peeled for the rare pink dolphins. If river conditions permit, you may have an opportunity to fish for voracious piranhas whilst at anchor.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2018 AMAZON CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that there will be a walk, in addition to the walk along the pier, of up to 120 metres (390 feet) to board the boat, which is reached via a gangplank. The boats have a restroom and PA system. Please ensure you adhere to the safety instructions on board the boat. For reference, the facilities on board the riverboat are basic, and outdoor viewing space may be limited. It may be difficult to see the Meeting of the Waters, as this is dependent upon water conditions. A bottle of water would be a handy addition to your bag. We cannot guarantee the sightings of any wildlife.


ALTER DO CHAO BEACH TRANSFER & SANTAREM (TOUR E)

  • Enjoy time at leisure to explore Alter do Chão’s beaches
  • Relax and soak up the Amazon sun
  • Admire some of Santarém’s most popular highlights
Beach Tour
Price£60.00 - £70.00
DurationApproximately 5½ hours
Walking level 1 - minimal or no walkingMinimal or no walking
Free time includedFree time included
Swimming time includedSwimming time included

The charming town of Alter do Chão is Santarém’s weekend resort. Located on the Tapajos River and known for its lovely white sand beaches it is considered to be the ‘Caribbean of the Amazon’.

Your tour begins with a journey to Alter do Chão, where time at leisure will allow you to explore the inviting waters of the Tapajós. Spend time soaking up the Amazon sun whilst relaxing on the sandy beaches or explore the small nearby town.

Departing Alter do Chão, a brief visit will be made to ‘Casa da Farinha’. A visit to this former manioc flour factory will introduce you to a variety of native trees, including rubber and brazil nut trees; you will also have the opportunity to gain an insight into local cuisine, including how to make the staple dish, tapioca.

On arrival in to the centre of Santarém, admire the Cathedral of Our Lady of Conceicao – dating back to 1761 making it the oldest building in the city. Before returning to your awaiting ship you will also have approximately 20 minutes of time at leisure at Fisherman’s Square during which you may wish to browse the local shops for a souvenir of your time here.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2018 AMAZON CRUISE.

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? The amount of walking involved during the period of free time (approximately two hours) is at the discretion of the individual, there will be approximately 30 minutes walking during the tour of Santarém, some of which will be over uneven terrain, with up to 12 steps to negotiate at the cathedral. All guests are advised to exercise due caution in regards to bathing conditions. Come wearing your swimming costume under casual clothes and do not forget a towel and adequate sun protection. Toilet facilities are available in local restaurants within the town square of Alter do Chão, and at all stops in Santarém. Transport will be by local buses; please note that air-conditioned vehicles are not available in Santarém. A bottle of water would be a handy addition to your bag. For reference, it may be possible to take a local boat to Ilha do Amor – a small island in front of the beach. At time of print, the cost of this is approximately $10, and is not included in the tour cost.


NATURE WALK IN BOSQUE SANTA LUCIA (TOUR C)

  • Explore the distinctive Bosque Santa Lúcia
  • Learn more about the rainforest as you negotiate a forest trail with your experienced guide
Activity Tour
Price£55.00 - £65.00
DurationApprox 3.5 Hrs
LimitationVery Limited Capacity
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

Discover the distinctive characteristics of the Bosque Santa Lúcia as you wind your way along one of the many trails – en route your guide will impart some of their valuable knowledge about this area.

Begin with a journey along the Santarém — Cuiba Highway – the only road connecting this part of the Amazon with all other points in Brazil. At this point you will reach an elevation of 158 metres (518 feet), which might be considered the Alps for the Amazon. A few minutes later you enter a secondary dirt road that will take you through several small villages and farms to Bosque Santa Lúcia (Santa Lúcia Woods). Different stages of ‘slash and burn’ agriculture and the effect it has had on the forest and land can be observed on this stretch of road.

At Bosque Santa Lúcia, your guide will choose from more than five kilometres (three miles) of forest trails for your nature walk. Bosque Santa Lúcia contains more than 400 different species of regional trees. Although a secondary forest, it provides most of the characteristics noted throughout the more distant, inaccessible virgin forests – that is, widely diversified species of trees and plants making use of nutrient-poor tropical soils.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2018 AMAZON CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that there is a substantial amount of walking involved in this tour (approximately two hours), over uneven ground, therefore it is unsuitable for guests with limited mobility; mud may be encountered. Wear trousers, a long-sleeved shirt, comfortable walking shoes or boots and insect repellent. Binoculars may add to your enjoyment. Local buses are used for transportation; they are not air-conditioned. A bottle of water would be a handy addition to your bag.


SANTAREM - INFORMATION

The first settlement in Santarem was a Jesuit mission built in 1661. Following the American Civil War, a group of Confederates settled here and the American traditions they passed down are still evident in many of the local customs. During the rubber boom of the 1920s, Henry Ford spent US $80 million building an enormous rubber plantation in the area to supply his cars with the raw material to make tyres.

Please note that there may be quite a long walk from the pier (approximately 400 metres) in order to reach the tour vehicles.

Today Santarem is one of the Amazon’s most important trading centres and is rich in legend and nature. The town is situated at the point where the Tapajós and the Amazon waters meet. This is called the ‘Wedding of the Waters’ and is one of Santarem’s major attractions. The lakes and forests of this area are home to numerous species of birds, particularly the white egret.

In addition to exploring the river, the town has attractions including: the Town Hall Museum, displaying valuable pottery made by the Tupaiu Indians; Our Lady of Conceicao Church; the Municipal Market; and the Casa da Farinha, an old manioc flour factory where you can also see rubber extraction and trees native to the area.

Please note that there may be quite a long walk from the pier (approximately 400 metres) in order to reach the tour vehicles.


SANTAREM HIGHLIGHTS (TOUR A)

  • Uncover the main sights of Santarém
  • View the natural phenomenon of the ‘Meeting of the Waters’
  • Learn more about the native trees of Alter do Chao
Price£40.00 - £50.00
DurationApprox. 3.5 Hrs
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

Discover the highlights of Santarém on an insightful tour and gain a glimpse into the activities of one of the Amazon’s most vital ports after Manaus and Belém, with a history that dates back to 1661.

Begin with a drive along the bustling waterfront and past the fish market. Boats are the chief mode of transportation in the Amazon, so you are sure to see cargo, produce and passenger vessels in various shapes and conditions. Proceeding towards the town centre, a short stop will be made at the cathedral, to admire the city’s oldest building.

At Fisherman’s Square, you will be invited to visit the Joao Fona Museum where you can browse exhibitions of art work and local artefacts – including a collection of ancient Tapajos ceramics. Your next stop will be at a viewpoint from where you can observe the Meeting of the Waters. This natural phenomenon of the muddy Amazon and the blue waters of the Rio Tapajos flowing side-by-side defines the character of the city.

Next travel to ‘Casa da Farinha’. A visit to this old manioc flour factory will introduce you to a variety of native trees, including rubber and brazil nut trees; you will also have the opportunity to gain an insight into local cuisine, including how to make the staple dish, tapioca.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2018 AMAZON CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note this tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which will be over uneven ground, and there are up to 12 steps to negotiate at the cathedral, therefore we do not recommend this tour to guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Transport will be by local buses; please note that air-conditioned vehicles are not available in Santarém. A bottle of water would be a handy addition to your bag.


TAPAJOS NATIONAL FOREST (TOUR D)

  • A unique opportunity to trek through the Tapajós National Forest with an experienced jungle guide
  • Discover the many uses of the flora found within the forest, including the rubber tree
Activity Tour
Price£60.00 - £70.00
DurationApprox 5 Hrs
LimitationLimited Capacity
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

A walk deep into the Tapajós National Forest will allow you an insight into the many different species of trees and flora within this area. Accompanied by local jungle guides, you are sure to be fascinated by their tales.

Begin with a journey along Route 163, the Santarem–Cuiba Highway – the only road to Southern Brazil. Tapajós National Forest is a section of the Brazilian Amazon that is a major resource for tropical hardwoods. It covers an area of 1,482,660 acres and is protected by federal law.

Upon your arrival, you join your jungle guides who will escort you on a forest walk lasting approximately two hours. Throughout the walk, learn more about the primary forest flora, with your guides identifying some of the many species of trees including the Brazil nut and the rubber tree; in addition to imparting some of their knowledge about how many plants are used locally for medicinal purposes.

DESCRIPTION CORRECT FOR THE 2018 AMAZON CRUISE

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note this tour is recommended to guests who are interested in learning more about the primary forest flora; we cannot guarantee any sightings of wildlife. There is a substantial amount of walking involved in this tour over uneven ground, therefore it is considered unsuitable for guests with limited mobility. We suggest guests wear long trousers, long-sleeved light-weight shirt, comfortable walking boots and insect repellent. A bottle of water would be a handy addition to your bag. Local intercity buses will be used for transportation; these are not air-conditioned.


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