Best of Santarem

  • Port

    Alter Do Chao, Brazil

  • Activity Level

    Moderate

  • Excursion Type

    Local Sightseeing, All

  • Wheelchair Accessible

    NO

  • Cost

    USD USD

    Price between $51-$100
  • Minimum Age

    Information not currently available.

  • Duration

    Approximately 4¾ Hours

  • Meals Included

    No

After Manaus and Belém, Santarém is the Amazon's most vital port, boasting a history that dates back to 1661. The town's role has been primarily as a local trading center rather than a tourist spot, making today's excursion a chance to get a glimpse of day-to-day life in the Amazon.

Hop on a local intercity bus at the main square in Alter do Chão, and travel for approximately 45 minutes to Santarém, where you will enjoy a drive along the bustling waterfront. As boats are the region's chief mode of transportation, you will see a variety of watercraft carrying everything from fresh produce on the way to market, to people on their way into or out of the city.

Stop at the Mercadão 2000 market, where you will see a wide variety of fish species and tropical fruits consumed by the inhabitants of the Amazon area.

In the town center, visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Conceição, the oldest building in Santarém (dating back to 1761). Then, you'll stop at Fishermen's Square, where free time is allocated for shopping. Heading out of town, you will stop at the Manioc Flour House. Locally known as Casa da Farinha, this open-air facility gives visitors a chance to see rubber trees and Brazilan nut trees. You'll also find out what foods are important to the locals, and how they make the staple, tapioca.

Continue out of town into rural Brazil and back to Alter do Chão, located on the clear Tapajos River and featuring lovely white sand beaches. This charming town is Santarém's weekend resort, and has about 2,000 inhabitants year 'round.

Your tour ends with free time to browse in town among the Araribá shops. Alternatively, you can head off on your own to the riverfront Ilha do Amor Beach, located in front of Alter do Chão Village. This is a pleasant beach with fine sand and no waves. The river water is dark, warm and transparent. To reach the beach from the village, you must to enlist the services of a boatman. Your guide can explain this to you before you set off. Guests who wish to stay in town to shop or explore independently and/or go to the beach are welcome to do so, but must make their own way back to the ship.

Notes:

Wear light clothing, a hat, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. Bring your swimsuit, a towel, sunscreen and a hat if you wish to go to the beach independently afterwards. The fish market is active in the morning, and is therefore at its best during that time -- afternoon visits to the fish market are purely informational. This tour is also offered from the port of Santarém .