| Home | 3 Guianas | Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Chile | Colombia | Ecuador | Paraguay | Peru | Uruguay | Venezuela | Videos | Contact |

Santarem, Brazil - Buy Your Ferry Ticket & Hammock, Alter do Chao Beach

Brazil travel blog by Mark Berman - March 2015   » View Photoset (104 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
My 2nd time in the Amazon started in the city of Santarem, it took me 24hrs to get here from northern Colombia with 2 flights down
Brazil Photo - Girl stands in front of an old blue house with a white door in Santarem.
Girl stands in front of an old blue house with a white door in Santarem.
to Leticia, a motorbike taxi across the border to Tabatinga - Brazil for a flight to Manaus, then a long wait at the airport until the flight to Santarem. Santarem is very much in the heart of the Amazon and sits about halfway between Manaus to the west and Belem near the east coast. My first time in the Amazon 4yrs earlier was spent in Manaus and on the river west of Manaus, this time after seeing around Santarem I planned to head east! From Santarem airport I got a ride into town with a father and son at a price cheaper than a taxi.

The River is Where the Action Is

All the action and activity in this town is based along the river, ferry after ferry after ferry with people everywhere on and
Brazil Photo - Ferries moored along the waterfront in Santarem, busy Amazon River city.
Ferries moored along the waterfront in Santarem, busy Amazon River city.
around them. People loading and unloading carts of produce and products of all kinds. Across the road from the river are many warehouses with products stacked up to the roofs, Santarem is a very busy place! Along the footpath above the docked boats are various monuments including: outside the marina a gold bust of Francisco Manoel Barroso da Silva (1804-1882) who was commander of the Brazilian fleet in the Paraguayan War. The others are of animals, a dolphin, fish and turtle. The fish market is interesting, I was there before 9am and there was a ton of fish, some strange looking ones too.

Buy a Ferry Ticket to Belem at the Port

Next I wanted to find out about a ferry to Belem which leave from the main port (Porto
Brazil Photo - An orange bird and 2 black birds, made of wood for sale at an art shop in Alter do Chao near Santarem.
An orange bird and 2 black birds, made of wood for sale at an art shop in Alter do Chao near Santarem.
do Santarem) which is about 1km walk from the fish market, it took me 20mins. You can take a ride on the back of a motorbike to get there which is what I did on the way back. I bought a ticket from one of the offices at the port for a ferry to Belem leaving a couple of days later. It cost 130 Reals (about $40USD) and the trip I was told would take about 48hrs (it actually took 43hrs).

The Historical Area

From here on a motorbike
Brazil Photo - Corner of a wooden house painted light green in Santarem.
Corner of a wooden house painted light green in Santarem.
taxi I headed to the center of Santarem's historic area - the blue church and spent the whole of the rest of the day exploring the city. The cathedral was built in 1761 and is probably the main sight to see. There is not that much to see in Santarem as far as historic buildings go, you have to walk a lot around the city to find them, they are not all together. Beside the church is a history and art museum (Museu de Historia e Arte Sacra). Very nearby is the Solar dos Brancos, an historical building with a tiled facade. At the eastern end of the footpath along the riverside are restaurants and a few other historical buildings that are currently being restored (near plaza Praca Barao) which includes the Centro Cultural Joao Fona building
Brazil Photo - An iguana in a tree, there were many more, Alter do Chao, near Santarem.
An iguana in a tree, there were many more, Alter do Chao, near Santarem.
built between 1853 and 1867. Nearby is the fishermens plaza Praca do Pescador with its gold statue. A block from here is the theatre Teatro Municipal Victoria and from there I could see another church in the far distance which turned out to be Paroquia Sao Raimundo Nonato. In front of the church is a small plaza called Praca do Centenario which has a pond of small turtles, a cannon and a few monuments. This plaza is only one street up from the waterfront and very close to the Tapajos Ferry Terminal from where locals travel to the other communities near Santarem - Alenquer, Monte Alegre, Juruit etc. I walked to the end of the wharf to photograph a white stork and enjoyed the views from there for a
Brazil Photo - A face formed out of leather for sale at an art shop in Alter do Chao near Santarem.
A face formed out of leather for sale at an art shop in Alter do Chao near Santarem.
while before I went hunting for more sights. Another church - Igreja Batista, the college - Colegio Santa Clara, old wooden houses, another plaza - Praca Tiradentes and the central shopping area - Belo Centro Tapajos (2006).

Buy Your Hammock

Down in the area in front of the cathedral are many stalls selling hammocks, this is where I bought mine for the ferry to Belem. It was quite cheap at around 40 Reals ($13USD), there is honestly about 1000 to choose from!

In the Evenings

In the evening along the waterfront you can buy food like BBQ meat on a stick or visit a boat restaurant like I did called Restaurante da Dona Graca, she makes a great cheap meal!

How to Get to Alter do Chao

Next morning
Brazil Photo - A man washes a small fish at the Santarem fish markets.
A man washes a small fish at the Santarem fish markets.
I took a local bus 1hr to Alter do Chao - a nice beach, island and small town, to spend a few hours. It is actually a destination, you could spend a few days enjoying the beautiful surroundings here and there are hostels and other accommodation available too. Being late March the Island of Love (Ilha do Amor) was somewhat submerged, the best months to come are between August and December. Lago Verde, the huge lagoon can be explored by canoe or with a tour to see various birds and animals. I walked along to the beach area where chairs and tables sit slightly in the water, you can have a cold drink and relax, swim, eat, it's really quite nice just to do that! The town is quite small and has many indigenous art stores, some restaurants, a church, plaza and bus terminal. Alter do Chao is definitely the place to visit if you are in Santarem for a few days!

East by Ferry on the Amazon

The next day I made my way to the ferry for the trip east along the river to Belem.

     

View all photos in the Santarem Photoset


Itineraries / Routes: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008



Distances & times (if available) from Santarem (Brazil) to:


Map location: Santarem, Brazil. An Amazon River city and quite pleasant, you can head east or west by river from here and visit the beach Alter do Chao which is very popular, you can stay there too!
 A : Santarem to Belem (Amazon River) - Brazil 300 kms 300 kms straight distance
 B : Macapa - Brazil 464 kms 464 kms straight distance
 C : Belem to Macapa (Amazon River) - Brazil 483 kms 483 kms straight distance
 D : Macapa to Oiapoque - Brazil 614 kms 614 kms straight distance
 E : Manaus - Brazil 596 kms 596 kms straight distance
 F : Belem - Brazil 710 kms 710 kms straight distance
 G : Oiapoque - Brazil 772 kms 772 kms straight distance
 H : St Georges / Oiapoque Border - French Guiana / Brazil 778 kms 778 kms straight distance
 I : Cayenne, French Guiana 863 kms 863 kms straight distance
 J : Cayenne to Kourou to Saint Laurent - French Guiana 878 kms 878 kms straight distance
 K : Pacaraima to Boa Vista - Brazil 886 kms 886 kms straight distance
 L : Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana 886 kms 886 kms straight distance
 M : Saint Laurent / Albina Border - French Guiana/Suriname 888 kms 888 kms straight distance
 N : Paramaribo, Suriname 924 kms 924 kms straight distance
 O : Nickerie & the Journey from Paramaribo - Suriname 965 kms 965 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Santarem, Brazil:

Hotel Sao Luis, Santarem, Brazil - Large Photo
Hotel Sao Luis, Santarem, Brazil (March 2015 - 3 nights) - My room was infested with cockroaches, I killed between 15 and 20 living in my room during the first 2 days I was there. That is the reason I never ate at the hotel's restaurant! Around $22USD per night for a room with a small bathroom in the corner. Best thing about this place was the good wifi connection and the location in the center of town. One evening the night-watchman knocked on my door and asked if he could borrow $5 Reals to give to another customer as change. He came into my room and was basically hanging over me watching me looking to see if I had the $5 Reals. He didn't return my money in good time and I had to go out to reception and make a scene to get my money back - totally unacceptable! In the morning before 7am the woman worker made so much noise in the hallway outside the rooms that it woke me up and I had to go out and ask her to keep the noise down, for which she gave me a very dirty look. I was glad to leave this place/dive and I cannot recommend it. There are other cheap hotels nearby, give-em a try!

ADD A COMMENT



Pinterest - Pin it!

Santarem, Brazil - Buy Your Ferry Ticket & Hammock, Alter do Chao Beach. An Amazon River city and quite pleasant, you can head east or west by river from here and visit the beach Alter do Chao which is very popular, you can stay there too!

FREE APP South America Journey

Splash Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Popular Photos Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Favorite Photos Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Fullscreen Photo - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS
Photos from a Place Screen - South America Journey Free App for Android and IOS

My next travel experience & photos in your inbox!