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Santarem to Belem (Amazon River), Brazil - Taking A Boat Or Ferry Trip

Brazil travel blog by a backpacker - March 2015   » View Photoset (51 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for nearly 10yrs!

Buying a Boat Ticket

My 2nd time in the Brazilian Amazon started in Santarem and after enjoying the city and surroundings I wanted to head east to Belem. At the
Brazil Photo - Houses along the Parauau River, a boat docked in front, north of Breves.
Houses along the Parauau River, a boat docked in front, north of Breves.
Santarem Port I payed $130 Reals (about $40USD) for a ferry ticket. It was to be a 48hr journey with 2 nights sleeping on the crowded but fun hammock deck.

43hrs by Ferry

We left Santarem at 11.30am and in the end it only took 43hrs and we arrived at around 6am a couple of mornings later. We spent about 90mins in total stopped at ports dropping off goods and collecting more people. Meals onboard cost $10 Reals (about $3USD) per meal, the food was good and consisted of meat or chicken, rice, noodles and salad. Of course the best part about this trip is that you get a tour of the Amazon by default and for no extra cost, a tour that is just amazing! I had a good idea of what to expect after the 6 days / nights trip
Brazil Photo - House and jetty on the Parauau River, a river off of the Amazon River, north of Breves.
House and jetty on the Parauau River, a river off of the Amazon River, north of Breves.
I did by river from Manaus to Tabatinga 4yrs earlier.

Free Amazon Tour

Half an hour after leaving Santarem we crossed from the black to the white waters. The black river is the Tapajos River and the white (actually brown) river is the Amazon River. By late afternoon we made a port stop at Monte Alegre, it's around 80kms north-east of Santarem and is quite a major town in the Amazon. Monte Alegre has a lot of beautiful and interesting scenery around it, look out for birdlife.

Everything Changed Overnight

After the sunset, dinner and hanging out on the top deck and sleeping I woke up the next morning and saw that everything around us had changed. During the night we had turned off the Amazon River onto a southward river that was much narrower.
Brazil Photo - Boat arrives to pick up a man from his house in the Amazon jungle north of Breves.
Boat arrives to pick up a man from his house in the Amazon jungle north of Breves.
Now you could see the communities, houses and people, they were right there! It was really interesting seeing Amazon schools and small Amazon churches with kids and families outside watching the ferry go by. Many Amazon folk canoe out to the ferry, some play games with the ferry. 2 boys deliberately crashed into us in order to capsize their canoe and get thrown into the water.

Houses and Schools

The communities have cute little churches
Brazil Photo - 2 women watch the ferry go past from the window of their blue house in the Amazon jungle.
2 women watch the ferry go past from the window of their blue house in the Amazon jungle.
and schools where the kids around the neighborhood arrive by boat or canoe. The houses tend to range from huts and shacks up to basic and simple. Many have satellite dishes and a jetty / walkway out to above the river with a ladder to get down to a canoe or boat. All the houses are dwarfed by the endless tall green palm trees and other huge trees. Other sights include boat-building yards, jungle soccer field clearings and timber felling.

Around Breves

By late morning the grey clouds had disappeared and the sun was out. We were on the Parauau River north of a town called Breves and were heading southward in the direction of the Furo Santa Maria, this is the large waterway west of Belem. By early afternoon a downpour began
Brazil Photo - Huge downpour in the rainy season in the Amazon jungle, north of Breves.
Huge downpour in the rainy season in the Amazon jungle, north of Breves.
which was quite fun to watch from the sheltered ferry. By mid-afternoon we made a stop in Breves, a large Amazon town. There are a few historic buildings to see here which you can from the ferry. The big green building is the prefecture, there is the blue and white church and there's a big statue / monument in front of the plaza beside the water. By the time we continued after Breves the day was dark and night was looming. After the last night onboard we arrived in Belem first thing in the morning. I enjoyed the trip a lot. 2 nights was perfect, the 6 nights 4yrs earlier was quite long.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from about halfway from Santarem to Belem (Amazon River) (Brazil) to:


Map location: Santarem to Belem (Amazon River), Brazil. 2 nights on the hammock deck! This was my 2nd Amazon River journey by ferry. The Brazilian ferries are really crowded!
 A : Belem to Macapa (Amazon River) - Brazil 190 kms 190 kms straight distance
 B : Macapa - Brazil 205 kms 205 kms straight distance
 C : Santarem - Brazil 300 kms 300 kms straight distance
 D : Macapa to Oiapoque - Brazil 375 kms 375 kms straight distance
 E : Belem - Brazil 415 kms 415 kms straight distance
 F : Oiapoque - Brazil 608 kms 608 kms straight distance
 G : St Georges / Oiapoque Border - French Guiana / Brazil 614 kms 614 kms straight distance
 H : Cayenne, French Guiana 727 kms 727 kms straight distance
 I : Cayenne to Kourou to Saint Laurent - French Guiana 756 kms 756 kms straight distance
 J : Saint Laurent du Maroni, French Guiana 815 kms 815 kms straight distance
 K : Sao Luis - Brazil 880 kms 880 kms straight distance
 L : Saint Laurent / Albina Border - French Guiana/Suriname 819 kms 819 kms straight distance
 M : Manaus - Brazil 892 kms 892 kms straight distance
 N : Paramaribo, Suriname 896 kms 896 kms straight distance
 O : Nickerie & the Journey from Paramaribo - Suriname 995 kms 995 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.


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Santarem to Belem (Amazon River), Brazil - Taking A Boat Or Ferry Trip. 2 nights on the hammock deck! This was my 2nd Amazon River journey by ferry. The Brazilian ferries are really crowded!

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