Santarem

The glorious port of Santarem is located upriver and enjoys the beautiful clear blue waters of the Rio Tapajos.  This thrilling cruise destination has been a major river port for many years and survived the crash of the region following the initial rubber boom success.  Henry Ford is particularly famous here for using the nearby jungle to carve the rubber plantations of Forlandia and Belterra.  With a population of over 200,000 and covering an area of 15,000 square miles, Santarem is one of the largest cities in the Brazilian Amazon.  The harbour here is one of the first things you will see and this bustling area is awash with activity.  Riverboats and ancient dugout canoes line the waterfront and you’ll see an incredible array of export cargoes filled with rubber ready to leave the shores.  This trade remains the foundation of the local economy. 

The city possesses extremely strong American roots with more than 100 soldiers settling here with their families in the aftermath of the Civil War.  In their new settlements the southerners dramatically prospered and had a major influence on the city being a huge force in Santarem’s development.

One of the most popular city attractions here is to visit the Santarem Museum.  This building was constructed in 1868 and over time has been dedicated to serving numerous purposes that include a city hall, a courthouse and even a prison.  In the modern day the building is a museum and features indigenous ceramics of Santarem.  Most of these ceramics are pre-Columbian and portray a wonderful collection of Santarem’s superb history. 

The aforementioned rubber industry remains strong to this day and there is no finer way to discover this than by seeing a native dwelling.  Not all cruise lines offer such a tour option but if available, it is well worth doing.  Here you have the pleasure of meeting local families and experiencing a demonstration of extracting latex from rubber trees.  It is also a fascinating chance to see the tools of the trade over the last century. 

Santarem’s old town possesses a wonderfully quaint and intimate atmosphere.  Here you have the chance to see the Conception Church as well as the famous Fisherman Square.  This renowned location is home to the sculpture of the Victoria-Regia water lily and a sculpture of Saint Peter, patron saint of fishermen.  This is also a great place to purchase souvenirs and spend a little time taking in the local culture.  Another superb location for shopping is Mercado Modelo, the main market of Santarem that can be found directly across from the waterfront.  Here you’ll find a wide selection of stores from boutique items to the more imaginable local creations such as stuffed piranha. 

To take in the magnificent landscapes of Santarem one of the most popular excursion options here is to take a jungle hike.  These experiences offer a tremendous overview of the rainforest and a thorough insight into the remarkable biodiversity of the Amazon.  A visit to this port of call also provides the chance to take in the spectacular meeting of the waters.  This Santarem phenomenon takes place where the Amazon River and one of its tributaries known as the Rio Tapajós converge and flow together.  The incredible phenomenon however is that although they flow together, they do not actually mix for miles, which can be clearly noticed due to the differing shades of the waters flowing side by side.  Such river boat tours continue onwards to take in Maica Lake, a fascinating location surrounded by stunningly diverse flora. 

With so much to see and do here the options really are endless but you may find yourselves feeling more like laying back and enjoying the warm climate.  If this is the case then one of the best locations for this is the quaint little village towns that can be found outside of the city.  These areas are wonderfully relaxed for an away from it all feel and also boast a majestic collection of tranquil beaches to spend the day soaking up the sunshine and watching the world go by.


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