Santarém is located on the southern bank of the Tapajós River (a tributary of the Amazon), in northern Brazil. It's the second-largest city in Pará, and located just about midway between Manaus and Belém.
Santarém is about 36 hours by river boat from Manaus and 60 to 70 hours from Belem, making it an ideal place for a few days' stopover on a trip along the Amazon. Boats leave Manaus every day besides Sunday. There are usually 3 boats leaving from Manaus, however on Wednesdays only one boat leaves and costs R10 more than usual for first class. Usual cost is about R110-120 for first class (top deck with a hammock.)
There's a domestic airport(Santarém-Maestro Wilson Fonseca Airport), but few foreign travelers use it to get in. It's handy if the Amazon gets to you and you need a quick ride out, though. Connections exist, among others, to Fortaleza, Manaus, Recife and Rio de Janeiro.
- Mercado Modelo -- the city market.
- History Museum João Fona , on the eastern end of the waterfront. Good for a half-hour's worth of learning about the city, and attended by a helpful staff. Between the millennia-old pottery shards and the portraits of every single mayor of Santarem, there should be something to hold your attention.
- Museum do Índio; Museum de Arte Sacra; Museum Dica Frazão.
- The nearby river beach of Alter do Chão is the city's biggest attraction.
- Mascote, Pça. do Pescador, 10, +55 93 3523-2844. A popular restaurant located on the waterfront.
- Peixaria Piracatu, Av. Mendonça Furtado, 174, ☎ +55 93 3522-7580. Excellently prepared river fish such as Surubim, Tambaqui, Tucunaré, Pirarucu.
A few bar-come restaurants along the Beira Rio, particularly downstream from the center.
- For a happening Wednesday, pay 10 R$ for a cab to Vila Arigó where there is live open air pagode with dozens of plastic tables and chairs around.
- Gram Rio (Overlooking the Mercado Municipal). Single with fan R$ 30, with air con R$ 50.
- Hotel Equatorial, Av. Rui Barbosa and Silvino Pinto
- Sanarem Palace Hotel, Av Rui Barbosa 726, ☎ 93 3523-2521.
There is free wifi available at Praça da Matriz.
Santarém has two ports: Docas do Pará serves farther destination like Manaus and Belém while a smaller port near Praça Tiradentes serves destinations on the Tapajós river and other local destinations like Monte Alegre and Alenquer.
- Alenquer is a small town on the north bank of the river. From there, it's about two hours by taxi to Vale do Paraíso, an eco-resort built around the Viuva da Noiva waterfalls.