Santarem, Brazil Cruise Port
Where the Tapajós and Amazon Rivers meet is the popular South American tourist destination and cruise port of Santarém, Brazil. This city of around 300,000 residents is located in the western part of the Brazilian state of Pará, and it's second most important (economically and financially) in the state. Before the arrival of European settlers, Santarém was inhabited by the Tapajós Indians, who were a large agricultural tribe. Portuguese colonists arriving in 1661 called their new home New Santarém. It's one of the Brazilian Amazon's oldest cities. The little variety in temperature year round (which is typically warm), long stretches of beach, and crystal clear waters have earned the nearby village of Alter do Chão the designation of "Caribbean in Brazil." With plenty of fascinating activities both indoors and out, there's something to please every traveler. Listed below are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Santarém, Brazil:
Look for rock formations standing in the white sands of Ponta de Pedras Beach. You'll hardly believe the water here is part of the Amazon system, because it has a more oceanic feel to it. If you need a bite, there are plenty of food stands nearby selling fresh fish.
Check out the Meeting of the Waters, where the Amazon and Tapajós meet. Before they join together, each river retains its distinct hue: the Amazon that of a muddy brown, while the Tapajós is an emerald green. The sheer force of each river keeps them separate for several miles, despite their close proximity.
The Floresta Nacional do Tapajós (National Forest of Tapajós) is one of the biggest natural parks in the world. Take the guided tour to hear the history of the area along with information about the flora (including centuries-old trees) and fauna (such as pink dolphins).
Visit the amazing Dona Dica Frazão at the Museu Dica Frazão, getting closer to 100 years old and still making natural fiber clothing and fabrics. She's somewhat of a local legend. Her artwork includes pieces such as a tablecloth for Pope John Paul II and a dress created for Belgian Queen Fabiola.