About Santarem

500 miles up the Amazon, American Confederates fleeing the Civil War originally settled in Santarem: even today, O'Malley and Higgins are common surnames!

Today it's a city of some 150,000 inhabitants, with a bustling harbour full of riverboats and ancient dugout canoes. Around the port, you'll see huge cargoes of rubber being loaded for export. This is the foundation of the local economy.

Further upstream, you'll glide through virgin rain forest, enlivened by the calls of monkeys and the songs of exotic birds.


Shore excursions in Santarem

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Nature Walk From Santarem

Activity high

Duration: 3½ hours

This nature tour gives you the chance to observe the local agriculture and learn about the Amazon’s native trees.

Set off on an 8-mile journey along the Cuiaba Highway, the only road connecting the middle of the Amazon to the rest of Brazil. During the journey you’ll observe the ‘slash and burn’ agriculture and the effect it has on the forest and land.

The highlight of the tour is a nature walk through the Santa Lucia Woods on special designated trails. The guides and local woodsmen will choose one of more than 3 miles of trails for your nature walk. You’ll have the opportunity to look at some of the 400 species of native trees and palms and experience the mystery of this living forest with its beautiful flora and fauna. Although the feature of this ecological tour is the flora, local guides will try to sight locan wildlife.

Your return journey will take you back along the Cuiaba Highway.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by bus and on foot. This tour involves approximately 1½ hours’ walking over muddy, uneven and slippery surfaces, which includes some steep inclines. Comfortable, flat, non-slip walking shoes are recommended. The buses are not air-conditioned. It is advisable to wear a long-sleeved shirt, trousers and a light raincoat. Passengers are also recommended to take along insect repellent, sunglasses, sun block, a hat and a bottle of water. Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.

River Journey

Activity low

Duration: 3½ hours

Explore the wonderful eco-system of the Amazon, home to a myriad of flora and fauna and the emerald-blue waters of the Tapajos.

Departing Santarem on board a regional riverboat, you’ll navigate the clear emerald-blue waters of the Tapajos River to encounter the muddy waters of the magnificent Amazon River. A natural phenomenon, the two rivers flow side by side and are known as the ‘meeting of the waters’.

Your journey will continue on the Amazon River to Maica Lake, an enchanting outlet of the Amazon River surrounded by various ‘igapos’ (flooded forest), where the flora is both beautiful and diverse. If you’re lucky the fauna may reveal a variety of birds for your delight. Time permitting you’ll also have the opportunity to see a demonstration of the primitive methods the locals use to catch their fish.

Views of the old and modern wooden houses are evident as your riverboat navigates the waters alongside the city of Santarem.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by river boat. Passengers must be able walk approximately 400 yards to reach the river boats and to negotiate the gangway onto and off the boats. The toilet facilities on board some of the boats may be located down a 5 step, steep ladder. Many of the riverboats used have 2 or 3 decks and are local boats without elevators. Please remember to bring sun protection, hats, insect repellent and a bottle of water.

Scenes of Santarem

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 3 hours

This tour will give you an insight into the charm and history of Santarem, known to the locals as ‘Pearl of the Tapajos’.

Your tour begins with a visit to the Santarem Museum building which, since its inauguration in 1868, has been used for several different purposes, including a courthouse, prison and city hall. Today, as a museum, its archives feature indigenous ceramics of Santarem, most of them pre-Columbian. Other artefacts include early furniture and paintings of the city.

Afterwards, you’ll head to a ‘native dwelling’ to see a local family preparing the manioc flour, as well as a demonstration of the native way to extract latex from the rubber trees. You’ll also see a display of the tools of the ‘rubber worker’ from the last century.

Your return drive will take you through the old part of Santarem, passing the quaint Immaculate Conception Church and downtown to Fisherman Square; see the sculpture of the Victoria- Regia water lily and another of Saint Peter, the patron saint of the fishermen. A short stop will be made so that you can purchase some souvenirs, before returning to the port.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by bus and on foot.This tour involves approximately 1 hour’s walking over some rough and uneven ground, including steps. Comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended. The buses are not air-conditioned. The visit to the native dwelling includes around 1 hour of standing. It is also advisable to take a hat, sun protection and insect repellent.

Tapajós National Forest Walk

Activity high

Duration: 4½ hours

A unique experience to trek through the Tapajós National Forest with an experienced jungle guide.

A walk deep into the Tapajós National Forest will allow you an insight into the many different species of trees and flora within this area. Accompanied by local jungle guides, you'll be fascinated by their tales. Discover the many uses of the flora found within the forest, including the rubber tree.

Begin with a journey along Route 163, the Santarem–Cuiaba Highway – the only road to Southern Brazil. Tapajós National Forest is a section of the Brazilian Amazon that is a major resource for tropical hardwoods. It covers an area of 1,482,660 acres and is protected by Federal Law.

Upon arrival at the forest, meet your jungle guides who will escort you on a short forest walk. Throughout the walk, learn about the primary forest flora, with the jungle guides identifying some of the many species of trees detail their properties and how they are used by the indigenous people.

Essential information

This excursion operates by local bus and on foot. This tour involves approximately 1½ hour’s walking over some rough and uneven ground, including steps. Comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended. The buses are not air-conditioned. It is also advisable to take a hat, sun protection and insect repellent. It is not usual to observe animal or birdlife as these live mainly in the canopy and may not be active during the tour.

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