"A river city without glamour" Santarém by melosh

Santarém Travel Guide: 19 reviews and 52 photos

Arrive by boat or plane only

I will admit that when I first arrived in Santarem I was not particularly impressed. There was a very long river front with many transport boats, but not much in the way of architecture. It seemed like a rather ordinary city with lots of stores, but only a few places with arts and crafts. A bunch of the restaurants and the Museo do Indio recommended by Lonely Planet were closed. Plus, I was visiting when the river was high so the famous beaches were covered with water.

With time, I warmed to the city.

It was only at about sunset that the joggers, strollers, children, street vendors, a carnival type drill team and even some musicians made the Malecon come alive. The outdoor cafes came alive after the heat eased. There were men fishing from the riverside and others with nets fishing from small boats further out. Transport boats came and left the city. I started to enjoy the people who seemed guininely friendly. It reminded me that sometimes you have to take a little time to experience the friendly feel of a smaller town.

When there are less tourists . . .

After a big city like Manaus, and before another big city, Belem, Santarem seemed relaxed and of a human size. It also seemed more isolated. This lady at the municipal museum was characteristic of the type of friendliness I encountered. She also spoke a very clean, educated and slower Portuguese that I could understand much better than the street and boat language I experienced in other places.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A more personal place than Manaus or Belem
  • Cons:Except for the beaches, nothing dramatic here
  • In a nutshell:Others might visit for the beaches, I liked the people.
  • Last visit to Santarém: May 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (6)

Comments (1)

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    Hi Bob! I'm glad you kind of liked Santarem too! But what a pity you were unlucky with Alter-do Chao... The place can really get spectacular!!


“If you have not been, you can not know.”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 7 1 0
Forum Rank:
0 0 1 5 9

Badges & Stats in Santarém

  • 6 Reviews
  • 14 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 629PageViews

Have you been to Santarém?

  Share Your Travels