Brazil travel guide



Santarém Travel Guide

Santarém Travel Guide

SANTARÉM, where the Amazon meets the Tapajós River, in another "Encontro das Aguas", is midway between Manaus and Belém. It's a city in the state of Pará in Brazil, and it is a popular location for tourism. It was once home to the Tapajós Indians, a tribe of Native Americans after which the river was named, and the leaders of a large, agricultural chiefdom that flourished before the arrival of Europeans. Santarém is also the name of the original city in Portugal, that gave the name Santarém to this Brazilian city.

Santarém is an important regional market center in Lower Amazonia located midway between the larger cities of Belém and Manaus. The economy is based on agriculture, cattle and mining. The city has seen many "cycles" of development dominated by one or a few economic activities, including (in the last century) rubber tapping, coffee production and gold mining. Most recently, there has been a huge growth is the area of soy plantations.

Many "Mocorongos" seek to create a new Brazilian state by dividing the enormous state of Pará into western and eastern regions. The new state (the western part) would be called Tapajós, with Santarém serving as the capital.

Santarém is bordered by the Amazon and the Tapajós rivers. Both run along many kilometers in the front of the city, side by side, without mixing. The Amazon's milky colored water carries sediment from the Andes in the East, while the Tapajós's water is somewhat warmer and has a deep-blue tone. This phenomenon is called "The meeting of the waters" by the locals.

Another popular place for tourism is the village of Alter do Chão, which is located by the Tapajós river, about 30 km from Santarém. It can be reached by car (about half an hour) or by boat (one or more hours, depending on the boat).

The City of Santarém

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