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How to get to Santarém– The Brazilian Amazon

  |   Brazil

Santarém Cathedral (Ph. Wikipedia)

Santarém Cathedral (Ph. Wikipedia)

The beautiful port town Santarém in the Para region of Brazil, it is located where the Amazon River meets the Rio Tapajos. Santarém is a great town to start your Amazon river cruise. Located between the larger cities of Manaus and Belém, Santarém offers a quaint insight into Amazonian town life, with its waterfront promenade and busy port life, it is also close to the national park of Floresta Nacional do Tapajós and the white sandy beaches of the town of local town Alter de Chão. Being a port town it's possible to arrive by either boat or plane, but the town's precarious surrounding roads are usually unreliable, particularly during the rainy season, which generally means bus or car isn't really an option.  

Flying to Santarém

Any flights to the town of Santarém will be via Manaus and Belém, and flying is most definitely the quickest way to access the town. The town has one airport, the small Aeroporto Maria José located just just 14 km from the center of Santarém. From here you can get an extremely cheap daytime bus into the city or you can get a more expensive taxi. Domestic Brazilian airlines, like TAM will fly directly from Manaus or Belém in Brazil, but if you are flying internationally be prepared to make a few changes. 

Santarém's Airport (Ph. Wikipedia)

Santarém's Airport (Ph. Wikipedia)

Flying from North America to Santarém

You can fly directly to Manaus from Miami with American Airlines, US Airways, and Brazilian airline TAM, and from there you will have to change for Santarém via a domestic airline. Unless you are travelling with TAM. However, be aware, that this may not be a direct onward flight, even with this domestic airline – a lot of the cheap domestic flights stop at either Belém or Sao Paulo airport first. Alternatively, you can fly with the following airlines from North America directly to either Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro: American Airlines, Air Canada, Continental, Delta and United Airlines and fly from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, LA, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Washington, and Toronto. You can then fly direct from Sao Paulo to Santarém, but will have to fly elsewhere if you are coming into Rio. 

Flying from Europe to Santarém

While you can't fly direct to Santarém from Europe, you can now, as of June 2014 fly directly to Manaus from Lisbon in Portgual. Portuguese airline TAP are the only European airline to do this, and offer three direct flights a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. If you are travelling from the UK, or other parts of Europe, a number of airlines offer direct flights in Sao Paulo, where you would need to make just one change to a domestic airline to arrive at Santarém. Airlines offering this direct service include British Airways from the UK, Air France through Paris, Iberia from Madrid and Lufthansa through Frankfurt. 

Tapajós Square in Sanarém (Ph. Wikipedia)

Tapajós Square in Sanarém (Ph. Wikipedia)

Direct flights from South America to Santarém

The only direct flights within South America are within Brazil – you can fly directly to Santarém from Sao Paulo, Belém and Manaus – but from other parts of South America you will have to change at one of these destinations. You can fly using domestic Brazilian airlines TAM, Gol and Vasp from other countries in South America, and as long as you travel with the same airline it should be easy to change at Sao Paulo, Belém and Manaus and arrive at Santarém fairly quickly and easily. 

Arriving by Boat to Santarém

As Santarém is a port town, it's perfectly possible to arrive at the extremely busy main port in the town Docas do Pará, located just 2.5 km from the central part of the town, by boat. However, you may come across some issues, there are usually just 1-2 boats per week, and unless you opt for a hammock space, it can be expensive to stay in a room, and it takes a lot longer than flying. For example, the recreo (a slow boat) takes two to three days to get from Belém to Santarém. Despite all this, you will get some amazing views of the Amazon and surrounding rivers. Be aware, however, that during high season these boats can get full, so make sure you book in advance. 

Amazon Dream River Cruise

The Amazon Dream Cruise is a magnificent river boat that operates out of Santarém. Step onto its traditional wooden structure for the chance to experience an authentic Amazonian travel experience, whilst sleeping and dining in the height of luxury and comfort. Offering five, six or ten day itineraries the boat trip is a unique experience through the less visited Brazilian jungle around Santarém. During your stay you will taste delicious Amazonian foods from a master chef and enjoy a charming and relaxing atmosphere, all among the most natural and unique setting on Earth – the Brazilian rainforest.  

Amazon Dream Cruise Vessel

Amazon Dream Cruise Vessel

Start your Amazon river cruise here, and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Amazon town of Santarém. Unlike the larger surrounding towns of Manaus and Belém, Santarém is a smaller town that doesn't have the same number of direct connections. However, short domestic connecting flights are easy to get and can be cheaper and much quicker than travelling by boat. Contact us if you would like more details about getting to and from Santarém.

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About Rainforest Cruises

Rainforest Cruises is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing you with the finest collection of cruises in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. As South American travel experts we have all the advice you need to help you find and book your dream cruise and an unforgettable adventure of a lifetime.


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The Johannson family encounter a sloth on their rainforest cruise.
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