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Santarem & Alter do Chão

Santarém is a true treasure located in the heart of the Amazon region at the crossroads of the Tapajós and Amazonas rivers. With its strategic geographical position, the city is an ideal starting point for discovering the natural resources that abound in the surrounding area. There is no shortage of places of interest in the Santarém region from the paradise beaches of Alter do Chão to the lush surrounding vegetation, waterfalls, Igarapé, islands and other wonders provided by Mother Nature. Santarém was long overshadowed by its older sisters, Manaus and Belém. Since, it has proven to be a prime natural destination in the heart of the Amazon and its eco-tourism makes it very attractive to travelers looking for adventure.

Brazil, the Amazonian Caribbean

Geography and climate

A “small” Brazilian city in an ideal geographical situation

Santarém benefits from an exceptional location halfway between Belém and Manaus at the crossroads of the Tapajós and Amazonas rivers. The city is an ideal starting point for cruises on the very wide Tapajós River. Its urban area is more striking for its size and natural diversity than for its average elevation of just 35 meters above sea level. The city covers nearly 18,000 square kilometer which is more than 170 times the size of Paris within its walls. It is easy to imagine the part that nature can play in it, much to the delight of eco-tourism enthusiasts.
Less than 40km from the center of Santarém, at the right end of Rio Tapajós, Alter do Chão has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. This is due to the crystal clear waters of Rio Tapajós which provide more than 100 kilometers of beautiful beaches in the Santarém region. The river is so wide that it can give visitors the impression of being by the sea.

A quintessential Amazonian climate

The Santarém region is subject to a permanent hot and humid climate, typical of tropical forests. Its proximity to the equator ensures that temperatures vary very little throughout the year. They average between 22°C and 33°C and rainfall is most intense in the winter period, between December and May. During this period average monthly rainfall ranges from 120 to 380mm. In the summer period on the other hand, between September and October, rainfall is much lower with an average of less than 60mm per month.

Santarém - Brésil

Alter do chao

A few words about Santarém and Alter do Chão

Amazon Brazil, tacaca Santarem and Alter do Chao

Santarém is the third largest city in the state of Pará in northern Brazil and is just shy of 300,000 inhabitants. The city was founded in the 17th century under the name “Aldeia dos Tapajós”. It was given its current name in 1758 in honor of the Portuguese city of the same name. Apart from eco-tourism, this destination also offers cultural, historical, gastronomic, religious and adventure tourism.

Alter do Chão is about forty kilometers away from the center of Santarém and it is undoubtedly the main tourist attraction of the region. It is well deserving of its nickname of the “Brazilian Caribbean” with its superb beaches along the shores of Rio Tapajós. The very serious British newspaper The Guardian has cited Alter do Chão beaches among the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and called it most beautiful freshwater beach in the world.

Our expert opinion

A private cruise for a complete experience of the region.

There is no need to consider a stay in Santarém & Alter do Chão if you do not particularly enjoy nature. Truthfully, it is one of the regions in Brazil that offers the most complete eco-tourism experience possible. The best way to enjoy it is certainly on board a private cruise on the Tapajós River.
On the menu: a crew at your service aboard a boat offering all the necessary comfort; multi-day programs with daily stops to engage in activities or go on an excursion in the Amazonian forest to discover the local fauna and flora; and of course a lot of unforgettable memories!

Why you should visit Santarém & Alter do Chão

As you have read above, Santarém & Alter do Chão provide plenty of opportunities for nature-loving visitors. Here are some of the most important ones:
  • Its freshwater beaches classified among the most beautiful in Brazil and the world
  • To live a unique experience on board a cruise on the Rio Tapajós
  • To discover the local Amazonian fauna and flora
  • To enjoy a unique natural setting in a region still spared by mass tourism
Brazil, Amazon - cruise ship
Santarem amazonia, Brazil - pier on the river

Some ideas to make your stay in Santarém & Alter do Chão unforgettable

Before we can create with you the trip that will meet your expectations, find inspiration in our selection of the must-see attractions of Santarém & Alter do Chão :
  • Take a picture of the meeting of the waters between Rio Tapajós and Rio Amazonas, where the colors of the water specific to each river offer a pleasant contrast and a striking natural phenomenon
  • Get in a canoe for an excursion through the igarapés in the heart of the Mangrove forest
  • Relax on the world’s most beautiful freshwater beach in Alter do Chão
  • Meet the local Indians who live on the banks of the Tapajós River and discover their way of life

To go further…

Read the description of Santarém that Jean-Paul Delfino gives us in our “Travel diaries” section : https://terra-nordeste.com/en/santarem-seen-by-par-jean-paul-delfino/