Though the city is beaming with physical beauty, it is a business town with almost 12,000,000 residents. With its industrial growth and increasing tourism, it has become the hub of Brazil’s media, film and TV industries. It is an aesthetic blend of mountain and sea. Rio is influenced by many historic events and diversity of culture through arts, architecture, poetry and painting. This is the place for tourists, who love an outdoor living.
How to tour around?
The city is dense with urban trains, bus and trams for land transportation. Ferry services help ocean lovers. All the places in Rio are connected by one or more transport modes. It also has two airports that facilitate domestic and international flights.
Places to visit
Corcovado is the symbol of Rio. The first thing that comes into mind when you think of Rio is the Christ the Redeemer statue. Standing near the statue, one can see soccer temple and other northern parts.
The best place to enjoy the fusion of mountain and sea is the Pao de Acucar or Sugar Loaf Mountain. The mountain tip gives a splendid view of the Guanabara Bay and Botafogo beach. The ancient open air cable that was used in the 1930s is on display. The first hill of the Sugar Loaf Mountain is the Morro da Urca. It is 215 meters high and is climbed and hiked by people every day.
Copacabana is a famous beach with a background of sharp hills and dense jungle. There are many restaurants on the beach side to enjoy food with a replenishing view of the beach.
The aqueduct used in the colonial era and which is now, a famous landmark is the Lapa Arches. It now serves as a viaduct to trams that connect the landmark to the downtown. It is also known as Aqueduto da Carioca.
A good place to enjoy shopping, good food, bar and discotheques is the Barra da Tijuca. It also has a beach where the visitors can windsurf, surf and body board. It is not as crowded as Copacabana.
The fortress, built in 1618, still stands as well liked tourist spot. The place is remodeled with new weapons and cannons. It is called as Fortaleza de Sao Joao. It also has a private beach that is currently used by military staff.
A library built in 1887 stands with more than 350 thousand volumes of books. The Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura, is dedicated to Portuguese literature. The reading room of the library attracts many tourists.
Lagoa is a saltwater lagoon which is a favorable place for joggers, cyclists and egrets. There are many restaurants around the lagoon with garden settings and bamboo furniture. Near Lagoa, there is an exotic botanical Garden, Jardim Botanico with 137 hectares of blooming plants, orchid collections and many tropical species.
Maracan stadium is the sports landmark of Brazil. With a capacity of 2 million people, it is the world’s largest capacity stadium. Now the seating has been reduced to 80 thousand due to safety constraints. The stadium was rebuilt for the 2014 World Cup.
The Latin Cross church built in 1775, Candelaria Church is an example of colonial architecture with window designs of Baroque, façade design of Neoclassical architecture. Prainha beach is a half moon shaped beach, surrounded by rocks and cliffs. It is one of the popular surfing spots.
The National History Museum brings in numerous paintings, shrines and other exhibits that explain the economic and social history of Brazil. It was originally an ammunition depot and fort and now, it is filled with exhibits devoted to the history of Brazil. Beyond these landmarks, Rio is filled with many theatres, bars and clubs, to enjoy a colorful night life.
Map of Brazil with all Covid-19 Infections
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Timeline of Covid-19 Infections in Brazil
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Belem | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Belém, located near the mouth of the Amazon River in northern Brazil, is the capital and largest city of the state of Pará. Understand Belém is on the banks of the Bay of Guajará, which is formed by a set of islands and river mouths on the estuary of the Amazon river. Its river port […]
Belém, located near the mouth of the Amazon River in northern Brazil, is the capital and largest city of the state of Pará.
Belém is on the banks of the Bay of Guajará, which is formed by a set of islands and river mouths on the estuary of the Amazon river. Its river port helps putting into motion the Northern region of Brazil.
The city was established in 1616, after the construction of “Forte do Presépio”, today “Forte do Castelo”, on the banks the Pará river. Belém is, in a way, a synthesis of the culture and the history of Pará and the Amazon with native Indian influence in the food and culture. It became an extremely wealthy city with the Rubber Boom at the end of the 19th century and many beautiful colonial buildings from this era are still visible.
Every year, on the second Sunday of October, Belém features one of the largest Catholic parades in the world, Círio de Nazaré.
Huge bus terminal a few kilometers east of the center. Many local buses pass here. It is possible to travel by air-conditioned coach to Belém from most major points in Brazil. However, due to its relative isolation, travel times can be quite lengthy (Example 27 hours to Fortaleza) – especially from the south.
Fly to Belém
- Val de Cans International Airport. Has regular international flights linking Belém to Cayenne, Georgetown, Paramaribo, Lisbon and Miami, and many direct domestic flights linking Belém to Brasilia, Fortaleza, Manaus, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Macapá. Bus Pratinhas to/from Presidente Vargas, and Marex to/from Prça da República. Taxi to center R$20–30 (negotiate!).
Travel by boat to Belém
Passenger terminal at the north end of the docks. Many daily boats to nearby islands, including twice to Rio Branco. Also to Macapá, Santarém Belem and Manaus, with connections further north and west. Locals sling hammocks to sleep but air conditioned cabins are available on the larger boats. This is a great way to travel see (and hear) the river, and meet people. Beware, as soon as you leave the boat you will be greated by friendly taxi drivers who’ll offer you a flat price for the way to your accommodation – their friendly offer is 2 to 3 times the regular fare. Just get out on the street and hail a taxi there.
There is one major long distance coach terminal at São Braz. There are many local busses travelling all over the city at often exhilirating and reckless speeds. The number of buses passing Avenida Presidente Vargas is nothing short of astonishing, and you can get virtually anywhere within Greater Belém from here. The challenge lies in finding the right bus, and also getting on board, as it will stop anywhere on a stretch of some 2–300 metres, or attempt to pass straight. Do as the locals: Wave and run for it!
Another transport “hub” is in front of the bus terminal, next to São Bráz, only slightly less chaotic.
Most buses run until about 11PM, but minibuses go virtually around the clock on major roads.
There are many taxis in the city. Many taxi drivers are willing to negotiate a fair flat-rate price based on where you want to go. The taxi fares are far more expensive than the bus fares but if you need to get somewhere fast without waiting or dealing with packed busses, it’s a good option.
Travel by bicycle in Belém
If you for some strange reason find yourself in possession of a bike while in town, there are actually a great number of cycle lanes along the main avenues.
Sightseeing in Belém
Fishing port and market-hall Ver-o-Peso seem from Forte do Castelo
Belém is a lively and friendly city but it can look quite unappealing at first sight. There are a lot of modern high rises, but between them particularly in Cidade Velha and Campinas there are a vast number of well preserved colonial buildings, from the rubber boom and earlier. Many of the grander ones now house official bodies and there has been a recent drive to preserve them. Belém has many attraction, here are some of many attractions the city offers.
- Mercado Ver-o-Peso (See-the-Weight Market) – by the waterfront, the first and foremost tourism attraction of the whole Pará state. The old fish market, a large and lively traditional market, pre-built in England in the 19th century. Here you will find fish, fruit, vegetables, regional items and offers a good insight into traditional local culture.
- Estação das Docas (Revitalised docks with bars, shops, music etc. next to Ver O Peso)
- Complexo Feliz Lusitânia (Complex Happy Portugal)
- Casa das Onze Janelas (House of Eleven Windows)
- Mercado Ver-o-Rio (See-the-River), bars and a boating lake.
- Forte do Castelo The old fortress in the oldest part of town.
- Catedral da Se The oldest church in Belem.
- Praça Batista Campos (Batista Campos Square)
- Museu de Artes de Belém (Belém Arts Museum)
- Museu Emilio Goeldi (Emílio Goeldi Museum). The zoo.
- Praça da República (The Square of the republic). The main square with statues and the Teatro da Paz.
- Teatro da Paz (Theater of Peace), Praça da República. Tue – Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat – 2PM. Rivals the Manaus opera house as a symbol of the rubber boom’s riches. Guided tours every hour on the hour last 30 minutes. R$4, Tuesdays free.
- Bosque Rodrigues Alves (Botanical Garden Bosque Rodrigues Alves). A large section of the original forest (with some a lake, fish, animals and a cafe) perhaps a square kilometer in area, ten minutes by car from the city centre.
- Mangal das Garças – the region’s vegetation, animals and food can be appreciated in this large park for tourists, just off the city centre.
What to do in Belém
Many of the city’s highlights can be taken in with a walk along the rivers edge, starting with the docks and continuing to the old fort. Numerous old churches along the way are worth a look, and the bustling market life is not to be missed.
Where to eat in Belém
Belém has a range of regional specialties. See Pará for the full menu.
- Regional Ice Creams: made with fruits like Açaí, Cupuaçú, Taperebá, Bacurí, Graviola, etc. Best ice cream maker is Sorveteria Cairú, several branches around town, including at Docas (Station of the docks).
- Tacacá: a delicious soup made with shrimp, tucupi (a broth made with wild cassava) and jambu (Acmella oleracea). It must be served extremely hot in a cuia and it can be served with pepper or not.
- Caldeirada Paraense: is made with fish, shrimp, eggs, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, red pepper, tucupi and jambu. It must be served hot with rice and pirão.
- Maniçoba: is made with leaves of Manihot, salted pork, dried meat and some smoked ingredients, such as bacon.
- Pato no Tucupi: is made with duck (pato), jambu and tucupi, the same liquid used to prepare Tacacá. People eat this food with rice and pepper.
- Boteco das Onze, Praça Frei Caetano Brandão s/nº, Cidade Velha.
- Lá em Casa, Av. Gov. José Malcher, 247, ✉ email@example.com. Very traditional place serving local specialities.
The refurbished warehouses by the riverside, Estação das Docas (or simply Docas) offer a number of outside tables, and fairly expensive menus. Amazon beer has an in-house brewery and on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights offers an all you can drink and eat special for R$36.
- Botequin (Some 3 km South from Praça da Republica). Live music and DJs, good on Wednesdays Entry R$10.
- Açaí Biruta (By the bay, next to the cathedral). Mostly reggea, some rock. Beached boat built in, hammocks. Good on Sundays. Entry R$7 when live music. Big beer R$3..
- Mormaço (By the Mangal).
You should try the genuine beer from Pará, which is called CERPA and can be easily found.
Where to stay in Belém
There are two main areas for accommodation, both featuring the full range:
- On and around Avenida Presidente Vargas on the very edge of the commercial center, and also close to many sights, but rather seedy and not too safe in its smaller alleys at night.
- The area around the bus terminal and São Bráz, somewhat easier going.
- Hotel Amazônia, Rua O de Almeida 548 (Just of Praça da República and Presidente Vargas), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 11AM. Cleaned, friendly staff and save place. WiFi included in the price Dorms R$15, Singles R$23, Doubles R$35 or 50 (with bathroom).
- Hotel Princesa Louçã, Av. Presidente Vargas, 882 (Across from Praça da República).
- Hotel Regente, Av. Governador José Malcher, 485 (12Km from the airport), ✉ email@example.com. from R$175.
- Hotel Sagres, Av.Governador José Malcher, 2927 (near from the Terminal), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Hotel Ver O Peso, opposite of ver o peso market. Terasse with view of Market and Amazon River. Double R$65 with bathroom..
Three places within 50 meters of each other at Travessa Frutuoso Guimarães, some three blocks inland from the Docas.
- Fortaleza, Tv Frutuoso Guimarães n°276. Kitchen and laundry, popular among backpackers, friendly and funny owner/manager speaks French, virtually no sound barriers between rooms. Basic. Dorm R$20, Single R$35, shared bathroom.
- Hotel Palácio. High ceilings, restaurant for cheap lunch. Single R$15, R$25 with bathroom..
Just down the street is the nicer
- Ver-o-centro. Single R$55.
Stay safe in Belém
Belém is now a large city, take care when walking after nightfall along Presidente Vargas and the back streets that lead off from it. Although no worse (and perhaps better) than other Brazilian cities there is still a lot of poverty so try not to have jewellery or cameras on show when walking around. The city is generally safe and friendly during daytime. Estacao das Docas is always a safe if rather touristy option. The Umarizal area has up market local bars and restaurants. Avenida Joao Paulo Segundo (previously called Avenida Premeiro de Dezembro) has some more “down to earth” and very local bars. Generally there is a lot of night life Thursday, Friday and Saturday ask for advice. Although worth a visit try and avoid Estacao da Docas which is really only for tourists.
Stay healthy due to COVID-19 in Belém
Ilha de Mosqueiro (Mosqueiro Island)
- Ilha do Mosqueiro is the closest beach area (after Outeiro) to Belém, some 80 km away. The island is surrounded by sandy river beaches (some developed more than others) with fresh water and because of the size of the estuary often large waves. Buses at least every half hour from the bus station. Boats on weekends and high season.
- Icoaraci some 25 km north of the centre offers a friendly bayside walk with quite a few bars and restaurants. Car ferry for Ilha do Marajó leaves from here. Local buses from downtown.
- Salinópolis or Salinas offers the nearest sea beaches. It is a beautiful place with nice beaches (Atalaia, Maçarico, Farol Velho etc…), a three hours from Belém, and it is a good place to visit/stay (at least one night). The original town is Salinopolis. Atalaia and Farol Velho are beautiful beaches except at weekends and holidays when they can resemble car parks with thousands of visiting cars from Belem. If you drive along the beach far enough you will get away from the crowds, but if you have a car be careful of soft sand and the tide!
- Ilha do Marajó is possible as a day trip, but consider spending at least one night. Many agencies offer packages, but you can mostly get along cheaper on your own.
- Ilha de Algodoal is a beautiful Island, and there is one of the most preserved beaches in the North of Brazil in there (Princess beach).
- Crispim is possible a day trip.
- Santarém two hours from Belém by plane. But do consider a two or three day boat journey up river (rather less when coming back down with the current).
Macapa | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Macapá is the capital of Amapá, and arguably the most deserted state capital of Brazil. The locals call it “the capital of the middle of the world.”, as the equator runs through the city. As it sits north of the immensely wide mouth of the Amazonia river, there are no highways leading out. Unless you […]
Macapá is the capital of Amapá, and arguably the most deserted state capital of Brazil. The locals call it “the capital of the middle of the world.”, as the equator runs through the city. As it sits north of the immensely wide mouth of the Amazonia river, there are no highways leading out. Unless you count the road into French Guiana, that is.
- Macapá-Alberto Alcolumbre International Airport. Most flights connect in Belém. A taxi from the centre can be negotiated at R$ 15.
- Boats to nearby Santana from Belém(24 hours), Santarém (30 hours, hammock R$ 120, cabin R$ 250) and Manaus(5 days), among other smaller destinations.
- There are buses from Oiapoque on the border of French Guiana. Travel time varies greatly with the rains.
Metered taxis and moto taxis abound; some buses.
Cannon at the Fort of Macapá
- Apa do Curiaú (8 km). A quilombola village of descendants of escaped slaves, which continues its traditional commemorations such as Marabaixo. You can also try gengibirra, a drink made from cachaça and ginger.
- Fort Park (Parque do Forte) (next to the fort). Park with walkways along the riverbank, playground, fountain and lawns.
- Marco Zero (Right south of the city). Closed on Mondays. Where the equator comes through, and even crosses a football stadium! It is marked by a small monument; not much to see. Only reason to see this is to be able to claim to have been there. If you come by taxi, ask the driver to wait the 5 minutes it takes you to take a picture. But there is also a express bus that goes there from the city center and the bus going to the Universidade also passes by. Entrance is free.
- Sacaca Sustainable Development Museum (Museu Sacaca do Desenvolvimento Sustentável), Av. Feliciano Coelho, 1509 – Bairro do Trem. Mo-Fr 7:30-11:30AM and 2:30-5PM; Sa 3-6PM. Open-air museum which presents the social diversity of the state. Free, but worth paying for a guide if you speak Portuguese.
- São José de Macapá Fort (Fortaleza de São José de Macapá). Completed in 1782 to protect Brazil from external invasion on the Amazon River. It is a cultural heritage site recognized by IPHAN but is not very well preserved. It is possible to visit the various spaces inside, see rusty iron cannons, appreciate the view of the Amazon river, and visit temporary exhibits. You can also visit the archeological excavations outside.
- There are a number of small beaches around the city, particularly popular on Sundays. The easiest to access is Fazendinha, with direct buses from the centre.
- Casa do Artesão, Av. Francisco Azarias Neto. Handcrafts from indigenous tribes in the region, wicker furniture, and ceramic works covered in rubber, known as balata.
- Macapá-Santana Free Zone (Zona Franca de Macapá-Santana), Rua Cândido Mendes with Rua São José. Free trade area with a great diversity on imported products.
- Restaurante Dona Flor (road between Macapá and Santana). Very good. Right on the river. As you eat you can see the river and the people that live there.
- Restaurante Dom Garcia. Regional classics as well as new recipes with traditional ingredients. Try the escondidinho de carne.
- Natural Blanc (near the Marco Zero).
- Trapiche Restaurante, Rua Beira Rio, 1294.
- Flora Restaurante, Salvador Diniz Hwy., 1370 – Santana.
- Peixaria Amazonas, Rua Beira Rio, 218. Extensive range of fish, shrimp, and crab dishes. The regional (pink) shrimp with garlic and oil is phenomenal. (updated Dec 2018)
There are also various restaurants and churrascarias just next to the fort at the riverside. They offer meals for R$7 to R$20 and are a popular spot for locals to grab their lunch (11:30am to 2pm).
- Armazem (Some 15 blocks west of the center). Lively Sunday evenings until the wee hours
At the river side and relaxed atmosphere.
Where to stay in Macapá
Most mid-scale hotels give a straight 20-30% discount on posted prices.
- Amazon Plaza Hotel, Rua Beira Rio, 208 (on the riverbank toward Fortaleza).
- Macapá Hotel, R Francisco A S Coelho Neto, 17.
- Hotel Versalhes. Has air conditioners bu no electric shower heads.
- Ibis Macapá.
- Hotel Mais, Av. Salgado Filho, 969 CEP, ✉ email@example.com. 24h front desk, rooms with A/C, TV, WiFi. Breakfast included; soda and beer available at the front desk. CC accepted. Spacious, very clean rooms with en-suite shower; cleaned daily. Staff only speaks Portuguese but willing and able to communicate with hand and feet if necessary. A R$15 taxi ride away from the Fortaleza San Jose de Macapa. Double room for 154 brazilian real single for R$110. (updated Mar 2016)
By boat from nearby Santana to Belém (24 hours), Santarém (40 hours, hammock R$ 125, cabin R$ 250) and Manaus(5 days), or by bus or 4WD to Oiapoque (7 to 12 hours, depending on road condition) 3 buses/day official price R$115 (February 2017).
Itaituba | Covid-19 Travel Restrictions | Lockdown | Coronavirus Outbreak
Itaituba is a city of about 85,000 people in Pará. It sits on the west bank of the Tapajós River Get in By boat Boats leave Santarém from the Praça Tiradentes port from Monday to Saturday at 4 PM and on Sunday at 2 PM. The ride takes 14 to 17 hours and costs R$50. […]
Itaituba is a city of about 85,000 people in Pará. It sits on the west bank of the Tapajós River.
Boats leave Santarém from the Praça Tiradentes port from Monday to Saturday at 4 PM and on Sunday at 2 PM. The ride takes 14 to 17 hours and costs R$50.
Fast boats leave at 1 PM and take 8 or 9 hours.
Cooapfopa company – boats from Santarém. schedules
There are fast boats from Itaituba to Santarém. Princesa do Tapajós: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1 PM. About R$70 to R$80. Veloz: Tuesday, Thurssday and Saturday.
Itaituba is located on the Trans Amazonica highway and is connected by road to Cuiabá and Porto Velho.
If driving into Itaituba from Santarém or from the east, you will need to pay R$20 (price per car, regardless of number of passengers) to take a ferry across the river.
Car rentals About R$100 per day, plus insurance. Most open regular office hours (i.e. get there before 4 PM). Most closed on Sundays.
- Chicão: +55 93 3518-7199, +55 93 9976-5214
- J. Farias – +55 93 3518-1055
- Jacy Car – +55 93 3518-3025
Itaituba is a good base for exploring the Amazônia National Park, about 50 km to the west.
- xAmazônia National Park. To visit the nearby Amazônia National Park, you must obtain permission from IBAMA. They have an office in Itaituba. (updated Aug 2017)
- -4.2771-55.99411 Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente / Parque Nacional da Amazônia (IBAMA / Parque Nacional da Amazônia), Av. Mal. Rondon, s/n. Aeroporto Velho. Itaituba – PA. (Take a taxi.). “office hours” (open about 8 AM to 6 PM, but closed from 12 PM to 2 PM). To visit the Amazônia National Park, you need to get a permit. One can be obtained here. You need your passport – maybe also a photocopy and some 3×4 cm photos. Call ahead because “office hours” may be variable. free. (updated Apr 2016)
- Parque Nacional do Jamanxim, near Itaituba, Pará (Head south from Itaituba along road 163, about 100 km). Contact: Avenida Brigadeiro Haroldo Veloso, 975. Bairro Boa Esperança, Itaituba, Pará. CEP: 68.181-030 (updated Jun 2016)
There are small shops and snack vendors near the port.
Where to stay in Itaituba
- -4.2732-55.97981 Hotel Riosinho, Avenida São José, 77 – Centro, Itaituba – PA, 68180-080. (updated Apr 2016)
- -4.2724-55.97972 Juliana Park Hotel, Tv. João Pessoa, 31, Itaituba – PA, 68180-630. (updated Apr 2016)
- -4.2726-55.983 Hotel Dantas, Av. Dr. Hugo de Mendonça, 728 – Centro, Itaituba – PA, 68180-005. (updated Apr 2016)
- -4.27379-55.982214 Santa Rita Palace, Tv. Treze de Maio, 144 – Comércio, Itaituba – PA, 68180-635. (updated Apr 2016)
Telecommunications in Itaituba
There is free wifi near the waterfront.
- Boats to Santarém leave daily at 4 PM.
- Fordlândia is a small historic town on the east bank of the Tapajós River. It can be arrived at by bus or boat.