Belem

This small city of 1.4 million people, located on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Amazon River, might best be described as a hidden gem. Founded in 1616, it was one of the first Portuguese settlements.

..........................................................................................................................................

Belem's Majestic Teatro da PazFor two centuries the Portuguese imported African slaves to harvest cacao, indigo, and animal pelts, but it was the late 19th century rubber boom that truly put Belem on the map. The newfound wealth fueled infrastructure and transportation improvements, and resulted in a massive construction boom, as European culture and technology lent the city a new charm.
..........................................................................................................................................

Belem's WaterfrontToday the rubber boom has long since crashed, but Belem remains an important commercial and economic center in Brazil, transporting massive quantities of fish, shrimp, timber, and nuts through its large port facilities. Interestingly, it was once known as "the tropical Paris" and this cultural legacy is still evident in Belem today.

..........................................................................................................................................
Activities and Attractions
..........................................................................................................................................


Belem affords a surprising amount of interesting musuems, monuments, and parks. Start out by heading to the Praca da Republica, the central park, where you'll encounter free musical performances and delicious food. Head West and you'll find Comercio, which in typically port fashion, is a bitty gritty, but well worth checking out during the day. In the Cidade Velha (Old City) you'll find the majority of the cultural attractions. And head East to find the tony Nazare neighborhood, which boasts the city's most appealing cathedral the Bascilica Santuario de Nazare.

Start out your sightseeing by heading to the Estacao das Docas, a converted warehouse area that now hosts restaurants, trendy shops, and a theater. You can also find ATMs here. After you've enjoyed a delicious meal, check out the displays about Belem's history, presented in both Portuguese and English. One particularly noteworthy feature is the live music offered most evenings, performed on a platform that slides around a track in the rafters above!

The Teatro da Paz is a must on your to-do list, built in elaborate neo-classical style. Enjoy a half-hour guided tour from Tuesday to Saturday. Then head down to the Mercado Ver-o-Peso, whose cast-iron pieces were imported from Britain, and assembled in 1901. Enjoy the herbal remedies, fruits, fish, and animals, but watch out for swindlers and pick-pockets. Finally, make sure you get a chance to see the Museu do Indio do Para, which showcases artifacts of Para state's indigenous groups.

..........................................................................................................................................
Accommodation
..........................................................................................................................................

Amazonia Hostel Belem
The only youth hostel in Belem, it offers dorms starting at R$40 and private rooms starting at R$80. You'll enjoy the internet, shared kitchen, and laundry facilities.
Av Governador Jose Malcher 592
Tel: 4008 4800
www.amazoniahostel.com.br

Hotel Unidos
Great value, friendly staff, and a respectable breakfast included in the price make this a great mid-range option. Single rooms start at R$65.
Rua O de Almeida 545
Tel: 3224 0660

Manaca Hotel
Located in a nice neighborhood, this higher-end hotel offers a pool, superb service, and clean and comfortable rooms. Singles start at R$165.
Travessa Quintino Bocaiuva 1645
Tel: 3242 5665
www.manacahotel.com.br

..........................................................................................................................................
Where to Eat
..........................................................................................................................................

Mae Natureza
A wonderful spot for the health-conscious, featuring fresh and delicious vegetarian and vegan fare.
Rua Sen Manoel Barata 889
Tel: 3212 8032

Santa Pizza
This warm and inviting pizzeria serves up great pizza and other snacks, and is particularly great for eating outside.
Travessa Quintino Bocaiuva 945
Tel: 3409 6450

Boteco das Onze
A great choice for lunch, dinner, or late-night drinks, this joint serves up some great seafood, and offers live music most nights of the week.
Casa das Onze Janelas, Praca Frei Brandao

..........................................................................................................................................
Getting There
..........................................................................................................................................

Belem affords travel opportunities by air, boat, and bus. The Aeroporto Val de Caes is serviced by most major Brazilian airlines, while the Terminal Hidroviaria offers boat trips up the Amazon. Belem's bus terminal is located 3km east of downtown. There is regular and cheap service in between Belem and Sao Luis.

..........................................................................................................................................

 

Tell us what you think!

Tell us what you think!

0
    Login With Facebook   or:  
  • No comments found

Additional information

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials