Flaking out on beaches, boating down the river past traditional caboclo communities, exploring thick forests—there are plenty of ways of enjoying Santarém ’s natural attributes. For information about the surrounding area as well as guided ecotours, check in with Amazon Tours (Travessa Turiano Meira 1084, tel. 93/3522-1928, www.amazonriver.com .), a tour agency operated by an American expat named Steven Alexander, who has lived in Santarém with his wife since 1979.
A passionate defender of the Amazon ’s rich biosphere (and an equally fervent critic of politicians and businesses bent on destroying it), Alexander runs guided city tours as well as river boat trips, excursions to Alter do Chão , and visits to his own private nature reserve, Bosque Santa Lúcia, a patch of rainforest on the outskirts of town where you can hike amidst native trees, birds, and monkeys.
He can also put you in touch with guides to take you to farther flung attractions. Santarém Tur (Rua Adriano Pimentel 44, tel. 93/3522-4847, www.santaremtur.com.br ) also has a friendly staff that runs city tours and trips over land or by boat to natural attractions.