Visit Belém for historic attractions that draw in curious travellers, as well as beautiful streets dotted with mango trees and stunning parks. Belém, the capital city of Pará, Brazil and gateway to the Amazon’s lower region, is a fascinating destination to explore – especially for those who love nature and are keen to learn about the area’s indigenous origins.
Museums, monuments, parks, jungles and colonial structures help create this city’s fantastic cultural charm. Nightlife, cuisine and the local art scene guarantee hidden gems around every corner.
Cruise lines that call by this beautiful city include Hapag-Lloyd and Princess Cruises.
Cruise ships set anchor near the centre of town. Passengers travelling on larger cruise ships are tendered ashore.
One of the largest markets in Brazil is located right on the dock. Here passengers can purchase fresh produce, souvenirs and specialty items, like alligator, crocodile and anaconda meat. Other facilities nearby include restaurants, bars, cafés and transport.
How to Get Around
Once docked, buses, taxis and car rentals are the most popular modes of transport within Belém. Be sure to agree on a price when travelling in a taxi to avoid unexpected fees.
Those who would like to explore around the docks on foot can do so, but some attractions and landmarks will require a mode of transport.
Travel times from Belém’s port:
It is a 28 minute journey to Forte do Presepio
It is a 22 minute journey to Ver-o-peso market.
It is a 55 minute journey to the Amazon Biopark Zoo
It is a 26 minute journey to the Emilio Goeldi Museum
It is a 10 minute journey to Forte do Presepio
It is a 7 minute journey to Ver-o-peso market.
Currency – When exploring Belém, be sure to carry around some Brazilian Real (R$) with you. Banknotes come in the denominations of R$2, R$5, R$10, R$20, R$50 and R$100. Coins come in the denominations of R$0.01, R$0.05, R$0.10, R$0.25, R$0.25, R$0.25, R$0.50 and R$1.00.
Time Zone – Belém observes Brasilia Time (BRT), which is 3 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The clocks stay the same throughout the whole year as Daylight Saving Time is not observed.
Weather – Be sure to keep an umbrella handy when visiting Belém, as it is characterised by a tropical wet climate with no dry or cold season. Average temperatures sit around 25 degrees Celsius and annual rainfall averages 2,893 millimetres.
The Amazon Biopark Zoo – One of the biggest attractions in Belém is the Amazon Biopark Zoo. This zoo, located 15 kilometres from the centre of the city, is rich with awe-inspiring flora and fauna, rivers and streams. Take a leisurely walk on one of the zoo’s trails and stop by museums on the way to learn more about the Amazon’s ecosystem. It is best to join a guided tour to learn about the biodiversity of the park. Before you start exploring, be sure to slap on some insect repellent and bring a bottle of water.
The Emilio Goeldi Museum – Founded in 1866, the Emilio Goeldi Museum is a popular tourist attraction and research institute for the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Over the years, this museum has studied the socio-cultural and natural systems within the Amazon area. As such, it is one of the most important and respected centres in the country. The museum is split over three separate areas, including a botanical and zoological park in the middle of Belém, a research campus on the outer edges of the city and a scientific station in the Caxiuanã National Forest. Guided tours of the park operate on Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment.
Forte do Presepio – Built in the 17th century to protect Belém from French and Dutch forces, Forte do Presepio is a fantastic place to stop by to learn about Pará’s indigenous origins and history, as well as social, cultural and military influences. Most of the signs located throughout the fort’s small museum are written in Portuguese, so it’s a bonus if you can visit with someone who has an understanding of the language. History buffs and the curious alike will enjoy seeing the architectural remnants of the fort, as well as guns, ceramics, bullets, coins and fragments of pottery and porcelain.
Ver-o-peso Market – Shop for keepsakes with a beautiful river view! Ver-o-peso market is one of the most fascinating markets to browse through. From clothes and handicrafts to fresh produce, medicinal herbs and specialty meats (including crocodile, alligator and anaconda), there is plenty to see and dare to try. As it can be quite crowded, be aware of your surroundings.