Manaus to Santarém by cargo boat

2022-04-25 @Travel

These cargo boat journeys are becoming increasingly seamless. So far anyway. Let’s proceed to Santarém in the neighboring state of Pará.

Speaking of timezones, the travel from Tabatinga to Manaus placed us one hour ahead, and Santarém jumps yet another hour forward. We’re zooming into the future. Which is really time past. And eternally present.

Manaus facilitates logistics in having the port pegged to the historic center. Even Teatro Amazonas is a mere kilometer outside the port.

On the other hand, the port you’ll arrive at in Santarém is a few kilometers out, and then a further distance yet from my lodging. All in all, having neglected to research these details prior, I ended up walking over 6km with my luggage.

But concerning the Manaus to Santarém cargo boat: they depart Monday to Friday at noon, arriving afternoon to evening the following day. Mine arrived circa 7PM. I then spent an additional night on the boat, heading out the next morning. I’ve been finding this option universal across all cargo boats so far.

At the ticket kiosk outside the Manaus port I was quoted R185. However, purchased from the outside vendor on the morning of travel, R170 was what I paid. This I’m told is also fairly normal. And do mind the R5 entry fee into the port.

Meals are not included this time around. Purchase them from vendors before departure or at one of the cargo stops. Alternatively, pay for your meals at the restaurant on the boat: only slightly more expensive, if at all, though with the vendors you can negotiate.

Your own plate you don’t need, as the restaurant/vendors hand out these meals in disposable containers.

Otherwise, it’s a similar setup to the Tabatinga -> Manaus boat: mount your hammock, bring your towel. Drinking water abundant at every level. Coffee canisters not present though. And the personnel were stricter with hot water this time around. I consumed cold instant coffee the entire time.

At nighttime, the boat was sufficiently lit (with nighttime friendly blue lights) not to necessitate a flashlight.

Concerning natural phenomena, not long after departure you’ll witness the famous meeting of the waters (encontro das aguas), where two distinctly colored rivers merge: Rio Negro with Rio Solimões: the first, café preto, the second, café com leite, the result: Erva Mate. Don’t miss it. Specialized tour boats actually charge for this, usually packaged with other attractions.

Questions, comments? Connect.