Belem to Macapa

A visit to Belem, Brazil including the Gateway to the Amazon River (Tours to the Amazon, Manaus and Iquitos), Ver-o-peso market, Docks Station, Strong Crib museum, Clock Square, Our Lady of Grace Cathedral before taking the overnight boat to Macapa

Belém is a city in Northern Brazil, capital of the state of Pará.  Belém offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Gateway to the Amazon River (Tours to the Amazon, Manaus and Iquitos)
  • Ver-o-peso market
  • Docks Station
  • Strong Crib museum
  • Clock Square
  • Our Lady of Grace Cathedral

Belém has some great value hotels, you’ll find something for your budget here.

Belém, Brazil

Belém, Brazil

Belém is Portuguese (and Spanish) for Bethlehem, so you are in fact visiting Bethlehem, Brazil when you visit Belém, Brazil.  Belém is an important travel hub in Brazil because from here boats leave for the Amazon.  I’ll be taking a boat to Macapá on the equator which takes 24 hours.  You can also take boats to Manaus in the center of the Amazon, you could even take a boat and make it to Iquitos, Peru and to the west coast.  This would make a very beautiful and interesting overland trip, maybe one I’ll take in the future.

The reason I’m traveling to Macapá from Belém is because I will travel further north to the 3 least heard of countries of South America, French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana.  There are no roads further north from Belém which is why the port of Belém is so important.  I can take a boat around the Ilha de Marajo to the Amazon river and the city of Macapá on the equator before traveling further north by bus to these 3 countries.

Peace Theater (Teatro da Paz ), Belem, Brazil

Peace Theater (Teatro da Paz ), Belem, Brazil

Belém is a walkable city, you’ll see lots of beautiful Portuguese colonial buildings whilst walking around the city (above), you’ll also see lots of modern Brazilian buildings and shopping malls.  The Our Lady of Grace Cathedral you’ll find in the center is another stunning Portuguese colonial building.  Clock Square is a beautiful square surrounded by colorful houses, making for perfect city photographs.  I took advantage of the modern shopping malls by enjoying some western fast food, this is a great cure for home sickness and missing your local food.

You must visit the Ver-o-peso market, if not to see the huge market, to see the famous blue Portuguese colonial building it is located around.

There are quite a few bars located in and around the Docks Station (close to where you take the boat to the Amazon).  I would recommend going easy on the alcohol because a boat is no fun when you have a hangover.

Overnight boat, Belém to Macapa, 24 hours

Overnight boat, Belém to Macapa, 24 hours

The boat from Belém to the Amazon river and Macapá leaves from the Port of Belém.  The boat leaves to Macapá twice a week, I’d recommend going to the port and buying your ticket a day or a couple of days before the boat leaves to ensure you can find a ticket.  You have the choice of buying a  hammock and taking it on, or staying in a shared double birth (bunk bed), it’s significantly cheaper to take on a hammock as well as more airy and relaxing (below).

Hammocks on the overnight boat service from Belém to Macapa

Hammocks on the overnight boat service from Belém to Macapa

I took a Sao Francisco de Paula boat service to Macapa, this is 225 BRL for a shared berth in a room or about 60 BRL to hang your hammock outside (above).  The journey time is 24 hours, the boat was delayed 6 hours when I took the trip so it was a long trip in the end, arriving in Macapá on the equator late the following evening.

Macapa to Cayenne via Oipoque

2017-05-30T11:44:11+00:00 November 1st, 2016|Brazil, South America|10 Comments


  1. Umberta May 30, 2017 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    Enjoy Brazil! Such a wonderful country! I traveled there last October. I’ve been 3 days Amazonia too, but I started my trip in Manaus & didn’t get the chance to visit Belem too. Another time 😉

  2. Lee May 30, 2017 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    Glad to learn that Belem is a walkable city. We enjoy cities like that because we avoid renting cars whenever possible. This not only saves money but also allows you to experience the city more like a local.

  3. Natasha May 30, 2017 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a great trip. Never knew that about the name Belem being Bethlehem in English. Would love to visit the Amazon in Brazil, always been a dream of mine,

  4. yukti May 31, 2017 at 7:58 am - Reply

    Belem is so wonderful city. It is a combination of both modern city and Portugese culture type of buildings. I like the walkable city because while I can take as many pictures I can. In car my husband doesn’t stop everywhere to take pictures and so I like walking tours.

  5. Rachelle Gordon May 31, 2017 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I love the concept of being able to bring my hammock aboard a ship instead of dealing with the bunks/seats! The last boat/ferry ride I took was in Hawaii. My friend and I were traveling from Maui to Molokai for a few days and we took a local ferry across. Apparently the channel we crossed has some pretty strong currents, so a hammock would have been much more comfortable for us!

  6. Bhusha May 31, 2017 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Belem is short for Bethlehem?! OK, that’s news to me! A few Indian languages also have the term Belem in some Christian Songs and I didn’t know the meaning! Its very possible that here too it means Bethlehem!
    Hammocks in overnight ferry service? Now, that’s one mode of transport that I want to definitely venture in!

  7. Riely June 1, 2017 at 1:26 am - Reply

    I learned so many interesting facts in this post. One, Belém means Bethlehem in Portuguese and Spanish ( Neat!). And the other, I had no idea Belém is such an important port from Brazil to the Amazon. I didn’t know there are no roads further north of Belém to access these South American countries. The Ver-o-peso market would be a must see for myself while in Belém.

  8. Jen June 1, 2017 at 3:20 am - Reply

    I love touring a city by foot! You could learn and discover a lot just by observing the surroundings which makes Belém perfect. The hammocks are a great idea but the boat ride to the Amazon is too long for me though!

  9. Iza Abao June 1, 2017 at 9:47 am - Reply

    It is interesting to know that Belem is also Bethlehem. This is one of your most adventurous travel so far. I cannot imagine traveling on a boat for 24 hours. I would also prefer to buy a hammock. It is the best option because you will not be sharing it with anyone else plus it looks more comfortable.

  10. Brian June 1, 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

    I never heard of Belem in Brazil. But since it’s in Portugal, it makes sense that there’s one on Brazil!

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