Amazon region, colonial architecture
and vibrant cuisine
Waking up early in Belém to the rising sun and parrot cries is an invitation to immerse yourself in the rhythms of local life. Head to Ver-o-Peso Market to watch sailors unloading spices, fruits and medicinal herbs from further up the river. After browsing the stalls, join workers at rustic kiosks for an energising bowl of açai with crunchy manioc flour and an optional side of fried pirarucu fish.
Behind the market, the narrow cobblestone streets of Campina and Cidade Velha showcase colonial palaces from the city’s Rubber Boom heyday, and atmospheric botecos serve crab-stuffed unhas de carangueijo and cachaça infused with jambu leaves which will leave your mouth tingling.
Strolling beneath the mango trees of Nazaré offers shelter from Belém’s midday heat. Other lush oases, from popular Mangal das Garças to lesser-known Parque Estadual do Utinga, provide shade and monkey chatter under the rainforest canopy. Venturing further, you’ll find riverfront refreshment on Ilha do Combu, with rustic restaurants suspended on stilts above the water, and Ilha do Mosqueiro, prized for its sandy freshwater beaches.
Return to the city centre for sunset views and happy hour at the Estação das Docas waterfront complex. Linger for dinner at restaurants specialising in signature Paraense pato no tucupi and maniçoba, before heading to the trendy bars of Umarizal and Reduto. If you’re in a musical mood, let yourself be swept away by traditional Afro-indigenous carimbó or the pulsing, electronic strains of contemporary tecnobrega, infectious rhythms that capture Belém’s vibrant spirit.
Once a year, the city receives the biggest religious event of the country, the Círio de Nazaré, which brings together thousands of people from all over Brazil.