Belem is the capital of the Para State, at the entrance of the Amazon.
Land distances: 2018 miles/3150 Kms from Rio de Janeiro, 1821/2933 Kms from Sao Paulo, 1000 miles/1600 Kms from Fortaleza, 900 miles/1600 Kms from Manaus (central Amazon).
Best time to go to Belem (and the Amazon's mouth region)
Temperatures in Belem remain fairly constant over the year, as well as humidity. The only thing that varies is the amont of rain. And that's a key issue: go in the dry season (June to December), if possible. That's the best time to visit the Amazon (and Belem).
Temperatures and humidity will be inevitably high (typically in the mid 90ºF), but you will not have to deal with the problem of the wet season (December to May): heavy downfalls almost every afternoon (even if mornings and early afternoons are sunny).
If your goal is to visit Belem but also other key travel spots in the Northern coast of Brazil, and if you are considering a visit to Lencois Maranhenses, then you should postpone your visit to the mid-May to August period. The beach-lagoons of blue-green fresh water only remain full between May and August. Hence the best time to visit the region: May to August.
When not to go to Belem
Which is the worst time of the year to visit Belem?
Belem is a wet-tropical city; it rains a lot, and there isn't a significant difference in terms of temperatures, humidity or even comfort throughout the year. Belem is a typical "steamy" city, and the big difference along the months from the perspective of travelers is the rain levels: and in this sense January to May is the worst time of the year to visit the region (and the mouth of the Amazon).
|Average temp ºC||Aver. Temp. Fahr.||Rainfall mm||Rainfall inches||Rain days|
Ilha do Maraja and surroundings
Ilha do Maraja, close to Belem, is an enormous island, in the very beginning of the river Amazon. It has good sandy beaches and very good places for fishing and bird watching. The access (by boat) from Belem is easy and the wildlife is abundant in its interior. Maraja offers a nice sample of the equatorial flora and fauna, and, as such, ecotourism is growing popular. There are daily boats from Belem to Soure, in the island's eastern tip (this Amazon cruise takes 4 to 5 hours). There are also air-taxis from Belem.
Near Soure - the island's main town - there are very good beaches (Praia do Pesqueira and Araruna) and inexpensive accommodations. Once in Soure you can easily arrange trips to the most interesting spots of the island.
Belem travelling & The city
Belem's travel highlights:
- The river docks, with the old fort and the ancient market (Ver-o-Peso). The river docks are the liveliest places in town duringthe morning. They are busy, colourful and exotic, reflecting the Amazon life.
- Downtown, closely linked to the early Portuguese colonization, with its narrow streets near the river docks at Forte do Castelo.
- In the old city, behind the Forte, you may visit the Opera House of Belem (an impressive monument, though much more modest than the Manaus Opera House), and the palaces-museums of Lauro Sodre and Antonio Lemos.
- Praia da Republica: the Belem central park is a good start for a walking tour; it's a beautiful mango-tree lined avenue, nicely shaded, with lots of beaux-arts and elegant buildings.
- Emilio Goeldi Museum, with its excellent tropical zoo and flora components.
- Avenue Magalhaes Barata.
HOTELS IN BELEM
There are few hotel options in Belem, and the dry season is not the best time for more affordable hotel rates.
Hilton Belem Hotel is one of the best, though with affordable prices. Hotel Regente is a good option and is budget-friendly.
Belem (BEL): 1,5 miles/2 Km from the city.
Taxi or bus; the airport is very near (1 mile) from Belem downtown.
Ilha de Maraja; the port of Belem; French Guiana.
For more information, see:
Manaus Brazil cruises
Amazon tours: Manaus, Safety, Climate
Cruises in the Amazon: article
Information about the Amazon rain forest
Amazon animals, birds, fish
Amazon fish dishes and other cuisine features
Amazon people: The Amazon woman, the Indian tribes and the caboclos