By Ricardo Freire
Belém is one of Brazil's most fascinating destinations. The city has a strong and unmistakable personality. Its streets are decorated with leafy mango trees planted over a century ago. The opulence of the rubber boom is visible in its beautiful architectural ensemble. The regional culinary offers all of the Amazon’s flavors – exotic fruits, river fish, tacacá, tucupi – and is in itself worth the trip.
But the city is not a prisoner of its traditions. Many of its landmarks have acquired new uses, in an urban revitalization process to match that of Curitiba.
The Guajará bay, a result of the confluence of the Guamá and Aracá rivers, is close to the mouth of the Amazon, and is inviting for river trips and an outing to the Marajo Island.
Start your visit where the city was born – at the Presépio fort. In the same square you will find the Santo Alexandre Church and the Onze Janelas house, a cultural center.
The port is not far away– and there you will find the Ver-o-Peso Market (where açai is served in the Pará style, with fried fish and flour) and the Docks Station, home to bars and restaurants. The beautiful Paz Theater offers hourly guided visits, and don’t forget to go to the Detention House, which has been transformed into the Jewelery hub.
The urban parks are a sight in themselves. Try to fit in a trip to the Garças Mangrove, the Amazon Biopark, and the Emilio Goeldi Park.