One of the oldest (over 470 years!) Brazilian cities with some historic remnants of its colonial past, Santos is at the same time the biggest port of Latin America and thus a thriving economy. Don’t be scared by its scale. You may think of Santos as a pit-stop to beach resorts like Ubatuba or Bertioga, but there are some historic gems to discover, and the local beach boasts some 7 km of extension.
Attractions and activities
A good place to start are the Jardins da Orla. Santos has arguably the biggest seaside park in the whole globe. Its beach, although not the cleanest, is quite varied, and whatever your focus – surf, bars, spotting vessels in the port – you are able to find a place for yourself. Once there, don’t miss the Santos Aquarium with about 1000 animals from 120 different species, including penguins, sharks and sea turtles.
In order to learn about the city´s history, embark on the Bonde Turístico (Tourist cable car), the only remnant of Santos´ once comprehensive tram network. Within 40 minutes, you will see all the historic points from the Colonial, Imperial and Republican eras of Brazil, such as the Coffee Museum. The tram in itself is a historical object, the cars used by Bonde Turístico are roughly 100 years old.
One of them is a tribute to Pelé, Santos´ globally famous son. Speaking of which - football may be interested in the Estádio Urbano Caldeira in the Vila Belmiro district. This is the arena where both Pelé and Neymar gained fame and recognition.
What to eat and drink
Santos offers a wide variety of restaurants, feel free to explore… but if you don’t like surprises, check out our recommendations below. For fast and relatively cheap finger food, like Brazilian burgers and kebabs, go to one of the Beduinos (Av. Ana Costa, 466 or Av. Marechal Floriano Peixoto, 44). A lunch at Café Paulista (Praça Rui Barbosa 8), near the former Coffee Stock Exchange, will make you feel like you’re one of the coffee traders of yorn, discussing lot prices over a decent meal and wine. Finally, a great but costly barbecue supper awaits you at Tertulha (Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 187).
For a night out, you can start at the beach park with a stroll, the odd beer and a little shopping on one of the handicraft fairs in the weekends. The beach kiosks are also an option. Then, for some more serious partying, switch to the Centro neighbourhood with its bars and clubs, such as Clube 49, also known as Clubinho Santos, on R. Visc. de Rio Branco, 49.
While searching for a bus ticket, it is important to pay attention to the bus stations.
Some destinations only have routes to one bus station and others more than one station. Depending on where you will stay in the city, it can make a difference in time and price if you have a choice in bus stations. Here is a brief summary of each station: