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South America

Santos Brazil Cruise Port Tips

Santos beach garden. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Santos beach garden. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The Santos cruise port near Sao Paulo, Brazil, is one of the biggest and most important cruise ports in South America. It’s certainly the most popular.

Out of 220 South American cruises over a one-year period, Santos was the embarkation port for 50 of the total cruises on a popular travel booking site. It even beat the more famous cities of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

  • Santos - 50 cruises
  • Buenos Aires - 46 cruises
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 35 cruises

Where is Santos?

Santos is on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. It is 1,400 miles north of Buenos Aires and about 300 miles south of Rio de Janeiro. The city of nearly half a million people is in the state of Sao Paulo. Most of it is on the island of São Vicente.

Cruise Tips

The most common cruise out of Santos lasts seven nights. A small number last either six or eight nights and an even smaller number last three to five nights.

Cruises out of Santos either go north and come back to Santo or head south before returning.

A seven-night cruise to the north of Santos may visit a series of Brazilian ports such as Buzios, Cabo Frio, Salvador, Ilheus, and Ilha Grande. Only an eight-night cruise will go as far north as Rio de Janeiro. A seven-night cruise to the south will often visit Itajai, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Punta Del Este, Uruguay.

Cruises are most common from November through March when temperatures are warmest but rainfall is higher.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

The Santos beach garden at more than three miles long is the largest in the world. It is about three miles southwest of the cruise terminal on the southern coast of São Vicente island. It lines the long Santos city beach, hence the name beach garden.

The 515-foot Monte Serrat in the middle of the city is known for its views of the surrounding area. Nossa Senhora do Monte Serrat is a quiet sanctuary named for a patron who hid residents from Dutch pirates in 1614.

Carmelite Convent Church is the city’s oldest house of worship. It dates from the 16th century. Visitors will find gilded wood altars, rococo altars and jacaranda wood pews as early examples of Brazilian baroque. Along with Baroque, they will find some semblance of Gregorian architecture as well.

In the city’s historic center is the Saint Anthony of Volongo Sanctuary. The location is significant due to the fact that slaves condemned to death used to pray before the “Patron Saint of the Hanged” in the courtyard. Inside the Sacristy is the Hanging Bell, a monument that was moved there to commemorate the abolishment of slavery.

The Chico Mendes Botanical Gardens is a fre, natural garden covering more than 22 acres. It has more than 300 species of plants as well as picnic tables, a playground and sports facilities. It is five miles west of the cruise terminal.

The opulent Coffee Exchange Building houses the Museu do Café or Coffee Museum. The historic building is noteworthy for marble pillars, patterned marble floors and stained glass doors. It is two miles west of the cruise port.

Cruise Port Weather

Daytime temperatures in Santo average in the low 70s Fahrenheit in the winter months of June through August, according to Brazil’s National Institute of Meteorology. They average in the low 80s Fahrenheit in the summer months of January through March.

Average rainfall ranges from five to nine inches a month during the summer and two to three inches a month during the winter. The summer is the peak cruise season, so cruisers are lucky if they don’t have any rain.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
July 04, 2021

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