Fordlândia is a small historic town on the east bank of the Tapajós River in Pará.
Henry Ford bought a large amount of land in the Amazon jungle in the late 1920s and attempted to cultivate rubber for use in the manufacturing of his cars. What makes Fordlândia interesting is that Ford tried to "export America" to the Amazon, forcing workers to work American hours, eat American food, etc. The project turned out to be a major failure, mainly due to the workers' resentment of the imposed lifestyle and to the forces of nature. Later on, the operation was moved to Belterra.
Boats leave Santarém from the Praça Tiradentes port from Monday to Saturday at 4PM and on Sunday at 2PM. The trip takes 12 hours and costs R$45. Bringing a hammock is recommended if you you don't want to pay extra for a cabin. Sometimes it's possible to rent a hammock from crew member, but don't depend on it. I got it for R$10. There are good hammocks to buy around the port for as low as 25-40 R$, if you avoid expensive brands.
You'll arrive at around 4 AM the next morning and if you bought a hammock you can hang in it on the dock until sunrise. You also can go by different speedboats ("lanchas") at Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 1PM for R$50. They leave around "Pontão de lancha" close to Praça Tiradentes and the trip will take 4-7 hours.
There is really a lot of transport options avaliable, and the easiest is probably to show up at he port and ask around.
If coming from the south, boats leave Itaituba daily at 4PM and take 4 hours to reach the town. A speedboat takes around 1 hour.
Buses leave to and from Itaituba.
There is just one road into Fordlândia. 4X4 is recommended in rainy season.
Small enough to walk around. There are also several mototaxis around.
The main attraction in Fordlândia is the remains left behind by the Ford Motor Company when they abandoned the plantation.
- The most recognizable landmark in town is the 150-foot tall water tower. Ask the guard for permission to climb to the top for a great view.
- Vila America is about 1.5 miles from the town center and contains several house from the Ford era, american fire plugs, remnants of a paved sidewalk, a beautiful alley, and an abandoned swimming pool among other things. As of the date of editing, all houses had inhabitants except one decayed house that was partly hidden by vegetation. The houses are crumbling, but previous travellers have noted that in abandoned ones you may still see old beds, bathtubs, sinks, etc. from the 1930s.
There is no organized tourist infrastructure in Forlândia, although there is sure potential for one such.
- Rent a motorbike. Rent a motorbike and see the rural sorroundings of this village. Around 9 km from Fordlândia direction upriver is small settlement with a few workers housings from Ford that still are in a good condition.
- Interacting with the locals. People are friendly and most are eager to talk to foreigners. Hardly nobody speaks anything else than Portugese though.
It seems like some people in Fordlândia are a bit tired of talking about Ford. After all, what makes most tourists come to this place is what some american abandoned 70 years ago. This probably make todays residents there feel a bit overlooked. Showing some interest to the present people and situation could be wise, no matter what your main purpose of the visit is. Not everybody seemed happy to be in photos, so take proper care and be respectful when taking photos of people, ask first when possible.
- Mountains. Some of the nearby mountains have nice views
- Pousada Glaide (on the road straight from the dock.), ☎ . The rooms are quiet spacious and equipped with bathrooms, but most of them don't have windows. The price for a single room is 50R$ and for a double 70-80R$. In the double rooms a hammock can be fitted so that 3 persons can stay there for the same room rate. All rooms have AC and breakfast is included. 23-50 p/p.
- Pousada Americana, ☎ . The fancier option in Fordlândia, just across the road from Pousada Glaide, and does everything in a similar way but fancier. All rooms have AC. 100-120 R$ p/p.
- doesn't seem to have a name (about 200 meters up the main road from the dock.). Includes a small breakfast. R$30 per room of up to three people..
- There are a few different internet cafés in Forlândia, but the connection is rather slow usually.
- There are no ATM's, but in case of an emergency a motorcycle workshop features the places only equipment for paying with card, which can be used to extract small amounts of money.
Boats going upriver to Itaituba leave at around 4 AM. Boats going downriver to Santarém leave at 8PM. Lanchas (speedboats) leave daily. It seems like they leave 3 PM monday-saturday and 2:30 PM sundays. Ask a local when there to be sure. There are likely more more posibilities than this, boats where coming and going every now and then.
Apart from this, buses leave to Itaituba.