Santos is a city in the south of the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Santos is the core city of Baixada Santista, a coastal metropolitan area, and contains the most important port in South America. Santos is a city of 434,000 people (2020) known for its historical center, the Santos FC football team (team of the legendary Pelé), and its beaches (reputedly, not the cleanest).
Santos was founded in 1546, partially on the island of São Vicente which harbors both the city of Santos and the city of São Vicente, and partially on the mainland. It is the main city in Paulista Coast. As of 2015, its population was estimated at 433,966. Santos has the biggest seaport in Latin America; is a significant tourist center; has large industrial complexes and shipping centers, which handle a large portion of the world's coffee exports; as well as a number of other Brazilian exports including oranges, bananas and cotton. The city also displays the Coffee Museum, where, once, coffee prices were negotiated; and a football memorial, dedicated to the city's greatest players, amongst which is Pelé. Its beach's garden, 5.3 km long, figures in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest beachfront garden.
There is a tourist information on the beach garden in the center of the beach. It is the building with Mondrian walls at the big "i"-sign, The staff speaks excellent English and are very helpful.
From São Paulo
- By air - Arriving the airports in São Paulo (Congonhas / CGH IATA) or (Guarulhos / GRU IATA), packtours can arrange convenient TAXI service to Santos, it may take slightly more than one hour to go. There are also about 8 bus service a day from Guarulhos.
- By bus - Take a taxi or the subway to Jabaquara Bus Station. There you can take a bus directly to Santos. Estimated travel time: 1 hour 20 minutes. Buses leave every 15 minutes 24 hours a day. More information: 011 50113421. The bus stops at the Centro Rodoviário and them some go on to São Vicente (Santos' twin city), some to Gonzaga (beach) and some to Ponta da Praia (on the channel, handy for taking a boat on to Guarujá). You can get off at many other stops on the bus way on, but only if you do not have luggage in the luggage trunk of the bus.
There is also a direct service from terminal 1. The Bus is Cometta and costs around US$12, arriving into Santos in 2 hr 20 min.
- By car - From São Paulo, take either rodovia Padre Anchieta ("Anchieta", SP-160) or rodovia dos Imigrantes ("Imigrantes", SP-160). Both roads have a "planalto" (plateau) section and a "serra" (mountain) section that goes down the Serra do Mar to the sea level. Anchieta being older, its mountain section is winding and narrow, while Imigrantes' is wider and mostly straight due to extensive use of tunnels and bridges. Both roads are linked through a high and a low interlink. Trucks and busses are prohibited in the mountain section of Imigrantes, and are forced to take the interlink and use Anchieta. Both roads feature a toll of about R$ 20,00 that you pay only in one direction (when leaving São Paulo). Traffic is frequently deviated from one road to the other for traffic regulation purposes or road works, so you should follow the dynamic signs.
A good way to move around to not-so-close places. Otherwise regular taxis are not very expensive and drivers are mostly friendly, although small cheats are not uncommon. To avoid it, after getting into a taxi, check if the taximeter has been started . If not, ask the taxi driver to do so.
Uber is also available.
Buses are a cheap and nice way to get around by day, although by night they become more scarce. The fare is paid either with tickets, which can be bought at most bus stops, or in cash to the driver or conductor, passing through a turnstile. Keep an eye out for pickpockets when the bus is crowded. Many people board the bus while still wet from the sea, so have a good look if your seat is dry before you sit. The easiest for you is to simply use Moovit, Google Maps and Bus Schedule in this city to find your bus connection. For Moovit you need to select the metro area "Santos e Região".
Bicycles are by far the best way to move around the town, there are many places where you can rent one. It's not allowed to ride on most of the beaches during the day. There are some "ciclovias" (bikelanes), specially a well-signed one in front of the beach. Better safe than sorry: buy a padlock as well.
By streetcar (tramway)
There are a couple of tourist routes with early XX century streetcars.
- Dock Museum, Av. Rodrigues Alves with Rua João Alfredo, ☏ . M-F 07:00-11:00 and 15:00-17:00. This museum tells the story of what was during the 19th century the greatest coffee dock in the world. Free.
- Statue of the dock worker, Praça Silvério de Souza. 12-meter-high statue in homage to the labor force that endured carrying tons of coffee every day back in times.
- 1 Coffee Stock Exchange, Rua XV de Novembro, 95, ☏ . Tu-Su 09:00-18:00. Once an active and important institution, nowadays it houses a Museum of Coffee where visitors can see the history of Coffee in Brazil. There are also some old machineries and different kinds of coffee. The building has renascentist inspiration and was reopened to the public in 1997. Adults R$4; Students and seniors R$2.
- 2 Monte Serrat Hill, Praça Correia de Melo, 33, ☏ . Right in the center of the city. On the top of the hill (157m) one can have a 360 degrees view of all Santos and adjacent cities (like Guaruja). Full of restaurants and coffee bars. If climbing is not your sport, you can take the tram (R$12,50). As of June 2017, it was R$40 and there was only one coffee bar.
- 3 Beachfront garden. The longest beachfront garden in the world, according to the Guinness Book, 5,335 m (17,503 ft) long. Just go to the beach and you will find it.
- 4 Aquarium., Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Ponta da Praia, ☏ . Tu to Sa 09:00 to 18:00. . The first public aquarium in Brazil featuring hundreds of sea creatures of the Brazilian seas. R$ 5,00, students pay R$ 2,50 and free for children under 12.
- Church of Embaré, Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 32, ☏ . Every day from 08:00 to 20:00. Gothic church built in 1946. No admission fee.
- Orchid Garden plus Zoobotanic garden at Praça Washington Luis at the end of Avenida General Francisco Glicério, 200 metres from beach and 300 metres from São Vicente border. Small entrance fee. Several green houses full of orchids. Small local animals loose in the garden: turtles, pacas. Walk in fenced garden with loose large birds: tucanos, macaws.
- Benedicto Calixto Art Collecion at Bartolomeu de Gusmão Avenue, 15 (near a touristic guide place) is a beautiful mansion house with a permanent exhibition of paintings by Benedicto Calixto and an art library. Worth visiting the beautiful indoor garden.
Center East area
- Santos Futebol Club., Rua Princesa Isabel, ☏ . From 09:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 18:00. The famous club where Pelé played most of his career exhibits some glories and trophies of the past and present. Interesting only for football fanatics. No admission fee.
- People from São Paulo often go to Santos to lie down under the sun and enjoy the beach. Santos beaches are not the most beautiful in the Paulista Coast, but they are still popular and a good place for a walk. Once there, you may try some coconuts (R$ 4.00) or buy handicrafts. If you can't find the vendors, don't worry, they will find you.
- Walk on the XV de Novembro Street. Located in the center of Santos, the street used to be where the office s of Coffee Lords were located. The interesting colonial architecture and the many bars and Cafes around make it a pleasant walk in the ending afternoon.
- Trams in Santos date back to 1861. You can still ride them and take a peek in all main attractions of the center. Tours costs R$5,00 and leaves from Maua Square (Praca Maua).
- Double Deck tour travels along the beach front on Saturdays and Sundays in summer, and during the rest of the year, on long holiday weekends. Departure point is near the Aquarium. A guide points out the main attractions along the route. Departures: Municipal Aquarium (Neighborhood: Ponta da Praia)tickets costs: R$4
- The handicraft market is the place to buy a nice souvenir from Santos. There you can find paintings, earrings, clothes, candies, esoteric stuff, flowers and the like. It's located at the end of Avenida Conselheiro Nébias, every Saturday from 14:00 to around 23:00, and Rua Conselheiro Ribas (in front of SESC) every sunday.
- Some tourists like to check the Fish Market, close to the ferry boat, where one can buy fresh fish with a very cheap price.
Near the center of the beach
- 1 Empório da Granola, Avenida Marechal Floriano Peixoto, 152. 09:00-19:30. Healthy food.
- 2 Bar Cavaco Santista, Av. Senador Pinheiro Machado.
- 3 Bar e Restaurante Bolinha's, Esquina Rua Maranhão - 100 Metros do Canal 1, Av. Gal. Francisco Glycerio.
- 4 Pasteluxo Grill, R. Djalma Dutra, 24 - Gonzaga.
- 5 Cozinha, R. Gov. Pedro de Tolêdo, 108 - Boqueirão.
- 6 Restaurante Nova Mineira, R. Bahia, 115 - Gonzaga.
Near the eastern beach
- 7 Restaurante Bella Bambina, Rua Oswaldo Cochrane - Embaré.
- 8 Bar do Bigode, Av. Dr. Epitácio Pessoa, 223 - Embaré.
- 9 Restaurante Florença, R. Conselheiro Ribas, n°538 - Embaré.
- 10 Felicidade Lanches, R. Alexandre Martins, 45 - Aparecida.
- 11 Eskimó, R. Inglaterra, 6 - Ponta da Praia.
- 12 Beduíno, Av. Ana Costa, 466, ☏ . Or Av. Marechal Floriano Peixoto, 44, - Brazilian burgers and other finger foods.
- 13 Gotissô, Av. Saldanha da Gama, 159, ☏ . Japanese cuisine with affordable prices, self-service system.
- 14 Vista ao Mar, Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 68, ☏ . This seafood restaurant serves, among others, a tasty paella. The portion is huge, so it's better to come with a big group.
- 15 Mar Del Plata, Av. Saldanha da Gama, 137, ☏ . Traditional seafood restaurant.
- 16 Tertulha, Av. Bartolomeu de Gusmão, 187, ☏ . Steak house with many options of meat, salads and desserts. The waiters went at the tables with many options of meat, that you can choose what you prefer.
Bars in Santos are usually crowded and lively during the weekends. Many bars offer live MPB music (Popular Brazilian Music). Beer, caipirinha and batidas are found everywhere.
- Armazém 29, Rua Pindorama, 29, ☏ . A very informal bar where people go after a day at the beach. Santistas say they serve the best caipirinha in town.
- Barão do Café, Av. Ana Costa, 547, ☏ . Thematic bar that celebrates the glorious times of the coffee in Brazil. Old photos of the city on the walls. Live music from Wednesday to Sunday at nights.
- Chop Santista, Av. Vicente de Carvalho, 54, ☏ . Huge bar with two separated rooms, one with live music, that stays very crowded in the weekends. A lot of flirting.
- Heinz, Rua Lincoln Feliciano, 54, ☏ . A more traditional option with a not-so-young crowd. They serve good German food and appetizers to go with the beer.
On the side streets just West of Avenida Ana Costa (forwards Avenida Bernardino de Campos), one or two blocks from the beach, there are a few simple mixed cheap hotels / pensões.
On the Paqueta side of the city center (between the center and the port) there are a few grotty very cheap hotels, if you cannot afford anything else. (women travelling alone might fell uncorfortable there).
- Atlântico Hotel, av. Presidente Wilson 1, ☏ . Check-out: noon. Very basic with bare walls and tile floor, but has airondition, TV, and affordable minibar. The hotel is an beautiful older building in an excellent location right at the beach. Free wireless internet.
- Plaza Hotel, av. Floriano Peixoto, 42, ☏ .
- Atlântico Inn, rua Jorge Tibiriçá, 4, ☏ .
- Panorama, rua Euclides da Cunha, 15, ☏ .
- Avenida Palace, av. Presidente Wilson, 10, ☏ .
- Indaiá, av. Ana Costa, 431, ☏ .
- Ritz, av. Marechal Deodoro, 24, ☏ .
- Paulista, av. Presidente Wilson, 134, ☏ .
- Fenícia, av. Presidente Wilson, 184, ☏ .
- Parque Balneário, av. Ana Costa, 555, ☏ . Awesome hotel for those willing to spend a little (lot) more.
- Mendes Plaza, av. Floriano Peixoto, 42, ☏ . The top of the local hotels.
Santos is infamous for beach pollution during part of the year. Look for small red flags near the pedestrian way. They mean swimming at the beach is not advised. Before you go, you can also check the map of the latest weekly beach quality bulletin (in Portuguese, boletim de qualidade das praias) of the state's Environment Department (CETESB).
Hostels and private rooms are available in ...:
To the east:
- Guarujá – 10 km. Popular beach destination and devoted to tourism. The city has the biggest aquarium in South America, it has more than 700 species of aquatic animals. A nickname for the city is "The Pearl of the Atlantic".
- Bertioga – 60 km. A laid-back sea-side town with excellent beaches. It's one of the safest towns of the São Paulo coast.
- Camburi and Boicucanga – 110 km. It is considered by Paulistas as one of the best beaches on their coastline. Camburizinho beach is right next door.
- Ilhabela – 140 km. The island is considered one of the natural paradises of the São Paulo coast. (Ilhabela means literally "beautiful island" in Portuguese). It is known for its forest-covered mountains, its amazing beaches and its savage trails.
To the south-west:
- Itanhaém – 60 km. Surrounded by the Atlantic forest and with nice beaches. You can make a boat tour upstream the river. The city's nickname is "Princess of the South Seas" and "Amazônia Paulista".
To the north:
|Routes through Santos|
|Peruíbe ← Cubatão ←||S N||→ Guarujá → Ubatuba|