Santos is the cruise port to Sao Paulo - Brazil's largest city with population over 12,18 million (metro over 21,57 million). The cruise port is approx 70 km (45 mi) southeast of Sao Paulo City and is located on Sao Vicente island's eastern part. The port was established in 1534 and became prosperous with the coffee export boom in mid-19th century.
Santos City has population around 435,000. Founded in 1546, the city is partially located on Sao Vicente Island and partially on mainland Brazil. Santos is the largest city in the Baixada Santista metro region, covering total area approx 281 km2 (108 ml2) Best-known tourist attractions include Coffee Museum, Santos Beach Front Garden (world's longest - 5335 m / 17500 ft), beaches (Jose Menino, Pompeia, Gonzaga, Boqueirao, Embare, Aparecida, Ponta da Praia). The metro city is ranked Brazil's 6th largest by export trade value (around USD 4,4 billion). The most exported products are raw sugar (23%), refined petroleum (16%), row coffee (15%), soybeans (13%).
Currently, Port Santos is ranked South America's largest containership port, world's 39th largest and Brazil's most modern. Main cargoes handled at its terminals include solid bulk (30%), liquid bulk (17%), TEUs (containers), general cargo (53%). The seaport is connected to Brazil's road network via two highways (Anchieta, Imigrantes) and also to the federal railway network by trains operated by Ferrovia Bandeirantes (Ferroban, fka Ferrovia Paulista / FEPASA) and MRS Logística (freight rail company).
Port's first railway link to Sao Paulo City was opened in 1864. It allowed an easier transportation of migrant workers for state's coffee farms. Besides coffee, port's current main exports include cars, heavy machinery, orange juice, sugar, soybeans. Most goods imported in Brazil enter the country through Port Santos, which handles around 1/3 of Brazil's total cargo. Port's record year was 2010, when it handled nearly 97,2 million cargo tons.
In 1980 was signed a 90-year concession deal with CODESP (Companhia Docas do Estado de Sao Paulo, now Companhia Docas de Santos), which is the port authority company that controls all terminals and port operations. CODESP is also responsible for all facilities and development projects.
The most serious issues that the seaport currently faces are vessel access (ship channels), in-port distribution (of goods) and traffic congestion (roads and railways). Only one 3-lane road connects it to the highway system, with 2 lanes for port entry and 1 lane for exiting. Expansion plans include dredging (deepening the access channels), installing modern transportation systems, building larger warehouses and outdoor storage facilities.
In 2024, CODESP starts several expansion projects that eventually will result in around 300% growth of port's shipping traffic - or from the current 97,2 million to 230 million cargo tons.
Port's cruising season is December through April. Among the largest cruise companies homeporting ships in Santos (for roundtrip itineraries) are MSC, Costa and Pullmantur. However, most itineraries are one-ways, including Transatlantic repositioning crossings (between Europe and South America) and voyages from Brazil to Uruguay and Argentina that visit ports like Buzios, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires (Argentina), Montevideo (Uruguay).
Cruise port's record year was season 2010-2011, when were handled over 1,22 million passengers. The busiest day was in 2008 (9 liners). Port's current regulations allow max 6 vessels to be docked simultaneously, in order to keep the smooth flow of its cargo shipping operations. During season 2016-2017, the port handled a total of 471,702 cruise ship passengers (36% increase over 2015-2016). During season 2017-2018, the port had scheduled 87 ship calls with booked 11 vessels. For season 2019-2020 were booked 113 cruise ship berthings (for 13 different vessels) with estimated ~627,000 tourists (3,8% increase over 2018-2019).
The cruise terminal is managed by Concais and operated under 20-year concession deal (until year 2039). The company plans to invest ~USD 42 million in infrastructure developments and equipment upgrades, including new terminal buildings, PBBs (passenger boarding bridges), modern security systems.
Santos cruise terminal
Santos/Sao Paulo cruise port welcomes over 1.3 million visitors annually. It is part of the Latin America’s busiest port. The terminal used for cruise ship is Concais Passenger Terminal. A new facility is planned soon.
A shuttle bus service from the dock to the terminal is provided as the distance is approx 15 km (9 mi). Port Santos cruise terminal is ~1,5 km (1 mi) away from downtown Santos and approx approx 72 km from Sao Paulo (taxi service is available). Guarulhos International Airport is approx 120 km (75 mi) from the cruise port.
Cruise terminal's facilities include snack bars, cafes, tour decks, retail stores, ATMs, Wi-Fi Internet access, currency exchange kiosks.
Santos tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
- Rampa do Mercado: at the end of Rua 15 de Novembro, on the seafront. Visit Casa do Café in Warehouse 15 and buy or sample any imaginable coffee kind.
- Railway Station: the model of London’s Victoria Station. It is at the town entrance, located on Largo Marquàs de Monte Alegre near the sea. It dates from 1867 an it is Federal Railways station.
- Santo Antônio do Valongo: at the railway station’ s square. There is a church and monastery. They were constructed in the 17th century (1640-1691).
- Museum of Sacred Art: Monte Serrat and the Morro São Bento are located at the town entrance.
- Nossa Senhora do Monte Serrat: visit the Nossa Senhora do Monte Serrat chapel. It dates from 1603.
- Câmara Municipal & Cadeia Pública: the old Town Hall and Gaol. Dates from 1830-60. It is located on Praça dos Andradas.
- Carmelite Convent & Chapel of third Carmelite Order: the place where the rests the ” father of Brazilian independence”, José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva. You can also enjoy paintings by Benedito Calixto and Jesuíno de Monte Carmelo.
- Municipal Orchidarium: in the José Menino district. It is near the Porchat Island. It a small park for peaceful time. In November you can watch the orchid show.
- Aquarium: the Fisheries Museum and the Municipal Aquarium are located on Avenida Bartolomeu de Gusmão in the building of the Department of Agriculture.
- Beaches: the coast os Santos is 4.3 miles (7 km) long. You can visit Boqueirão, Praias José Menino, Ponta da Praia, Gonzaga and Embaré beaches.
- Museum of the Sea: located on Rua República do Equador.
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