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Santos (Sao Paulo) (Photo:Will Rodrigues/Shutterstock)
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By Cruise Critic Staff

Port of Santos (Sao Paulo)

Santos, the gateway to the Brazilian capital of Sao Paolo, has long been nicknamed "the coffee port." Though no coffee (except for a few show trees) actually grows in Santos, the city is synonymous with the bean and ties its history to the growth of Brazil's coffee trade (military officer Francisco de Melo Palheta brought the first coffee plant to Brazil in 1727).

About Santos (Sao Paulo)


Visit the Coffee Museum and try a Brazilian cappuccino in the onsite cafe


Beware of pickpockets

Bottom Line

Explore museums and hit the beach in Latin America's largest port city

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In the mid- 19th century, coffee production exploded in the countryside around Santos and Sao Paolo, buoyed at first by millions of slaves and then by the end of the century by European immigrant workers. For 150 years, Brazil has been the world's largest coffee producer (arabica and robusta are the dominant varieties) growing about a third of the world's crop.

Santos is the busiest port in Latin America, shipping 25 percent of the country's exports. Home to 400,000 residents, Santos welcomes more than four million visitors per year, with 1.3 million of those arriving by cruise ship.

Visitors find wide, tree-lined boulevards and the longest beach garden in the world. Santos is also synonymous with soccer great Pele, and the stadium where he played is one of the city's noteworthy attractions. Santos also holds a world record for the tallest cemetery.

The city enjoys a tropical rain forest climate with warm temperatures throughout the year, though the summer months (December to March) draw the most visitors.

Where You're Docked

The port of Santos covers 8.7 miles, though the cruise operations are concentrated in the Concais Terminal. In the high season, there can be a half-dozen or more ships in port, and generally it is necessary to take a shuttle bus from shipside to the cruise terminal.

Good to Know

Don't wear flashy jewelry. Pickpockets in the area have been known to rip necklaces, bracelets and rings off tourists.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The local currency is the Brazilian real. Many shopkeepers and taxi drivers take U.S. dollars. There is a currency exchange in the main cruise terminal as well as several ATM's near gate L. Check xe.com and oanda.com for current exchange rates.


Portuguese is the national language of Brazil and is spoken in Santos. Some locals, who work directly with tourists, speak English.


For the soccer lovers in your life, the Santos Football Club Gift Shop at the Vila Belmiro Stadium offers unforgettable gifts. Take home a bit of the spirit of Pele with items from his home club: Choose from a Santos Football Club pin, a small soccer ball in the team colors or a team jersey.

Best Cocktail

Drink the caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail, in the region where it originated. Made with cachaca (hard liquor made from sugar cane), sugar and lime, the cocktail is said to have been invented in 1918 as a popular remedy for victims of the Spanish flu, which was spreading across the world that year. Nearly every bar and restaurant in Santos serves the sweet drink.