Information and Tourism
Pará is a contradiction of a place. Amidst the natural Amazonian beauty of Pará's countryside, as well as its towns and cityscapes, lies a wealth of natural resources. The state boasts the largest mineral reserves in the world. In the 1990s, Pará hit the headlines when gold diggers converged in their thousands on the village of Sella Pelada, following the discovery of the largest gold deposit to be unearthed in South America.
It is a shame that this potential jewel of a place has more than its fair share of rough edges. Ecologists are engaged in a constant battle to preserve Pará's tropical rainforests, and reverse the trend towards deforestation and land disputes.
Pará's state capital of Belem might not stand up to comparison with some of Brazil's bigger cities, but for most visitors, it is the highlight of their trip. It boasts a reasonable nightlife, some interesting monuments and buildings, and a quiet park for taking the weight off your feet. The city is anything but quiet during October, however, when the annual Cirio de Nazaré religious festival takes place, reputedly the largest such event in the Western Hemisphere.
Beyond Belem lies a plethora of riverside towns and cities. Included among them is Altamira. Unremarkable in many respects, it is the sheer size of the city that sets it apart. It may or may not help to think of it as being twice the size of Portugal. At any rate, it is the largest urban area in the Americas.
Life is considerably more peaceful at Pará's coastal destinations, including Ilha do Algodoal, a small island that is a perfect mix of cultural attractions and sandy beaches. Many coastal resorts here have yet to attract huge numbers of tourists, foreign or otherwise. Of course, all this may soon change. Algodoal's Praia da Princesa is rapidly becoming known as one of Brazil's most beautiful beaches.
Pará Information and Fast Facts
- Country: Brazil
- Main administrative centre: Belem
- Biggest city: Belem
- Population: approximately 7.6 million
- Language: Portuguese
- Area: 481,740 square miles / 1,247,700 square kilometres
WORLD GUIDES TO PARA
World Guide to Belem, Brazil
Capital of the state of Pará, Belem sits next to the Baia do Guajara;. A surprisingly popular and appealing city, Belem is the place to come if you are considering a cruise along the Amazon River (Rio Amazonas).
State Map of Para