The fragrance of sugar and coffee
Santos, one of Portugal’s first New World settlements, was founded in 1535.
The city stands partly on São Vicente island, its docking facilities and old town facing landwards, with ships approaching by a narrow, but deep, channel. Its compact centre retains a certain charm that’s massively popular with local tourists, and there is a good deal of historical and maritime interest around the city. On an MSC South America cruise excursion to the city centre you’ll find the ruins of some of Santos’s most distinguished buildings along Rua do Comércio.
Although sometimes only the facades remain, some of the nineteenth-century former merchants’ houses that line the street are gradually being restored, the elaborate tiling and wrought-iron balconies offering a hint of the old town’s lost grandeur. MSC South America cruises also offer excursions to the local Santos Futebol Clube. It’s best known as the club for which the great Pelé played for most of his professional life (from 1956 to 1974); their stadium, the Vila Belmiro, is open to the public when there’s no game on.
In addition to honouring Pelé at the club’s small museum, you can take an hour-long guided tour including the players’ bar and dressing rooms. Santos’s beaches are across town from Centro on the south side of the island. The beaches are huge, stretching around the Atlantic-facing Baía de Santos, and popular in summer.
Reach the Port
From Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (Cumbica):
Travelling by car, turn onto the SP-150 Anchieta Highway as you leave the airport and then on to the SP-160 Imigrantes Highway. Taxis and private cars are available to take you from the airport to Santos Cruise Terminal, a journey that takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes, depending on the traffic. There is also a bus service from the airport to Santos Cruise Terminal. The bus journey takes about 3.5 hours.
From Sao Paulo Congonhas Airport:
Travelling by car, turn onto the SP–150 Anchieta Highway as you leave the airport, and then on to the SP-160 Imigrantes Highway. Taxis and private cars are available to take you from the airport to Santos Cruise Terminal, a journey that takes about 1 hour, depending on the traffic. There is also a bus service from the airport to Santos Cruise Terminal. The bus journey takes about 1.5 hours.