Belém is a surprisingly rewarding city, with streets and parks shaded by mango trees, and a number of fascinating monuments and museums. The sloping central park is quiet during the week and bustling on weekends, when locals come out en masse for free performances and tasty street food. Nightlife tends toward the bohemian intellectual sort: art-house theaters, small music venues, heady cafe-bars. From Belém you can take overnight trips to Algodoal and Ilha de Marajó, both appealing coastal destinations, and it’s a logical launchpad for journeys up the Rio Amazonas (Amazon River). The Amazon is not known for its cities, and Belém can’t compete with places such as São Luis or Salvador for charm or urban flair. But given time to explore, most find Belém is not nearly as rough around the edges as they expected.