How did we get there?
We bought our tickets through a Brazilian travel service in NY called BACC.
From home, we took a plain old yellow cab to JFK.
TAM took us from NYC to Santarém, but with a stop in São Paulo and Manaus. It is a loooong 23-hour trip!
We had a driver set to pick us up in Santarém but the airport is so small and welcoming that we could have easily and safely jumped into any cab just outside of the building.
From Santarém airport to our local destination, Alter do Chão, was another hour. It would have been a bit short except that we stopped at a small market on the way to pick up some drinking water and a couple of things I love to get in any new location: local shampoo and toothpaste for some.
Where did we stay?
When we were not sleeping by boat, we stayed in a rented house in a small village called Alter do Chão.
Benefits to staying at a home: most places offer or include maids who can also cook if you give them extra money. That beats eating in restaurants in town.