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The tour agency in Belém with the best and largest variety of tours is Amazon Star Turismo, Rua Henrique Gurjão 236 (tel. 091/3241-8624; www.amazonstar.com.br). Valeverde Turismo, Estação das Docas, building 1 (tel. 091/3212-3388; www.valeverdeturismo.com.br), is another reputable agency, located at the upstream end of the Estação das Docas.

Boat Tours -- The most unique tour in Belém is the early-morning excursion to Parrot Island, a small semiflooded island a few kilometers offshore that is the bedroom of choice for hundreds of Amazonian parrots. Boats depart at 5am (4:30am hotel pickup) to arrive at the island in the gray predawn. As the sky lightens, the parrots awake. They squawk, circle around to find their mates, then fly away into the dawn. Afterward the tour explores the small side channels of islands in the estuary. Amazon Star does this tour particularly well. The price is R$100, hotel pickup and drop-off included (only Tues, Thurs, and Sat). For later risers, Amazon Star also has a half-day River Trip through the channels and creeks of Guamá River (a tributary of the Amazon), with a stop for a guided walk in the forest. Departures are 8:30am and 2:30pm; the R$90 fee includes pickup and drop-off.

A gorgeous evening option is Valeverde's 1 1/2-hour Sunset tour that departs at 5:30pm or the 8pm Lights of the City cruise, which departs nightly from the Estação das Docas and circles offshore of Belém, allowing passengers to observe as the lights come on in the city's historic churches and monuments. The price is R$45; cruises depart Tuesday through Sunday.

Bus Tours -- The trip to Icoaraci is highly recommended. Both Amazon Star and Valeverde offer morning and afternoon tours; they cost about R$90 per person for a 3-hour tour.

Hiking -- Highly recommended for those in reasonable physical condition are Amazon Star's trekking tours. The 1-day tour departs before sunrise, crossing the Guamá River to a jungle-covered section of the Amazon estuary around Boa Vista. There follows a full-day trek in the jungle, observing wildlife and visiting caboclo communities who make a living growing cassava and fishing. At the far end of the Acará River there's time for a rest and some swimming, followed by a sunset cruise back to Belém. Cost is R$300 per person, guide and lunch included (July-Dec only; only Tues, Thurs, and Sat).

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.