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Ready to fly to your next dream destination? Santa Maria is a gorgeous city in Brazil with so much to offer tourists. There’s a rich culture, exciting adventures and tons of possibilities for every traveler’s unique interests. Check out this guide to learn how to plan an upcoming trip to Santa Maria, Brazil, and ensure that you have a fantastic time.
When Should You Go?
Santa Maria is south of the equator, so the seasons and average temperatures differ from anywhere in North America or Europe. If you want to go when you can wear your favorite summer outfits and spend time under the sun, the warmest weather occurs from September to December and March to May.
Anyone traveling to the city outside of those months will find themselves dealing with chilly weather. Although it won’t snow, you’ll have to bring heavy winter jackets to deal with temperatures that drop to near freezing during the day’s peak.
Things to Do in Santa Maria, Brazil
What makes Santa Maria different than any other city you could choose for your next adventure? These are the most popular places to go and things to do while you’re in the area.
Explore the Cathedral of Santa Maria
A trip to Santa Maria isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic cathedral. Start your journey with a visit to the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Admire the intricate details of the church and learn about its historical significance.
Visit the Criadouro Conservacionista São Braz
Unlike boring destinations that lack a variety of entertainment, Santa Maria has family-friendly attractions like the Criadouro Conservacionista São Braz. It’s a sacred conservation site for animals to live and breed in harmony. Take your family on a self-led tour through the green acres filled with animals like monkeys, tigers and alligators. The fresh air and close proximity to magnificent animals will easily compete for the highlight of your trip.
Check Out the Treze de Maio Theater
If you’re driving through the city, you can’t miss the pink walls of the Treze de Maio Theater. It’s a two-story historic building that’s home to Santa Maria’s live music and theater performances. Stop by to learn which performers are in town while you visit and score front-row seats to the latest entertainment groups in Brazil.
Look Around the Praça Nova Mall
You may fly to Santa Maria to experience a new culture or host a destination wedding. Before your gorgeous outdoor ceremony with garden party vibes and finger food appetizers, why not take your friends shopping?
The Praça Nova Mall can become the site of a last-minute bachelor or bachelorette party. It houses over 160 stores within its walls and numerous restaurants. You’ll find everything from necessities accidentally left at home to the latest clothing trends. There’s also an arcade for anyone who wants to play a few video games while out in the city.
Tour the Musea de Arte Sacra de Santa Maria
When you step inside the Musea de Arte Sacra de Santa Maria, the cathedral ceilings with elaborate paintings will take your breath away. Anyone interested in art, history or Santa Maria’s culture will want to walk the halls of any exhibition. You’ll also find relics from the city’s long history that help tell the story of how it came to be.
Be aware that the museum is attached to a cathedral that still holds services at varying times of the week. Check their calendar in person or online to avoid walking into an active service or missing out on mass if you’d like to attend.
Hike a Local Trail
Cities are great places to learn something new and form lifelong memories, but you might want to spend more time in nature while you’re in Santa Maria. There are multiple parks within the city and hiking trails just beyond, so consider renting a car to see everything.
You could hike the Mangabeira Trail and pose for a picture on top of a waterfall. There’s also the Trilha Quedas Ibiá, which offers varying elevations to challenge your endurance. The fresh air and sightseeing will revitalize you after a long flight or days in the city. Spending more time outdoors will even improve your memory retention by activating different parts of your brain. Hiking is worth the trip, even if you only try a single trail or spend less than an afternoon outside.
Indulge in Brazilian Cuisine
This goes without saying, but Brazilian food is a must-try. Explore Santa Maria’s restaurants and street food stalls to enjoy traditional Brazilian dishes like feijoada, coxinha and churrasco. Remember to make a stop at one of the caipirinha stands to try the country’s national cocktail.
See the Gama d’Eca Teaching Museum
If you’re traveling with people who have very different interests, the Gama d’Eca Teaching Museum could be the best stop on your trip. It houses hallways of various artifacts, trinkets and animal displays. You’ll get up-close with rarely seen animals, insects, ancient fossils, and technology lost to time. There’s something fascinating for everyone to experience, so add this museum to your itinerary while you’re in the city.
Relax at the Itaara Dam
Take a short trip to the Itaara Dam, a picturesque reservoir surrounded by lush greenery. Enjoy a boat rude, go fishing or simply relax by the water. It’s a peaceful escape from the urban hustle and bustle.
Tips for Visiting Santa Maria
There are a few things everyone should know before traveling to Brazil. Read through these tips and your vacation in Santa Maria will become one of your favorites.
Learn Basic Portuguese Phrases
Portuguese is the official language in Brazil. While you may find some English speakers in tourist areas, it’s helpful to learn a few basic Portuguese phrases to navigate daily interactions and show respect for the local culture.
Check the Weather
Santa Maria has a subtropical climate with warm summers and mild winters. Check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. If you’re visiting during the summer months (December to February), be prepared for higher temperatures and occasional rainfall.
Take Safety Precautions
Santa Maria, like any other city, has its own safety considerations. Be cautious with your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Avoid displaying valuable items openly, and use reputable transport services. Check with locals or your accommodation for advice on safe areas and potential risks.
Convert Your Currency Early
When you’re planning a trip to a nearby city, you’re thinking about what you’ll pack in your suitcase and how much gas you’ll need for your road trip. Converting currency isn’t something people realize needs to happen at least a week before their trip if they’ve never traveled internationally.
Calculate how much money you’ll need to pay for things like lodging, food and entertainment with a virtual currency conversion calculator. You’ll need that number before heading over to your bank or credit union to request an exchange. They may charge a small fee, but it will be much less than last-minute options.
Airport stores or kiosks will charge higher exchange rates for currency conversion. They capitalize on people who are short on time and desperate for usable destination currency, so don’t fall for their costly rates. Call your bank to discuss their fees and compare your local options before leaving home.
Buy a Global SIM Card
SIM cards are the tiny chips in every phone. It stores your information so your phone carrier knows who’s paying your bill, what phone number you own and other data like your saved contacts. If you need to switch phones, transferring your SIM card will upload everything you need to start using the new model right away, but many won’t work outside of your home country.
Talk with your cell phone provider to discuss how much they charge for global SIM cards (GSCs). You’ll need one to stay connected to their coverage and stick with their international fees for minutes and texts. Without a GSC, you won’t be able to use your phone to stay in contact with people or get service.
Find a Charging Cord Adapter
Any charging cords you’ll need for electronics likely won’t work in Brazil. The country has a different set of standard power plugs and sockets. Travelers from the U.S. will have Type A or B plugs, but Brazil uses Type C and N that work with varying voltages. Charging cords with these types or a travel outlet adapter will save the day by keeping your electronics charged during your trip.
Enjoy Traveling to Santa Maria, Brazil
It’s time to start daydreaming about your upcoming vacation to Santa Maria, Brazil. Explore your lodging, transportation and entertainment options while planning for your basic needs. The extra planning will help you have a fantastic trip, no matter what you want to do while you’re away from home.
Updated in November 2023
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