Fordlândia is a small historic town of 3,000 people (2017) on the east bank of the Tapajós River in Pará. It was founded by American industrialist Henry Ford to secure a source of cultivated rubber for his automobile manufacturing operations. The main attraction in Fordlândia is the remains left behind by the Ford Motor Company when it abandoned the plantation.
Henry Ford bought a large amount of land in the Amazon jungle in the late 1920s and attempted to cultivate rubber for use in the manufacturing of his cars. What makes Fordlândia interesting is that Ford tried to "export America" to the Amazon, forcing workers to work American hours, eat American food, etc. The project turned out to be a major failure, mainly due to the workers' resentment of the imposed lifestyle and to the forces of nature. Later on, the operation was moved to Belterra.
Boats leave Santarém from the Praça Tiradentes port from Monday to Saturday at 16:00 and on Sunday at 14:00. The trip takes 12 hours and costs R$45. Bringing a hammock is recommended if you don't want to pay extra for a cabin. Sometimes it's possible to rent a hammock from crew member, but don't depend on it for R$10, for example. There are good hammocks to buy around the port for as low as R$25-40, if you avoid expensive brands.
You'll arrive at around 04:00 the next morning and if you bought a hammock you can hang in it on the dock until sunrise. You also can go by different speedboats ("lanchas") at Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays at 13:00 for R$50. They leave around "Pontão de lancha" close to Praça Tiradentes and the trip will take 4-7 hours.
There is really a lot of transport options available, and the easiest is probably to show up at the port and ask around.
If you're coming from the south, boats leave Itaituba daily at 16:00 and take 4 hours to reach the town. A speedboat takes around 1 hour.
Buses leave to and from Itaituba.
There is just one road into Fordlândia. 4X4 is recommended in rainy season.
Small enough to walk around. There are also several mototaxis around.
- The most recognizable landmark in town is the 45-m-tall (150-foot) water tower. Ask the guard for permission to climb to the top for a great view.
- Vila America is about 2.3 km (1.5 miles) from the town center and contains several house from the Ford era, american fire plugs, remnants of a paved sidewalk, a beautiful alley, and an abandoned swimming pool among other things. As of 2017, all houses had inhabitants except one decayed house that was partly hidden by vegetation. The houses are crumbling, but previous travellers have noted that in abandoned ones you may still see old beds, bathtubs, sinks, etc. from the 1930s.
There is no organized tourist infrastructure in Forlândia, although there is sure potential for one such.
- Rent a motorbike. Rent a motorbike and see the rural surroundings of this village. Around 9 km from Fordlândia direction upriver is small settlement with a few workers housings from Ford that still are in a good condition.
- Interacting with the locals. People are friendly and most are eager to talk to foreigners. Hardly nobody speaks anything else than Portuguese though. It seems like some people in Fordlândia are a bit tired of talking about Ford. After all, what makes most tourists come to this place is what some American abandoned 70 years ago. This probably make today's residents there feel a bit overlooked. Showing some interest to the present people and situation could be wise, no matter what your main purpose of the visit is. Not everybody seemed happy to be in photos, so take proper care and be respectful when taking photos of people, ask first when possible.
- Mountains. Some of the nearby mountains have nice views
- Pousada Glaide (on the road straight from the dock.), ☏ . The rooms are quiet spacious and equipped with bathrooms, but most of them don't have windows. The price for a single room is R$50 and for a double R$70-80. In the double rooms a hammock can be fitted so that 3 persons can stay there for the same room rate. All rooms have AC and breakfast is included. R$23-50 p/p.
- Pousada Americana, ☏ . The fancier option in Fordlândia, just across the road from Pousada Glaide, and does everything in a similar way but fancier. All rooms have AC. R$100-120 p/p.
- doesn't seem to have a name (about 200 m up the main road from the dock). Includes a small breakfast. R$30 per room of up to three people..
- There are a few different internet cafés in Fordlândia, but the connection is rather slow usually.
- There are no ATMs, but in case of an emergency a motorcycle workshop features the places only equipment for paying with card, which can be used to extract small amounts of money.
Boats going upriver to Itaituba leave at around 04:00. Boats going downriver to Santarém leave at 20:00. Lanchas (speedboats) leave daily. It seems like they leave M-Sa at 15:00 and Su at 14:30. Ask a local when there to be sure. There are likely more more possibilities than this, boats where coming and going every now and then.
Apart from this, buses leave to Itaituba.