Santos, the gateway to the Brazilian capital of São Paulo, has long been nicknamed "the coffee port." Although no coffee (except for a few trees shows) actually grows in Santos, the city is synonymous with the bean and ties its history to the growth of Brazil's coffee trade. In the mid-nineteenth century, coffee production exploded in the countryside around Santos and São Paulo, supported first by millions of slaves and then by the end of the century by European immigrant workers.

For 150 years, Brazil has been the world's largest coffee producer (arabica and robusta are the dominant varieties) and grows about a third of the world's crop. Santos is Latin America's busiest port, accounting for 25 percent of the country's exports. Home to 400,000 residents, Santos welcomes more than four million visitors a year, with 1.3 million of those arriving by cruise ship. Visitors find wide tree-lined boulevards and the world's longest beach garden. Santos is also synonymous with soccer great Pele, and the stadium where he played is one of the city's notable attractions. Santos also holds a world record for the tallest cemetery. The city enjoys a tropical rainforest climate with warm temperatures throughout the year, although the summer months (December through March) draw the most visitors.