The former prison "Sao Jose Liberto" is now a relaxed place with a small gem museum (free entry), jewelery workshops, jewelery shops and some stands with really nice local crafts.
It has no touristic (=high) prices, is totally relaxed (contrary to the shopping malls), and has an atmosphere in the best of taste.
What to buy: jewelery
What to pay: absolutely fair prices
A large crafts fair that has the city's biggest range of attractive artwork is located on Praca da Republica from Friday to Sunday.
There are also several stalls offering local dishes, cakes (usually made of various local fruits) and other sweets and coconut vendors.
What to buy: You can find everything from Marajo and Tapajo pottery, objects of jute and tururi straw (rugs, purses, bags, tablecloths, hats, rag dolls), necklaces, bracelets and earings made of different seeds (most frequently acai) and coconut shell.
What to pay: from a couple of euros onwards
Chamma da Amazonia is a beautiful shop that presents delights and misteries from Brazilian Amazon. Theirs products are of good quality, ecologically correct and assure customers physical and spiritual pleasure.
They blends flowers, fruits, herbs, roots, seeds that the nature discard and are collected by experts of florestry, vegetal oils and essences from the region, to produce their perfumes, shampoos, soaps, oils, fragrances, necklaces, bracelets, earings and packagings. The company respect and preserve nature because they care deeply about it.
There are two more shops in Belem, one at the airport and the other in Shopping Iguatemi.
What to buy: parfumes, cosmetic products, ethnic jewellery, ceramics, all made from natural materials found in the Amazon
What to pay: products are a little pricy but they're worth it
Virtually the sole advantage of Shopping Iguatemi is its location. Unlike its namesake in Salvador -- or Shopping Center Recife or Shopping Amazonas in Manaus -- Iguatemi is in the center of town.
But it's much smaller than any of those three (or the big two in Rio de Janeiro).
The nicest feature is a cybercafe with internet access at only R$2 an hour. It's on the top floor, above the fast food court (and through a video games arcade).
What to buy: The main reason I went to Shopping Iguatemi was to visit a gallery said to have high-class reproductions of native sculpture. It was, unfortunately, out of business.