After the visit to the dunes in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, we finally had time to see São Luís (Sao Luis), and we weren’t sick anymore! Sao Luis de Maranhao is a fabulous colonial city between Belem and Fortazela on the country’s Atlantic coast.
Let’s check out what are the best things to do in Sao Luis Maranhao!
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The Best Things to Do in Sao Luis Brazil
There are numerous attractions that the city and its surrounding offers. The best ones are the followings:
- World Heritage city center – the old historical town with cobblestones & azulejo tiles
- Casa das Minas (in Brazilian: Querebentã de Tói Zomadônu or House of Minas), the oldest temple (terreiro), which must have been founded in São Luís in the 1840s, by African women.
- Reggae Museum: São Luís is known as the Brazilian capital of reggae,
- Lencois Maranhenses National Park
Interesting fact: Sao Luis is one of the three Brazilian state capitals located on islands. The others are Vitória and Florianópolis.
The Cutest World Heritage City Center: Cobblestone and Colorful Tiles
The city center is part of the UNESCO world heritage sites as the azulejo (tiles) walls and the cobblestone streets are unique remains from the Portuguese colonial times.
The Old Historical Town
We walked across the historical center through its old and narrow streets during the afternoon. It looked like most of the buildings are empty, and nobody lives in them. They are just nicely renovated, or some others were in less decent condition.
Sundays in Brazil: the Streets are Empty
It was again Sunday. You can imagine that almost everything was closed in the center city. We could still walk around as many other tourists did but compare to Belém. It was totally different. When we left the street where few coffee places were open, we didn’t see anyone. Everything was deserted.
A few corners away, we reached the part where people actually live. Doors and windows were open, kids playing on the street, elderly people playing games or watching TV. Finally, some life, but obviously, everyone was staring at us curiously what we are doing there.
Renovated Buildings at the Waterfront
We headed back to the more touristy part, and we’ve seen a crowd around one of the pretty buildings. It turned out it is a museum/governmental building (used to be a palace) and possible to visit it for free.
Beaches Next Door
The best beaches are in the north, but we didn’t make our way there due to the low tide. This was the view of the ‘sea’ next to the Old Town. Make sure you check the tide schedule before heading for a swim 🙂
Casa das Minas
Casa das Minas (in Brazilian: Querebentã de Tói Zomadônu or House of Minas), the oldest temple (terreiro), which must have been founded in São Luís in the 1840s, by African women.
Reggae Maranhao Museum
São Luís is known as the Brazilian capital of reggae.
The address of the Museum: R. da Estrela, 124 – Centro Histórico, São Luís – MA, 65010-200, Brasilia
Where to Stay in Sao Luis
We booked The Grand Sao Luis Hotel (with an outdoor warm swimming pool, yay!) near the historical center as we found a pretty neat deal. We really liked the luxury of the pool and our spacious room, and the buffet dinner was also delicious! Check their prices here!
Other options would have been accommodation near the beach on the northern side of the city, but we didn’t plan to spend all our time near the sea. I know there was a beach close by, but the water didn’t really seem welcoming on low-tide times. Next time we have to make sure we schedule our visit to the better beaches. We were eyeing this seaside hostel.
Trips from Sao Luis
The best place to visit from Sao Luis is the sand dunes of the Lencois Maranhenses National Park (more photos and tips). We spent three days, and it was one of the best places in Brazil we’ve been to!
Local Flavor: Guarana Cola
Karol was eager to try the local guarana ‘cola.’ It’s properly called Jesus Guaraná, named after its inventor (not after Jesus Christ). Guarana also has a significant amount of caffeine. The drink is pink and very sweet. It is overselling Coca-Cola in the region, but the brand currently is owned by that company anyway.
After trying the local specialty, it was time to leave the city. The bus station was only a few minutes’ by walk from our hotel. We went by city bus as close to the airport as possible and then had a short walk on a busy street. We had the time and the weather was perfect! We are on the way to RIO!!!!!!
About the Author
Katalin is a Lapland-based outdoor enthusiast who loves hiking, road-tripping, and traveling with her family. She spends her free time far away from civilization in one of the national parks around the world, explores off-the-beaten-path places, or hops on a road trip with her kids in an RV.
Read more about her adventures and the blog.