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Sao Luis, Brazil - Island Of Portuguese Tiled Buildings, Dunes & Beaches

Brazil travel blog by Mark Berman - March 2017   » View Photoset (83 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
My first impression of the historic center of Sao Luis was that it is a little derelict in parts, however in many ways this adds to it's interest
Brazil Photo - The area in the historic center with shops by day and bars and food by night, Sao Luis.
The area in the historic center with shops by day and bars and food by night, Sao Luis.
and charm. Sao Luis definitely has potential if it gets lifted out of it's current somewhat decaying state. A little more refurbishment around the city would be great! Sao Luis is a UNESCO World heritage site and is known as the 'City of Tiles' because of the Portuguese tile designs on many of the buildings. The area surrounding the historic center is gritty but the center itself has some nice areas around the cobblestone streets and some awesome arts and crafts shops around Rua Portugal (street).

Flight from Natal

Sao Luis was a special trip for me. I wasn't passing through on an overland journey. I flew from Natal. Brazil is so big and domestic flights are well-priced with companies like GOL and Azul. Having done much
Brazil Photo - Thin cobblestone street, streetlamp, old buildings and stairs in Sao Luis.
Thin cobblestone street, streetlamp, old buildings and stairs in Sao Luis.
overland travel in Brazil by road and river and with Sao Luis's location way up in the north-eastern corner of the country, it was a good place for me to fly in and out of on this occasion. I hope to explore this part of Brazil between Sao Luis and Natal by land in the future! I spent 4 nights here in Sao Luis, some of it resting after 2 weeks on the road up the coast from Salvador to Natal. After 4 days of resting and exploring the historic center of Sao Luis I flew south to Belo Horizonte!

Sao Luis Historical Center

Sights in the historical center of Sao Luis include Nossa Senhora do Carmo Church, the Museum of Sacred Art (also the tourist office), Igreja da Se (church), the streets around Plaza Valdelino Cecio, the Justice Palace,
Brazil Photo - A pair of attractive figures with long necks, blue and pink, Sao Luis arts and crafts.
A pair of attractive figures with long necks, blue and pink, Sao Luis arts and crafts.
Plaza Benedito Leite, the Palace of the Lions, Casa do Maranhao, around Plaza da Faustina, the market Feira da Praia Grande and of course the heart of the center around Rua Portugal street! Buildings with tiled facades, red tiled roofs, iron balconies are scattered throughout the cobblestone streets. Streetlamps make it all look a little smarter!

Rua Portugal (Street)

Rua Portugal (street) is where many arts and crafts shops reside in
Brazil Photo - Material and clothing with great designs and colors from the shops in Rua Portugal in Sao Luis.
Material and clothing with great designs and colors from the shops in Rua Portugal in Sao Luis.
the historic center of Sao Luis. They have many figures and dolls that represent the culture of the area with African and Reggae themes. Shops sell paintings depicting dancers and celebration. Womens clothes shops sell some very stylish outfits which are displayed on the many mannequins lining the street. Sometimes the mannequins blend in with the people walking past, so it looks kind of interesting and weird at the same time! These shops also sell hammocks and childrens clothing amongst other things.

Nightlife at Plaza Nauro Machado

Plaza Nauro Machado in the area with all the trees outside the Camara Municipal Building is the evening and night-time hotspot in the historic center of Sao Luis! There are some restaurants and bars here and plenty of tables and chairs
Brazil Photo - Male figurine with cowboy hat and holding a stick, arts and crafts cultural in Sao Luis.
Male figurine with cowboy hat and holding a stick, arts and crafts cultural in Sao Luis.
outside under the trees to sit, relax and have a beer. There may be some live music playing outside also. Now the best part! The best thing here is the streetfood, namely the Tapioca stalls! Oh yum, so yummy, absolutely delicious, my favourite cheese and ham! You have got to eat some of these babies! The crowd here at night is young, this is student central in the evenings. I enjoyed a couple of nights eating tapioca and having a drink at this spot!

Tours, Day Trips and Places Nearby

Tours and day trips from Sao Luis to nearby Sao Jose de Ribermar and Raposa are good options if you are looking to get out of the city. Both places are only about 30kms from Sao Luis. Raposa is a fishing community and has sand dunes, deserted beaches and woven
Brazil Photo - Woman in green with colorful beads in her hair, figurines for sale in Sao Luis.
Woman in green with colorful beads in her hair, figurines for sale in Sao Luis.
handicrafts for sale. Sao Jose de Ribermar is an indigenous village with a famous monument. Alcantara is an hour or so by boat across the waters of Sao Marcos Bay, it is an old historic town in a similar state of decay as Sao Luis. Barreirinhas and lagoons Azul, Bonita and Esperanca are over 250kms from Sao Luis southward, obviously this is not a day trip but a destination in itself. In and around Barreirinhas we are talking, sun, swimming, sand dunes, relaxing and fun! Canto do Atins and Cabure are near Barreirinhas and are similar but on the coast. Other places in this area include Cabure, Cardosa and Sobrevoo. Between Sao Luis and Fortaleza is the beautiful beach resort town of Jericoacoara - sand dunes, lagoons and the National Park.

What Does Derelict Mean To You?

What does derelict mean to you? Is it beautiful or is it not? I find beauty in an aged, crumbling and rusty old building! Every city has it's share.


     

View all photos in the Sao Luis Photoset


Itineraries / Routes: 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008



Distances & times (if available) from Sao Luis (Brazil) to:


Map location: Sao Luis, Brazil. Sao Luis is a UNESCO World heritage site and is known as the 'City of Tiles' because of the Portuguese tile designs on many of the buildings. The area surrounding the historic center is gritty but the center itself has some nice areas around the cobblestone streets and some awesome arts and crafts shops around Rua Portugal (street).
 A : Olinda - Brazil 1205 kms 1205 kms straight distance
 B : Penedo and Neopolis - Brazil 1211 kms 1211 kms straight distance
 C : Cayenne, French Guiana 1216 kms 1216 kms straight distance
 D : Recife - Brazil 1191 kms 1191 kms straight distance
 E : Santarem - Brazil 1160 kms 1160 kms straight distance
 F : Joao Pessoa - Brazil 1156 kms 1156 kms straight distance
 G : Pipa Beach - Brazil 1104 kms 1104 kms straight distance
 H : St Georges / Oiapoque Border - French Guiana / Brazil 1098 kms 1098 kms straight distance
 I : Ponta Negra Beach / Natal - Brazil 1064 kms 1064 kms straight distance
 J : Oiapoque - Brazil 1096 kms 1096 kms straight distance
 K : Santarem to Belem (Amazon River) - Brazil 880 kms 880 kms straight distance
 L : Macapa - Brazil 843 kms 843 kms straight distance
 M : Macapa to Oiapoque - Brazil 860 kms 860 kms straight distance
 N : Belem to Macapa (Amazon River) - Brazil 691 kms 691 kms straight distance
 O : Belem - Brazil 476 kms 476 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Sao Luis, Brazil:

Hotel Pousada Colonial, Sao Luis, Brazil - Large Photo
Hotel Pousada Colonial, Sao Luis, Brazil (March 2017 - 3 nights) - Slightly over-priced at $90 Reals but pretty good, nothing to complain about! Located around the historical center. Rooms with bathroom, aircon, tv and wifi. Breakfast served in the morning was pretty nice too! Balconies overlooking the cobblestone street below. You could do a lot worse in Sao Luis! Recommended.
Hotel Renascer Do Sol, Sao Luis, Brazil - Large Photo
Hotel Renascer Do Sol, Sao Luis, Brazil (March 2017 - 1 night) - No, don't do it! Even if the $60 Reals price tag is enticing, lowered to $50 Reals for me because I arrived after midnight. Horrible old rooms, not very clean, bedding and pillow cases weren't clean so I lay the sheet over the whole lot and slept on that. Rolled out of bed in the morning, bypassed breakfast and went to look for another place which I found just around the corner. Thanks, but no thanks.

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Sao Luis, Brazil - Island Of Portuguese Tiled Buildings, Dunes & Beaches. Sao Luis is a UNESCO World heritage site and is known as the 'City of Tiles' because of the Portuguese tile designs on many of the buildings. The area surrounding the historic center is gritty but the center itself has some nice areas around the cobblestone streets and some awesome arts and crafts shops around Rua Portugal (street).

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