Brazil travel blog by Mark Berman -
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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
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
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
. 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,
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
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
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
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.