The City of São Luís






Founded by French, invaded by Dutch, conquered and colonized by Portuguese, São Luís is located in the Upaon-Açu ("Great Island" in the indigenous language tupi). It was founded in 1612, with a homage name to the contemporary french king Luis XIII, but it’s marked by the Portuguese tiles and colonial houses, that color the Historical Center of the city, a World Heritage of UNESCO. There we can appreciate colonial buildings converted into bars, restaurants, museums, cultural centers or administrative buildings. We can also enjoy monuments, churches, squares among other places, like Fonte do Ribeirão and the surroundings of Praia Grande. There, the Cais da Sagração may take you in a tour to Alcântara, a continental villa where we can see a lot of colonial buildings, some museums and baroque colonial churches.

São Luís culture is characterized by a great fusion of african, european and indigenous elements. From this miscegenation, its traditional music includes Bumba-Meu-Boi, Cacuriá and Tambor de Crioula (this a Brazilian Immaterial Heritage, recognized by the national government). The reggae is also very popular and appreciated over the city, explaining why São Luís is called "Brazilian Jamaica". Local culinary is full of sea food dishes (crabs, shrimps and fishes). All these dishes can be tasted in the Historical Center or at the restaurants of the modern part of the city, that accounts for a beautiful maritime edge of São Marcos Bay. Beyond local tourism, São Luís is check point for tourists in search of the Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses, that stands in east litoral of Maranhão State. The park is a singular complex of dunes, lakes and tropical oasis, at the edge of Rio Preguiça. So, it is a unique region for its landscape and geomorphology. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the receptive tropical heat!


Further information: