Sítio do Físico (@sitio_do_fisico) is an ecomuseum located in the Itaqui-Bacanga region. The site housed the first industry in the region and its ruins are among the most precious archaeological sites in Brazil, listed in 1980 by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN).
The site was essential for local economic development and developed activities such as rice planting, leather and wax manufacturing throughout its history. It became popularly known as Sítio do Físico due to its first owner, Antônio José da Silva Pereira, a physicist who was part of the Captaincy General of Maranhão.
Its construction, dating from the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 19th century, consists of a large house and structures such as furnaces, tanks, wells, warehouses, docks, laboratory, ramps, roofs and pipes with a distribution box for the tanks.
The Sítio do Físico is located in the Bacanga State Park and is open to visitors from 8am to 4pm, every day.
SÍTIO DO PIRANHENGA
Sítio Piranhenga, located in Parque Pindorama, in São Luís, is more than a simple tourist attraction. It is an immersion in the past, a unique experience that transports visitors to more than two centuries ago, revealing the history and culture preserved in every corner of this time-marked place.
With an area of approximately 34 hectares, Sítio Piranhenga is made up of different environments that portray the dynamics of rural life on old Brazilian farms. The 18th century mansion and slave quarters are living testaments to the hard work of the slave hands who built this place more than 200 years ago.
In the lower part of the site, visitors come across the old slave quarters. Next door, two caieiras tell the story of lime production from sarnambi bark, a process full of tradition and technique that was widely used in construction at that time.
The climb up the 96-step staircase covered with Portuguese and French tiles reveals peculiar curiosities. The “loveseats”, small benches where only white people could sit at the time, tell silent stories about society at the time.
The large house, inhabited by the former owners, slave owners, preserves its original architecture, but not without modifications over the years. Every detail of the mansion’s structure tells a story about the taste and art of the time. Next door, a chapel with a wealth of architectural details and relief tiles on the internal walls of the oratory, a material expression of religiosity in the homes of Colonial Brazil.
Visits to Sítio Piranhenga are open from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 12pm and from 1:30pm to 5pm, and on Saturdays, from 8am to 12pm. Visitors have the opportunity to explore this historic setting for an access fee. Visits are scheduled, providing a more personalized experience.
Sítio Piranhenga is maintained by the Maranhão Professionalizing Center (Cepromar), a non-governmental organization that not only manages and preserves the heritage, but also promotes free professional training courses, contributing to the local community.
The place is a unique opportunity for those who want to take wedding or graduation photographs, standing out among the walls full of history. For more information and appointments, contact (98) 98144-6853 and immerse yourself in a journey through time at Sítio Piranhenga, where every stone tells a story and every corner reveals the cultural richness of Maranhão.
Discovering these two sites is a journey into the industrial past of São Luís, marked by a history of enslaved black people, in the middle of a conservation unit. There are nautical tours that pass through the sites, in addition to enjoying nature in the middle of Lake Bacanga (@passeioshistoricos.slz).
A unique experience awaits you at the museums of São Luís, where each cultural equipment tells a story and each visit is a fascinating journey through the cultural heritage of this charming city.
From colonial mansions to modern cultural spaces, witness the city’s transformation over the centuries through captivating exhibitions that reveal the past and illuminate the present.
Check out the museums available to visit and embark on this journey through the history and culture of São Luís:
Maranhão Gastronomy Museum
Opened in 2019, the Gastronomy Museum (@museudagastronomiamaranhense) operates in a 19th century townhouse, in the Praia Grande neighborhood (Historic Center). It is a piece of equipment that houses a fixed exhibition aimed at valuing and promoting the knowledge and practices of Maranhão gastronomy.
In this museum, visitors have the opportunity to take a tour, getting in touch with the influences, the history of local cuisine and the delicacies that make up a universe of unique flavors. In this space, in addition to handicrafts, visitors will discover some traditional drinks such as tiquira (cassava cachaça), cachaças flavored with fruits, herbs and seafood, guaraná Jesus and liqueurs made from typical regional fruits (cupuaçu, bacuri, murici, juçara, genipapo). The festivities of São Luís such as Bumba-meu-boi, Casinha da Roça and the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo de Alcântara are highlighted in the museum, as linked to the festivities is the characteristic commensality of each celebration.
Installed in a strategic location in the Historic Center, at Rua da Estrela, n° 82, the Museu das Gastronomia Maranhense also functions as a professional training center, at the same time as it hosts temporary exhibitions and carries out projects such as ‘A night at the Museum’ , ‘Segunda Cultural’, among others.
At the Gastronomy Museum, visitors can also have in-person access to the services of the Tourist Assistance Center (CAT).
Museum of Sacred Art
The Museum of Sacred Art of Maranhão (@museudeartesacrama) is located on the second floor of the Palácio Episcopal de São Luís, in Praça Pedro II in the Historic Center and brings together in its collection works of sacred art and objects from the 18th to the 20th century, which help to trace the process back to the history of Maranhão through the history of the Catholic Church.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 5:30pm. Saturday, from 9am to 5pm. Free entrance.
Public Archive of the State of Maranhão (APEM)
It houses the largest documentary collection in Maranhão, including public and private documents of public and social interest, from the colonial to the republican periods, including documents, maps, plans, discs and microfilms.
The Public Archive of the State of Maranhão @arquivopúblicoma is located at Rua de Nazaré, no. 218, in the Historic Center of São Luís.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm. Free entrance.
Museum of Natural History and Archeology
This Museum operates at the Maranhão Natural History and Archeology Research Center. In it, the visitor experiences a journey through the prehistory and pre-colonization period of the city to the present day. Its collection contains archaeological, paleontological and cultural assets from the ethnic groups that gave rise to the people of Maranhão.
The Museum of Natural History and Archeology is located on Rua do Giz in the Historic Center, open to free visitors where tourists are introduced to three available thematic exhibitions.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 8am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm. Free entrance.
Considered the first reggae themed museum outside of Jamaica, it has been operating since 2018 with a wide collection of the musical genre and the history of the rhythm in São Luís and the world. During the tour, visitors can listen to playlists, see some relics and play stereos, as well as records, photos, magazines and newspapers in a true timeline.
The Reggae Museum (@museudoreggae) is located in the Historic Center of São Luís, at Rua da Estrela, n° 124.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 8pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance.
Museum of Visual Arts
The Visual Arts Museum (@museudeartesvisuais) is located on Rua Portugal in the Historic Center in an imposing building with a facade covered in Portuguese tiles and balconies from where you can observe a privileged view of Praia Grande.
With three floors and a viewpoint, the Visual Arts Museum brings together a library and a collection of paintings, engravings, drawings and sculptures by plastic artists from Maranhão and national artists.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance.
Maria Aragão Memorial
It is part of the Praça Maria Aragão complex, one of the largest public spaces in São Luís, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. It brings together the collection of an exhibition in honor of the Maranhão doctor and political activist Maria Aragão.
When visiting this facility, visitors can see documents, photographs, books and personal objects belonging to the illustrious Maranhão woman recognized for her struggles against the military regime in the 1960s.
Historical and Artistic Museum of Maranhão (MHAM)
It is a historic property of architectural value developed over two floors and a gazebo, constituting one of the most beautiful examples of manors in São Luís.
Built in 1836, the MHAM (@museuhistoricoeartistico) has a “U” shaped plan, which gives rise to an internal courtyard with a well. The façade, in colonial style, features a neoclassical doorway with volutes and a triangular pediment. Inside, visitors have access to a permanent collection that presents a proposal to reconstruct a residential house belonging to Maranhão’s elite from the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 2pm to 5:30pm. Free entrance.
At Casa de Nhozinho (@casadenhozinho) visitors came into contact with the popular culture of Maranhão. It is a space that brings together a wide range of exhibits, from miniatures to artifacts, indigenous pieces, net looms, ceramic vases, buriti tablecloths, popular dolls and much more.
Located at Rua Portugal, no. 185 in Praia Grande, Casa de Nhozinho occupies a historic mansion and its name is a direct tribute to the Maranhão artisan Antônio Bruno Nogueira, known as Nhozinho.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance.
Palace of Lions
Headquarters of the Government of the State of Maranhão and official residence of the Governor, the building with a neoclassical main facade, two floors and rectangular in shape, occupies an area of three thousand square meters. The site dates back to the founding of São Luís in 1612. It was where the French built the first fortification of the future urban nucleus. At the back of the Palace, there is a palm tree garden that overlooks the bay of São Marcos.
At the entrance to the Palácio dos Leões, two bronze sculptures greet visitors. Visiting the place is like taking a trip back in time, exploring the history and culture of Maranhão. Each room and corridor in this building holds secrets and stories to be uncovered. A visit to Palácio dos Leões is an opportunity to delve into the cultural and historical richness of this city, which is unique in Brazil.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance.
Cristo Rei Palace
The Cristo Rei Palace houses the memorial of the Federal University of Maranhão (UFMA). Located in Largo dos Amores, in front of Praça Gonçalves Dias in the center of São Luís, this building has an architecture that dates back to the 19th century, having been the home of nobles, a Jesuit school and the seat of the Archbishopric of Maranhão.
Predominantly neoclassical in style, the place impresses with the architectural aspects printed in its corridors, rooms, staircase, garden, gazebo and all its details. It has an extensive historical collection of the Federal University of Maranhão, made up of paintings, photos, objects and clothing that help tell the story of this important educational institution in Maranhão.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm. Free entrance.
Built in 1654 and listed as a National Historic Site, the former Convento das Mercês is a place with a fascinating history that deserves to be explored and appreciated by everyone who visits São Luís.
Its construction began when the Mercedarians, coming from the city of Belém (Pará), joined forces with the friars to build the convent’s first structure in mud covered with straw. Soon, they built the main chapel in stone and lime, which today is one of the most notable attractions of the place.
The Convento das Mercês witnessed the Independence of Brazil in 1822. In the 19th century, the convent underwent interventions that transformed it into the headquarters of the Minor Seminary.
In 1905, the site was transformed into the Military Police and Fire Department barracks, which remained there until the 1980s. Between 1987 and 1990, original elements of the structure were restored, revealing the original arches and the well. It was during this restoration that the foundations of the demolished church were discovered.
Currently, the physical space of the Convent houses the Fundação da Memória Republicana Brasileira (@fmrb.ma).
Located on Rua Jacinto Maia, in the Desterro neighborhood (Historic Center), the Convento das Mercês has around four thousand works of art, including paintings, sculptures, decorative objects and pieces of sacred art. The Padre Antônio Vieira Library has an incredible bibliographic collection, with 23,733 volumes, including 3,217 rare works, with emphasis on texts by Father Antônio Vieira.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 8am to 5pm. Saturday, from 9am to 5pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance.
Cafua das Mercês
Cafua das Mercês (@cafua.ma) is an equipment that aims to recognize cultural diversity and value the African cultural matrix in Maranhão.
It operates in a two-story house on Rua Jacinto Maia in Praia Grande (Historic Center), built in the mid-18th century, a place that housed a black slave market during the colonial period. It houses a collection relating to the history and memory of slavery and made up of religious cult objects such as figurines, gourds, pipes, drums and photographs of mothers and children of saints from the House of Nagô and Mina. There are also torture instruments used during the slavery period.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm. Free entrance.
Domingos Vieira da Silva Culture Center (Casa da Festa)
The origin of the place is linked to the creation of the Maranhão Cultural Foundation, in 1971. The Folklore Library and the Folklore and Popular Art Museum once operated there. Installed in a three-story house on Rua do Giz (Historic Center), the collection of the Centro de Cultura Popular Domingos Vieira Filho brings together collections on the different manifestations of popular culture in Maranhão, such as Bumba Meu Boi, Festa do Divino, Carnival, Afro religions -Brazilian dances and the diversity of indigenous crafts.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 9am to 6pm. Free entrance.
Casa do Maranhão Culture Center
Designed as a space to host a permanent exhibition on local culture, Casa do Maranhão (@casa_do_maranhao) is located in the Historic Center and when visiting it, tourists have the opportunity to come into contact with a diverse collection containing history, legends , natural beauty, gastronomy and religious festivals in Maranhão.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance.
Vale Cultural Center
The Centro Cultural Vale Maranhão (CCVM) is a diverse and dynamic cultural center with a program that includes different artistic languages and is the stage for popular culture presentations, performing arts and dance shows, workshops, courses and film shows and festivals.
The Vale Maranhão Cultural Center is located on Rua Direita, in the Praia Grande neighborhood (Historic Center) and is free to visit. It is maintained by the Vale Cultural Institute, through the Federal Culture Incentive Law.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 7pm, except holidays.
Maranhão Railway and Port Museum
It is part of the REFFSA Cultural and Technological Complex, the city’s former railway station. It brings together a railway and port museum, as well as a series of attractions for visitors. It is located on Avenida Beira-Mar, one of the city’s most beautiful postcards.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entry. More information about the Maranhão Railway and Port Museum can be found on the social media profile: reffsa.ma
Casa do Tambor de Crioula Museum
Installed as a reference center for cultural safeguarding of the Tambor de Crioula, this museum is housed in a two-story mansion in the Historic Center of São Luís. There, visitors have the opportunity to see an exhibition that goes back to the universe of the typically Maranhão manifestation. , through ceramics, panels, murals, images of Saint Benedict who is the saint of the Catholic Church to whom the dance is devoted, as well as drums, artifacts and images that present the experience of Tambor de Crioula.
The Casa do Tambor de Crioula Museum is located on the corner of Rua da Estrela and Rua João Vital de Matos, in Praia Grande.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm. Sunday, from 9am to 1pm. Free entrance. More information, as well as the schedule of activities that the Museu Casa do Tambor de Crioula carries out, can be found on the social media profile: casotambor
Huguenot House of Culture Museum Daniel de La Touche
The Casa de Cultura Huguenot Daniel de La Touche is an art and culture museum that preserves the history of the French foundation of São Luís, located on Rua Djalma Dutra in the Praia Grande neighborhood – Historic Center of São Luís.
With a diverse collection, it displays artifacts of Portuguese origin, photographs, as well as a set of cultural assets recorded in books and pieces of weak-Protestant origin dating from the 16th century. It also has an exclusive exhibition that recovers the cultural matrix of the Brazilian indigenous peoples who lived in these lands at the time of the discovery of Brazil and the founding of São Luís.
More information and opening hours, as well as the schedule of activities that the Casa de Cultura Huguenot Daniel de La Touche Museum carries out, can be found on the social media profile: casadeculturahuguenote.
Audiovisual Memory Museum of Maranhão
Located in the Desterro neighborhood, the Maranhão Audiovisual Memory Museum’s main objective is to preserve the state’s audiovisual history.
It stores and displays a collection made up of artistic, cultural and social manifestations, graphic, sound and visual material of interest to the memory of Maranhão. There are films, documentaries, photos (in digital format), tapes, records, radio recordings, TV recordings and other video and audio materials of the most varied genres.
More information and opening hours, as well as the schedule of activities that the Casa de Cultura Huguenot Daniel de La Touche Museum carries out, can be found on the social media profile: casadeculturahuguenote. Some of MAVAN’s productions can be seen on the institution’s channel: TV Mavan.
Gentil Braga Palace
With almost 200 years of existence, Palacete Gentil Braga was and continues to be the stage for meetings of artists and intellectuals from Maranhão.
The building has a facade covered in 19th century Portuguese tiles, consisting of a floor, a high basement and a tower observation deck. It presents characteristics of colonial architecture with neoclassical ornamental elements and neo-Gothic pointed arches.
It is located on Rua Grande, home to the largest shopping center in Maranhão and is managed by the Federal University of Maranhão (UFMA), which regularly carries out various extension activities open to the community. More information, as well as the schedule of activities that Palacete Gentil Braga performs, can be seen on the social media profile: cultura.ufma
Explore the fascinating Historical Center of São Luís in a row of churches in the city, true secular treasures that testify to the grandeur of history and faith that shape the Maranhense capital.
Open to visits throughout the entire year, we invite you to embark on this religious experience to the secular churches of São Luís, where sacred beauty, architecture and history meet, inviting visitors to discover the soul of Brazil’s unique destination.
Igreja da Sé (cathedral)
Also known as the Cathedral of Nossa Senhora da Vitória, godfather of São Luís, the Igreja da Sé (@catedraldasesaoluisma) houses the Arcebispado do Maranhão. Located in Praça Pedro II in the Historic Center, this church is a unique example of the architecture of the Brazilian Colony, despite the countless reforms that have passed.
Its initial building was inaugurated in 1622. The Cathedral is named after the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) and has as a highlight the altar-mor, of the 18th century, which is considered a treasure of Brazilian Baroque art.
Nossa Senhora do Carmo Church
This church was founded by Carmelite fathers and is part of the Carmo Convent, whose construction dates back to 1627. Located in the Center of São Luís, it has a long history that was the stage for important events in the city in different contexts for two centuries. Currently, Largo do Carmo together with the Church (@igrejadocarmoslz) integrates two more beautiful cartões postais from the capital.
After depredations by Dutch invaders in 1640, the Convento da Igreja do Carmo sheltered various organizations, including the Corpo de Artilharia and the Corpo de Polícia. It operates in the regular classrooms of primary and secondary education, the first public library of Maranhão and the first headquarters of the Liceu Maranhense.
A possui baroque style church, with a symmetrical façade. It has two side towers with simple lines and between them, a classic triangular front. In the center of the facade, there are three doors with a balcony and below them, at the main entrance of the church.
São José do Desterro Church
The São José do Desterro Church (@igrejadodesterroslzma) is one of the oldest in São Luís and has traces of Byzantine and neoclassical style architecture, with its first construction dating back to around 1618.
In 1641 it was looted by the Dutch army, taking with it sacred pieces of gold and silver. Over the centuries it underwent several works and reconstructions. It is in the Desterro neighborhood, in the Historic Center, close to the old Convento das Mercês.
Church of Saint Anthony
Considered one of the main religious buildings in the city, the Church (@igrejasantoantonio_slz) is part of a historic complex of the Convent of Santo Antônio, and is located in Praça Antônio Lobo, in the Historic Center of São Luís.
The Church and its convent have in their history their participation in several historical moments in the capital, having already served as a shelter for politically persecuted people and even as a political barracks.
The building has a chapel and a main altar in neoclassical styles. It has a square outside where a festival is set up every year in June. The Church and its convent have a history of participating in several historical moments in the capital, having already served as a shelter for politically persecuted people and even as a police barracks.
Our Lady of Remedies Church
The Remédios Church is the only one in São Luís built in the neo-Gothic style. It has a single bell tower, in the center, with a quadrangular base and two openings on each side. At the top of the tower there is an octagonal pyramid on which an iron cross rises. The side facades are topped by iron crosses flanked by statues of the evangelists: Luke, John, Matthew and Mark positioned since 1907. The stained glass windows that adorn the church are German, from the 20th century. The interior has three altars, the main one being made of marble.
Located in front of Praça Gonçalves Dias (Largo dos Amores) and close to Praça Maria Aragão, the Igreja dos Remédios holds an annual celebration in honor of Nossa Senhora do Remédios, considered the patron saint of merchants.
St. John’s Church
Located at the intersection between Rua de São João and Rua da Paz, in the center of São Luís, the Church of São João (@paroquiasaojoaobatistaslz) was built in 1665.
Predominantly neoclassical in style, this church has in its architecture inscriptions and forms resulting from the repeated renovations it has undergone over the last few centuries. It housed the tomb of Joaquim Silvério dos Reis, a traitor to the Inconfidência Mineira who died in 1819.
Church of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks
Having its construction started in the middle of the 18th century, the Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos Church is part of a group of Brazilian churches built by brotherhoods that sought the inclusion of black people in society, since they could not at that time attend some religious spaces.
Located on Rua do Egypt, in the Historic Center, this is a building listed as a heritage site by IPHAN. In Baroque style, it has a facade made up of two towers. Inside, there are oratories and walls covered in Portuguese tiles.
Saint Pantaleon Church
Located on Rua São Pantaleão, this church had its foundation stone laid in 1780. In 1817 it was opened to the faithful. In 1829, he embraced a social project aimed at welcoming newborns born to single mothers who were unable to raise them.
With a simple and symmetrical facade, the church has three central windows and two side towers. The altar consists of a curtain with a concrete table and a metal tabernacle topped by a wooden cross. The choir is made of wood and protected by an iron grille. The internal walls are covered with industrial tiles.
Located on Rua de Santana, between Antônio Rayol and da Cruz streets in the center of São Luís, this church began to be built in 1784.
Its architecture features neoclassical and baroque decorative elements. It has tile panels identical to those in the Church of Our Lady of Flowers in Italy.
Chapel of São José das Laranjeiras
It was built at the beginning of the 19th century by the Portuguese José Gonçalves da Silva, owner of Quinta das Laranjeiras and one of the most prosperous traders of the colonial period in São Luís.
Located on Rua Grande in the Historic Center, the chapel keeps in its internal structure the marks of economic opulence of Maranhão in the 19th century, mixing neoclassical and rococo style elements.
Discover everything you can only find in São Luís do Maranhão.
São Luís is a very diverse city when it comes to experiences you can have, some of which come in the form of flavors that you will only find here. We have separated some of them for you to know:
Ice cream cone
One of the most memorable experiences you can have in São Luís is to taste a delicious ice cream cone in the flavors of coconut, passion fruit, cupuaçu or bacuri. These exotic flavors are sold in the charming streets of the Historic Center and on the beaches, and will transport your taste buds on a unique journey. The freshness of local ingredients and the skill of local vendors transform every bite into an explosion of tropical flavors. Not to mention the way it is prepared.
Juçara with dried shrimp and flour
Juçara, as it is called in Maranhão, or açaí, as it is known in the rest of the country, is a delicacy that is part of the Maranhão cuisine menu. In São Luís, the delicacy can be found in several places, but it is at Mercado das Tulhas, located in the Historic Center of the capital of Maranhão, that it can be best enjoyed or at the Juçara Festival in the Maracanã neighborhood in the month of October.
Heritage of indigenous ancestry, the delicacy is one of the greatest legacies that Brazil has, and which is rooted in the gastronomic culture of Maranhão. In São Luís, beiju or tapioca as it is known in the rest of the country, is based on cassava dough and can be consumed in fairs, markets and bakeries accompanied with coconut or other flavors such as cheese, bacon, sun-dried meat, fresh shrimp or just with butter.
Its preparation brings the influence of indigenous peoples, originating from cauim, a fermented cassava product. With the arrival of Europeans in Brazil, distillation techniques were introduced, transforming cauim into tiquira. The drink is also notable for its purple color and robust flavor, due to its high alcohol content. The history of the drink is also enriched with legends, the most famous of which warns consumers not to take a bath after four doses, at the risk of memory loss. Tiquira, a traditional drink from Maranhão, won the title of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the State.
Maranhão cuisine is a true mosaic of flavors and traditions, and a dish that shines with authenticity and flavor is ‘Arroz de Cuxá’. Originally from the state of Maranhão, this gastronomic dish reflects the state’s rich cultural heritage. The base of the dish is rice, which is cooked until soft and flavorful. The key ingredient that gives Arroz de Cuxá its flavor is vinegar, a typical plant from Africa. Its leaves are harvested and processed to create a green sauce creating a combination of flavors that is both refreshing and spicy. In addition to the vinegar, Arroz de Cuxá contains dried shrimp, toasted sesame seeds, sweet pepper and other local seasonings, which add layers of complexity and irresistible aromas to the preparation. It’s an example of how local ingredients can be transformed into something truly special.
Sururu with coconut milk
Ingredients from the sea are widely used in cuisine on the coast of Maranhão, and sururu is no different. Mollusk meat is very tasty and has a high nutritional value, being rich in minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, iron and iodine, vitamins and protein. The sururu can be found in mangroves that are bathed by freshwater rivers or estuaries in the municipalities that make up the Island. In São Luís, the delicacy can be consumed in fairs, markets and restaurants, and is generally prepared with coconut milk.
Dona Corina’s homemade lollipops
Caramelized, rolled in baking paper, lollipops are generally sold on boards with holes in the streets of the historic center of São Luís. Lollipops have a ‘childhood taste’ for many Maranhão residents, and became popular through Mrs. Corina Serra da Silva Martins , born in Itapecuru (MA), who started producing them by hand with his daughter to survive. Made with natural products, the flavors are varied, among the favorites are passion fruit and ginger.
Anyone who tries the hot dog produced in São Luís immediately notices the difference in the ingredients used here and in other locations. Mounted on bread, the traditional São Luís hot dog has ground meat as one of its main ingredients.
An island. Many flavors
Anyone who arrives in São Luís is already faced with a rich gastronomy filled with many flavors. And, to top it off, there are people known for always extending their hospitality to those who arrive, in São Luís many tourists are won over at the table while tasting typical dishes from the region and drinks that are prepared with the creativity of those who live in the city. world Heritage.
The city has an exhibition that allows visitors a true tour of its gastronomic diversity and its influences, such as the Museu da Gastronomia Maranhense, and local restaurants, especially those located in the historic center and beach region, where you will find delicacies such as cuxá rice, pepper jelly, liqueurs, shrimp pie, toc toc crab, bacon rice, sun-dried meat, cooked hake, and much more.
As it is a city surrounded by water, São Luís has many fish and seafood options on its menu, which result in famous dishes here, such as Peixada Maranhão. Sun-dried meat also stands out. And the list is completed with juçara, which appears as one of the Ludovicenses’ favorite foods.
For visitors who have dietary restrictions or who are looking for special restaurants capable of meeting their needs, São Luís has a set of establishments that offer different options for vegetarians and vegans.
These differentiated menus can be found in chain restaurants and in local establishments that already have exclusive menus to serve this audience.
Located on the banks of the Bacanga River, in Sítio Tamancão, in the Anjo da Guarda neighborhood, Estaleiro Escola is a reference for the culture and education of São Luís do Maranhão.
The Estaleiro Escola project arose from the desire to preserve the artisanal and peculiar techniques of master carpenters in the construction of boats, ensuring that this valuable knowledge was passed on to future generations. Civil engineer Luiz Phelipe Andrès (in memorian), one of the coordinators of the “Embarcações do Maranhão” research project in 1998, was fundamental in this preservation effort.
A unique feature of the Estaleiro Escola is its impressive collection of tools that have been used over the centuries in the State’s naval carpentry. This historical heritage is a true window into the past, allowing students and visitors to get to know up close the techniques and skills that have been the basis of the construction of Maranhão boats.
Considered a place of great historical significance, Estaleiro Escola is located in a region known as Sítio Tamancão and which houses old warehouses from the 19th century, a large house, a tide mill (an ingenious system that harnessed tidal energy) that was restored and Today it is an attraction that forms part of the visitation circuit to the site. More information can be found on the institution’s social network profile: @estaleiroescola
For those who value contact with nature and seek adrenaline through sports, São Luís offers experiences that involve the practice of activities such as Rappelling, Hang Gliding, Canoeing, Bike/Pedal, Stand Up Paddle, Windsurfing, Kitesurfing, Fishing, Volleyball Beach and much more. These activities are normally offered by schools and companies established in the city that develop a series of sporting services on the island. And that adds to the events and competitions that are part of seasonal programs throughout the year in São Luís. So, if you are passionate about extreme sports or prefer a peaceful walk, know that the city offers options for all tastes and for all the ages.
These activities are normally offered by schools and companies established in the city that develop a series of sporting services on the island. And that adds to the events and competitions that are part of seasonal programs throughout the year in São Luís. So, if you are passionate about extreme sports or prefer a peaceful walk, know that the city offers options for all tastes and for all the ages.
Surfing and Kitesurfing on the Island’s beaches
For lovers of extreme sports, São Luís offers exciting experiences on its beautiful urban beaches. At Ponta d’Areia and the beaches of Olho d’Água and Caolho, the waves, warm waters and strong winds invite surfers to glide over the Atlantic, while on the beaches of São Marcos and Calhau, a good option is to practice of Kitesurfing. Every year the number of fans of these sports and visitors seeking the destination grows, attracted by the excellent conditions that the city’s coastline is capable of offering.
Exercises by the sea on the Avenida Litorânea promenade
For those who prefer to walk, cycle or run outdoors, São Luís has an extensive promenade on its Avenida Litorânea. Along the Avenida Litorânea promenade it is possible to access sports stations with free equipment, allowing visitors to exercise while enjoying the view of the sea, dunes and coconut trees. In this region, local bars and kiosks offer refreshing drinks. The Avenida Litorânea promenade has a cycle path, signage, video surveillance security service and police patrol, as well as lighting along its entire length.
Lagoa da Jansen
The Lagoa da Jansen park is ideal for those looking for a space with infrastructure and many possibilities. At Lagoa da Jansen it is possible to practice physical activities such as walking, cycling, running, tennis, skateboarding and skating. The kiosks offer healthy options to recharge after physical exertion, providing a complete well-being experience. Furthermore, the Lagoa da Jansen region is full of restaurants and night bars. A good option for those looking for gastronomy, leisure and fun.
Sítio do Ranger Park
The Sítio do Rangedor Park, in the Alto do Calhau neighborhood, is part of an environmental protection area on the island and offers infrastructure for both leisure and sporting activities. With eight equipped squares, including multi-sports courts, tennis courts, an outdoor gym, playgrounds and a 3.5 km cycle path, the Park is very busy with families looking for rest and groups interested in sporting activities.
The presence of food trucks, picnic space, shared bike rental service and ample parking complete the on-site experience.
Bom Menino Park
Parque do Bom Menino (@bommeninoslz), in the city center, is a green area in the busy center of São Luís. It offers a track used for walking, skateboarding and cycling activities. It has equipment for stretching and weight training, as well as housing a multi-sport gym for training, futsal championships and sporting events.
São Luís also has a variety of public spaces in the form of squares provided by the City Hall in different neighborhoods. Equipped with outdoor gyms, these places aim to promote the health of the population, offering adequate infrastructure for physical activities essential for preventing diseases and improving quality of life.
In these spaces, families, children, young people and the elderly enjoy gyms, playgrounds, sports courts and adequate lighting for nighttime activities.
In São Luís, experience this connection between sport and nature that integrates visitors into the city’s dynamics and invites them to explore the destination through activities that generate physical and mental well-being in incredible settings.
Nestled between colonial mansions and flanked by centuries-old trees, the squares of São Luís are part of a possible itinerary where it is possible to use this space for relaxation and observation of the historical heritage and dynamics of the city’s Historic Center.
It is a group made up of four squares located in the Historic Center of São Luís, in Maranhão. It contains Deodoro, Pantheon, Alameda Silva Maia and Alameda Gomes de Castro squares, considered the main squares in the city due to the large flow of vehicles, with several bus lines and a large number of passers-by.
Through a Municipal Law, on August 15, 1868, Largo do Quartel was renamed Praça da Independência. With the advent of the Republic, it was named Praça Deodoro, in honor of the first president of Brazil. Praça Deodoro corresponds to the quadrangle located in front of the current Praça do Pantheon, and is sometimes confused with Alamedas Silva Maia and Gomes de Castro. The square has accessibility items, arbors, lioz stone benches, lighting system and landscaping with the planting of native shrubs.
With the demolition of the Barracks, at the end of the 1930s (and its transfer to the João Paulo neighborhood, in 1941), the Benedito Leite Public Library was built, in 1950; and Praça do Pantheon gained its current name in a City Council session on March 29, 1954, at the suggestion of the Maranhão Historical and Geographic Institute (IHGM). Praça do Pantheon has as its limits: Avenida Silva Maia (to the north), Avenida Gomes de Castro (to the south), Travessa do Galpão, Biblioteca Benedito Leite, Sesc, Parque Urbano Santos and Liceu Maranhense (east) and the Deodoro Square (west). In Praça do Pantheon, there are tributes to great writers and intellectuals from Maranhão, with the first busts installed being those of Artur Azevedo (1954) and Raimundo Correia (1954). Over the years, other busts were inaugurated, or transferred from other places to the square.
The construction of the square and the memorial was a tribute from the people of São Luís to the communist doctor Maria Aragão, who entered the history of Maranhão politics with her example of dignity and courage in the fight for the democratization of the country. Her story originates from extreme poverty, but she soon sets out in search of overcoming hunger, prejudice (for being black and a woman at the beginning of the last century), aggression and pursuing her dream of helping humanity. Endowed with a great sense of leadership, she faced political oligarchies, during the military regime in the 1960s, and suffered persecution promoted by the dictatorship. The project offers the population – in addition to the Memorial, which houses a collection of photos and personal objects of the honoree – a space for popular and artistic events with a stage and dressing rooms. Architect Oscar Niemeyer was a personal friend of doctor Maria Aragão and carried out the project, which features structures with large overhangs and monumental curves, developed with double ribbed slabs, in which high-tech materials were used. The space also has snack bars, restrooms, auditorium and gardens.
It is a square located in the Historic Center of São Luís. It was built in 1982, called Praça da Praia Grande. In 2001, it gained its current name, in honor of the Maranhão poet Nauro Machado. The place is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. It is one of the most important public spaces in the Historic Center, being the stage for cultural events such as Bumba Meu Boi performances, music festivals and street theater. Furthermore, it is a meeting point, due to the various bars and restaurants located nearby. In this square, the João do Vale Theater is also located, next to which is the well-known staircase of Praça Nauro Machado.
Praça Benedito Leite is located between Ruas de Nazaré, Palma and Beco da Sé, therefore one of the oldest places in São Luís. It was originally known as Largo Velho do Val, or Vale, and in its immediate vicinity there was the Retreat of Our Lady of the Annunciation and Remedies for young maidens, founded by the Jesuit priest Gabriel Malagrida. The square was named in honor of the Governor, on the anniversary of his death. After the death of Benedito Leite, during the government of Luís Domingues, a commission was formed in charge of erecting a statue in memory of the illustrious statesman. The statue was created in Paris by the French sculptor François Emile Decarchemont, having been inaugurated on the morning of February 28, 1912. Benedito Leite is represented without a hand in the statue, as he reportedly said “I would rather cut off my hand than sign the suppression of the school Normal or Model”, at a time of economic crisis and spending cuts. The phrase was written on a bronze plaque next to the statue. Since 2017, on Sundays, the square has hosted part of the activities of Feirinha São Luís, organized by the City Hall, bringing together agroecological products, exhibition and sale of crafts, plastic and literary arts, gastronomy and local cultural performances, such as Tambor de Crioula and Bumba Meu Boi, as well as shows by local artists.
It is one of the most beautiful postcards of São Luís. It is popularly called Largo dos Amores (because it is a meeting point for lovers) and Largo dos Remédios (because of the church), as described in the work O Mulato, by Aluísio Azevedo. The place has a column with a statue of the poet Gonçalves Dias in the square, opened in 1873. The square is developed on several planes, due to the natural slope of the land, being interconnected by several staircases, some flanked by masonry guardrails. The statue of Gonçalves Dias is located in the center of the Square. To the right of the square, there is a circular bandstand, one of the few places protected from strong sunlight and the scarcity of shade trees, as the square is dominated by the presence of palm trees, sung in the well-known poem Canção do Exílio: “My land has palm trees” . Situated in an elevated location, it provides a panoramic view of the city, with Avenida Beira-Mar and the Anil River. The Igreja dos Remédios and Palácio Cristo Rei, which houses the memorial of the Federal University of Maranhão, are located in front of the square Below the square, accessible via stairs, are Maria Aragão Square and the Maria Aragão Memorial.
It is one of the oldest public places in the city of São Luís do Maranhão. The name Largo do Carmo is related to the Convent and the Church of Carmo, but it was named Praça João Lisboa in honor of the journalist and writer João Francisco Lisboa, in 1901. In 1918, a large bronze monument with a pedestal was inaugurated. marble, made by the French sculptor Jean Magrou, in honor of João Lisboa. It contains the ashes of the illustrious patron of chair number 11 of the Academia Maranhense de Letras. The square is linked to important historical facts such as the battle between the Dutch and Portuguese, which took place in 1643, the location of the city’s first fair or market, the first public shelter and the pillory destroyed after the Proclamation of the Republic. It also hosted several historical political and social movements in the city.
It is a public place that houses the Palácio de La Ravardière (home of the City Hall), Palácio dos Leões (headquarters of the Government of Maranhão), Palácio da Justiça (headquarters of the Court of Justice), the Church of the Sé, the Museum of Sacred Art and many others secular buildings of great historical importance that attract visitors. The square is located in the place chosen for rest by the French, in 1612, when they founded the city and built Fort São Luís. On December 2, 1925, it was named Praça Pedro II, in honor of the emperor’s centenary. At the beginning of the 1950s, the sculpture Mãe D’Água, by the Maranhão sculptor Newton Sá, was installed. The sculpture was awarded the silver medal at the National Salon of Fine Arts, in 1940 Between 2005 and 2018, the sculpture was located at the Historical and Artistic Museum. During the Christmas period, the square and buildings are decorated and specially lit, becoming a great attraction for residents and tourists.
This square was once known as Largo da Forca Velha, as a gallows was once erected in the center of the square where the condemned were executed. Inspired by the circumstance that the poor condemned people, seen from afar, seemed to jump with joy, as soon as they were released into space with the rope around their necks, in 1849, it came to be called Praça da Alegria to try to erase the stigma of the past. Today it is a flower sales center and a beautiful spot to spend the afternoons sitting on its benches to read a book or even stroll under its leafy trees.
Due to the construction of the Church and Convent of Santo Antônio (1624), this space was called Largo de Santo Antônio. In 1917, through the Resolution of the City Council of April 10 of this year, it was renamed Praça Antônio Lobo, a tribute to Antônio Francisco Leal Lobo, a great writer from Maranhão. There we also find the Chapels of the Brotherhood of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes and Bom Jesus da Coluna, which carry out traditional Lenten processions in São Luís and the Escola Modelo.
It is located between the streets of Remédio and Hortas. In 1905, the bust of Odorico Mendes was inaugurated, placed in front of Rua dos Remédios, sitting on a stylized pedestal, under which rest the bones of the Translator of Homer and Virgílio, in faithful concise Portuguese verse, transferred from London, from the cemetery of Kensal-Green, in 1913. Recently the square was contemplated with the replacement of the cemented floor, restoration of benches, replacement of trash cans and landscaping.
This square was originally named Praça Afonso Saulnier de Pierrelevée, in direct homage to the first surgeon in Maranhão and one of the first in the Northeast Region of Brazil to implant a prosthesis in a lower limb (leg), in a slave he owned. The square is located between Santa Rita and Norte streets. It is currently called Praça da Misericórdia, due to its proximity to the Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital.
A square with many stories. According to researchers, in 1868, traders from Praia Grande turned the square into a scene of great confusion. Many people were arrested on suspicion of using counterfeit banknotes in commerce. The square is the gateway to the Historic Center of São Luís for those arriving by sea or land. It also received several names such as Fran Paxeco and Praia Grande.
This square is named in honor of the lawyer, poet, writer and researcher of Maranhão Popular Culture. It is also known as Praça da Pacotilha, since in its place there was a mansion that was demolished to make way for the square, and the famous newspaper ‘A Pacotilha’ operated in the demolished property in the mid-19th century. It is located on Rua do Giz, on the corner of Beco da Pacotiha and provides visitors with a beautiful view of the Praia Grande neighborhood. The space is used to hold cultural events such as capoeira circles, Tambor de creola, performances and shows by popular culture groups.
Located between Rua do Norte and Rua do Passeio, it was formerly called Praça do Campo Santo. It was later called Praça do Gavião and Praça do Cemitério, given its proximity to the traditional Cemitério do Gavião. At the beginning of the 1930s, its name was changed to Praça da Saudade. Located in the festive and cultural Madre Deus neighborhood, this square is characterized by being one of the most important places for the gathering and presentation of June and carnival groups, as well as an important gathering space for the region’s residents.
Located on Rua do Giz in the Historic Center, this square is also known as Praça do Tambor de Crioula, due to the use of this space by cultural groups that are one of the most traditional in Maranhão. Opened in 1986, the square houses a chapel dedicated to Saint Benedict, considered the protector of black people in the Catholic Church.
The Island Route is an experience that aims to provide tourists with an organized itinerary through the cultural, historical and cultural beauties of São Luís and four cities located a few kilometers from the capital: Alcântara, Raposa, Paço do Lumiar and São José de Ribamar.
In São Luís, the experience itinerary is carried out through a four-hour city tour through the most important points of the city’s Historic Center.
89 kilometers from São Luís, the city tour lasts approximately 3 hours. The meeting point is the Praia Grande Pier in the Historic Center of the capital, where visitors board a boat for the crossing to Alcântara. The itinerary includes visits to churches, historical ruins, museums and the pillory, with stops to explore each location. After the tour, tourists have the option of relaxing on the stunning beaches of Itatinga and Ilha do Livramento.
Visitors are taken to see the famous Maranhão pillowcases on Carimã Beach. Conducted on boats on a nautical tour, during the entire tour visitors can contemplate the rich fauna and flora of the region. This tourist itinerary lasts an average of 4 hours. The itinerary includes four stops for swimming, oyster tasting and culminates in the impressive Maranhão pillowcases.
São José de Ribamar
The journey continues with an exciting 2-hour buggy ride. The itinerary takes visitors to stunning beaches, such as Ponta Vermelha, Caúra and Panaquatira. The adventure continues to the bird nursery, passing along a trail on Ponta Verde beach.
Paço do Lumiar
Being the last stop where visitors delve into the history of Bumba Meu Boi with a visit to Barracão do Bumba meu Boi da Maioba (@boidamaiobaoficial). Then, the experience continues with an afternoon of adventures at the Valparaíso Adventure Park Water Park (valparaisoadventurepark).
The Island Route can be carried out in an integrated way or individually for each of these destinations, through specialized tourism agencies. For more information, consult the São Luís Tourist Service Center.
When it comes to contact with nature, São Luís has easy access to parks, woods, forests and sites. Explore, relax and connect with nature in one of our parks:
Jansen Lagoon Park
Jansen Lagoa Park combines nature with leisure options. Cycle paths, jogging track and social areas make this park an ideal place for outdoor activities.
Sítio do Rangedor Ecological Park
Considered an integral protection unit for replenishing the city’s aquifers, Parque do Rangedor, as it is better known, occupies a large green area in an urbanized region. It is a space for decompression and coexistence with lots of nature and infrastructure for outdoor activities, attracting visitors and city residents every day of the week in its eight squares spread over 120 hectares.
Bom Menino Park
In the heart of São Luís, Parque do Bom Menino is a green refuge amid the hustle and bustle of the city center. Its shaded spaces are ideal for walking and practicing physical activities. The Park also has a sports complex.
Parque Botânico da Vale
The Vale Botanical Park is an environmental preservation area that brings together an extensive collection of fauna and flora species. It offers educational experiences through trail rides for visitors of all ages, as well as picnic space, cactirium, seedling nursery, herbarium, orchidarium and much more.
It is an Environmental Protection Area that brings together a variety of fauna, flora and river sources. This reserve has more than 10 kilometers of walking area, as well as squares and sports courts.
Juçara Rosa Mochel Park
Parque da Juçara Rosa Mochel (@parquedajucara_) is an invitation to a cultural and ecological immersion in the rural region of São Luís. It is a place that combines history, preservation and leisure in the same experience.