Sao Luis is the capital of Maranhao and is located on a beautiful tropical island. Commonly referred to as the Island of Love! This city was originally founded in 1612 by the French and is home to beautiful mansions and townhouses as well as historical town squares. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, much of the colonial architecture dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has been restored. The city now houses cultural centres, museums, shops and restaurants. The city has gone to great lengths to also preserve its traditions. The folkloric events and the architecture of the churches built in the days of slavery are evidence of the vitality and strength of the cultural traditions still alive today.
Day 1: Arrive Sao Luis (flights depart from Rio and Sao Paulo)
Upon your arrival by flight (not included) into Sao Luis you will be greeted by our local representative and transferred to your hotel located near the beautiful beaches of Sao Luis. Traveling into the city you will be able to make out firsthand the historical buildings dating back from the 16th century and then in the next moment see the modern buildings blending into the architecture. The hotels we have selected are situated along side many wonderful restaurants for the area and historical landmarks. Markets are aplenty during the day if you are in search for local Brazilian souvenirs.
The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 2: Sightseeing Sao Luis (Half Day Tour)
This half day city tour is like the trip to the times of colonial Brazil as you wander through the streets of the historical centre of São Luis. In addition to the beautiful old centre, which contains the most homogeneous collection of secular Portuguese architecture in Latin America, you will visit the two most scenic beaches on the island and learn about local people, legends, and folklore. Cobblestone alleyways, colonial buildings, stairways of stone, and dozens of important historical monuments that preserve the memory of a place that is considered "The City of Tiles and Mansions". Also in the tour is "Projeto Reviver", the project that gave life back to a part of the historical centre. The ancient Cânhamo Factory was transformed under this project into a shopping centre.
Day 3: Sightseeing Alcantara (approx. 6 hours)
A full day trip is warranted for the charming laid back village of Alcantara. Alcantara is a unique existence of a small town living inside the ruins of a once-thriving colonial city. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Alcantara was the location of booming sugar and cotton plantations for the upper class families. With the end of slavery in 1888 the plantation economy crashed. The families and merchants abandoned their plantations leaving the city in the hands of the newly freed slaves and their descendants.
A visit to Alcantara allows you to wander down the main cobblestone street, view the attractive collection of Colonial houses with decorated doors and bright Portuguese tiles.
As this is approximately a 6 hour tour you will have the remainder of the day at leisure, we recommend visiting some local markets or have a few hours relaxing on the beach before the sun goes down and you head out for a bite to eat at one of the fabulous restaurants.
Day 4: Sightseeing Sao Luis at your Leisure (Day) & Night Tour
Today you will have the whole day free wander through the historical streets or relax on the beaches.
In the evening Sao Luis transformed and it is an opportunity not to be missed. We have included a Sao Luis by Night Tour presenting you with a mix of traditional Culture expression and reggae music. You can taste the typical Maranhense food and visit the panoramic view of the Jansen Lagoon. There is an abundance of bars in the historical centre and at the ocean beach. It’s a great way to end your stay exploring Sao Luis on a high!
Day 5: Depart Sao Luis
Today you will say goodbye to Sao Luis and hopefully have come away with some amazing memories of a life since past and of the unique flavours this region has to offer.
Onward Journey Suggestions
For your onward journey from Sao Luis, our suggestions are
Your options are endless so feel free to contact our Travel Specialists who will be able to assist you with expert information on South America.