Check out a 5-day itinerary for you to enjoy the best destinations and tourist attractions in São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses

São Luís the capital of maranhão is well known for housing one of the largest architectural complexes of European origin in Brazil. The historic center of the city is made up of about 3,500 beautiful buildings that range from churches, chapels, squares and mansions that have given the city the status of Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Another very striking feature of the city is the mixture of Northeastern culture with the exoticism of the North region, present in handicrafts and local cuisine. The city is a starting point for those who want to discover Lençóis Maranhenses, one of the most surprising landscapes in Brazil.

Read too " Os 100 lugares mais lindos para viajar no Brasil

Day 1 – Beaches and Historic Center of São Luís

Unlike what many people think, beaches in the state of maranhão do not have waters in the shade of blue found on the northeastern coast. Another differential is the great variation of the tide, constantly alternating the landscape of the Ludovica coast. The most frequented beaches are Praia do Calhau, Olho D'água and Araçagi.

Praia do Calhau has the best infrastructure on the island, with dozens of kiosks extending to São Marco beach, all well equipped with tables and chairs both on the sand and inside the establishment. After tasting the local delicacies such as the typical sun-dried meat or crab cakes accompanied by cuxá rice, it's time to discover the historic centre.

Reviver is an area that seeks to preserve the city's architectural ensemble, all the mansions have a strong Dutch, Portuguese and French influence. The facades composed of tiles are the city's trademark, bars, restaurants and craft shops are found on every street in the center.

Take the opportunity to enjoy the sunset in front of the Palácio dos Leões, which has an impressive view of the noble part of the city and the coast. Be sure to visit the Casa do Maranhão and Casa de Nhozinho museums.

If you decide to dine in the place, we recommend La Pizzeria, which is located inside a large house with a decoration that refers to the past.

Route São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses. Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Day 2 – Alcantara

The best way to get to Alcântara is by sea, using speedboats, boats or catamarans, which take an average of one hour and fifteen minutes depending on the tide, leaving Praia Grande Pier.

The departure to Alcântara is made at the city pier twice a day. We suggest you buy the return ticket so you don't have any problems, as there are few boats making the journey. Alcântara has more than 300 colonial mansions, many in ruins and seems to have stopped in time. Right on the way up to the upper part of the city, you can find several buildings in front of a wonderful landscape with Livramento Island in the background. Some residences that belonged to the barons still show signs of ostentation, such as viewpoints and tiles brought from Portugal.

Obligatory stops are the Casa do Divino Espírito Santo museum, the Church of Nossa Senhora do Carmo, the ruins of the Convent of the Carmelite Fathers, the ruin of the Church of the Third Order of São Francisco and the Church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos – built by the slaves.

São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses script

Route São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses. Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Day 3 – Raposa and São José de Ribamar

The small town of Raposa is just 1 hour from São Luís. The municipality has narrow streets with houses on stilts decorated by the crafts of the lacemakers from Maranhão, well known in the region.

The boat trip to Pequenos Lençóis leaves from Praia do Carimã and lasts an average of 2 hours. The route passes through dunes, lagoons, mangroves, beaches and rivers.

The best-known restaurant in the region is Capote and most of the vans that make excursions stop there before heading to the municipality of São José de Ribamar. The grilled anchovy is the most famous example of typical Raposa cuisine and comes with seasoned rice, farofa, vinaigrette and vatapá, delicious!

São José de Ribamar is the third most populous municipality in the Brazilian state of maranhão and has a more religious tradition, churches, beaches and viewpoints are the attraction of the destination. The nightlife of Maranhão is due to the bars and restaurants that stir the capital around Lagoa da Jansen.

São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses script

Route São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses. Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís


Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Day 4 – Lençóis Maranhenses

the distance from São Luís to Barreirinhas is 255 km, approximately 3 hours of travel. Tours to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park leave every day in the morning and afternoon. We recommend the tour in the second period, which makes it possible to catch another landscape of the region during the sunset.

The tour starts in a 4×4, the first step is to pay a small ferry that crosses the cars for the trail to the place. On the way, some houses are seen separated at great distances in the middle of a shallow vegetation mixed with the sands that are already beginning to appear. Generally, the most offered tour passes through three lagoons along the way, Lagoa Azul, Lagoa do Peixe and Lagoa da Paz, but it is possible to take other customized routes in other regions of the park, such as the municipality of Atins and Santo Amaro.

It is true that the walk in the afternoon can seem to be more tiring (since the sun at this time of day is stronger) but being rewarded with a sunset like the one in Lençóis is priceless!

A very nice restaurant that we recommend for dinner is the Bambaê Bar e Restaurante, a little far from the center, but with a rustic structure with bungalows in front of the Preguiça River. The menu of the menu is very varied with typical dishes of the region.

São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses script

Route São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses. Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

Day 5 – Barreirinhas vs São Luís

The second most popular tour in Barreirinhas is the Rio Preguiça tour, with 3 stops: Vassouras, Mandacaru and Caburé.

The first stop is in Vassouras, the place has a set of dunes with some houses made of wattle and daub with a small trade, during the rains small ponds are formed. Its dunes have a golden color due to the local vegetation, surrounded by mangroves. The attraction of the parade are the monkeys that live in the region, which do not care about the human presence, walking and playing quietly in the midst of tourists.

Then we head towards Mandacaru, a small fishing village, where the Preguiça Lighthouse is located. The lighthouse has 160 steps and is often visited by those who follow the walk along the Preguiças River to Caburé, from the top of the lighthouse the visitor has the possibility to see one of the most beautiful views of Caburé, Mandacaru and Atins.

The last but not least stop is the paradisiacal Caburé, a huge wet peninsula by the coast on one side and the lazy river on the other. In Caburé there is also the possibility of ATV tours, rented at some inns.

Tours usually return at 4:00 pm on average and most transfers that support the capital of Maranhão leave a few hours after the activity.

Photo: Secretary of Tourism São Luís

São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses script

Route São Luís and Lençóis Maranhenses. Photograph: Saint Louis tourism secretary

All tours of this itinerary were made with the agency Receptive Gekos, which offers several tours in the state.

+ info

La Pizzeria
Rua do Giz 129 - Downtown
Tel: (98) 3182 8794

Bambaê Bar and Restaurant
Estrada da Boa Vista s/no. Behind Pousada Encantes do Nordeste
Tel: (98) 3349-0691

O Capote Restaurant
Av. Principal, 3 – Vila Bom Viver, Raposa – MA
Tel: (98) 99618-5773

Receptive Gekos
Rua João Pereira Damasceno, nº 02 – Hotel Luzeiros, Piso SL
Tel: (98) 3235-3870

Read too:

» Places to visit in Sao Luis
» Complete Guide to the Route of Emotions
» Best time to visit Lençóis Maranhenses
» Tourism in Maranhão: 9 incredible destinations to visit in the state

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