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A visit to the points of interest of the UNESCO city of São Luís before taking the bus to Belem

São Luís is a city in Northeastern Brazil. São Luís offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;

  • Historic center of São Luís – UNESCO world heritage center
  • The beaches of São Luís Island (Maranhão Island)
  • Parque Botânico da Vale
  • Igreja da Sé Church
  • Visual Arts Museum
  • Maranhão History and Art Museum
  • Ribeirão source
  • Casa do Maranhão
  • Benedito Leite Square

Hotels are good value and plentiful in São Luís.  If you are staying in any hotel in the historic center then you are officially staying in a UNESCO world heritage hotel.

São Luís, Brazil

São Luís, Brazil

São Luís is located on São Luís Island (also known as Maranhão Island) and is the capital of the state of Maranhão.  The historic center of São Luís is a UNESCO world heritage site, full of picturesque and well maintained colonial buildings (above).  A lot of restaurants and bars are found in the colonial buildings of the historic center, they are the typical bars and restaurants of Brazil which have tables on the street and are perfect for people watching.  In the historic center you’ll find most of the points of interest of São Luís including the Igreja da Sé Church, Ribeirão source, Casa do Maranhão, Benedito Leite Square and the various museums.  The new town of São Luís is very close to the historic center, in the new town you’ll find lots of shops, market stalls and fast food restaurants.

I mentioned the beaches of São Luís Island in the points of interest and they are easy to get to but let’s be honest, there are so many better places to visit the beach in Brazil!

São Luís, Brazil

São Luís, Brazil

São Luís is a very easy going town, if it’s on your route I’d recommend staying overnight and taking some time to photograph the points of interest and colonial buildings.  I took pictures at night and felt safe walking around even when the streets were deserted.  There is one part of historic center which has a few bars and live music, around this area you’ll see quite a few people drinking in the street.  I had a drink in one of the bars which gives me bragging rights to having drank in a UNESCO world heritage bar!

Overnight bus from Sao Luis to Belem, 13 hours, 121 Reais

Overnight bus from Sao Luis to Belem, 13 hours, 121 Reais

The bus service to Belém was very luxurious, it was a 13 hour journey which went by very quickly as I slept comfortably, in fact I can only remember getting on the bus, going to sleep and waking up in Belém.  The Transbrasiliana service is very good, I recommend you take this service wherever possible in Brazil.  An interesting fact about Belém is that it is the Portuguese word for Bethlehem.

Belém to Macapá