São Luís: Among Brazil’s Greatest Cities or too Run-Down?
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Aug 17, 2012 3:45 PM Last Post By: uulu10
Jul 29, 2012 12:36 AM
I have been twice now to Brazil. From all the places I have visited, Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto and Salvador stood out as the architectural gems. I never visited São Luís because it’s out of the way and because the guidebooks go back-and-forth with their advice. They call it run-down and poor and yet also describe it as a fascinating colonial-style destination. This is purely your opinion here, but do you think São Luís is a ‘must-see’ kind of place like Rio, Ouro Preto or Salvador or is it more of a place to visit only if you are in the area already?
Jul 29, 2012 4:01 AM
1The historic district of Sao Luis, the Reviver, has not had all the government money poured into it to pretty it up the way Pelourinho has had in Salvador. But the tiled houses there are quite unique and even some of the gently collapsing buildings are photogenic. The massive ruins, charming cottages and sea views in Alcantara are also worth a visit, as are the stilted fishermen's houses and the lacemaking shops in Raposa. Most people visit at a time when the lakes in the dunes in the nearby Parque Lencois are at their peak of spectacle. And if you can arrive when the Bumba Meu Boi is going on, you will be lucky enough to see and hear that costumed regional folkloric tradition of the area.
Jul 29, 2012 4:11 AM
2I liked the place a long time ago and it is much less touristic and crowded than Rio or even Salvador. I would gp for it
Jul 30, 2012 3:02 AM
3I like Sao Luis a lot for its relaxed atmosphere, especially combined with amazing, almost tourist-free Alcantara, just an hour away by boat.
And the nearby Lencois Maranhenses are just fantastic
Jul 30, 2012 5:49 AM
4I wouldn't call Sao Luis a "must-see" but if you combine it with Lencois Maranhenses I think it's a worthwhile trip. It is indeed run down and poor but it has an interesting feel to it. I travelled from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara, then to Lencois Maranhenses (Jericoacoara to Lencois Maranhenses was a very random but cool trip that included several hours in a 4 by 4 and then a boat ride through a mangrove forest) and then to Sao Luis. I did this over a period of 10 days and it was a really lovely trip! Also, I went to Sao Luis in June, which was during the Festas Juninas celebrations and there was a festival in the old town with music and dancing - it was really great.
Jul 30, 2012 7:46 AM
5As some of the commentators on here have already said, there is so much to do and see around Sao Luis. I was in Sao Luis for Bumba Meu Boi which was very cool. It's a small place in comparison to Rio or Salvador which adds to it's charm. You're close to amazing places like Jeri and Lencois so I would do it..
Jul 30, 2012 7:46 AM
6Sao Luis as a whole is not "run down and poor" as was phrased in such an eloquent and polite way. (not) I have friends who live there in the city who live in one of many comfortable neighborhoods and have a comfortable life style that affords them, and their large circle of friends, among other things, nice homes and cars, regular trips abroad and domestically, as well as access to electronics (very expensive in Brazil) equal to anyone in the U.S. The historic Reviver neighborhood is run down in places, though, (since they don't seem to have had a politician with the influence ACM had in getting funds to renovate Pelourinho, but also Reviver hasn't forcibly displaced residents either, AFAIK) and, as in many Brazilian cities, there are some poor neighborhoods.
Jul 30, 2012 8:03 AM
Jul 30, 2012 8:26 AM
8Some structures in the Reviver have been allowed to deteriorate. However, many of the buildings are well cared for (many showing off the iconic tiled fronts) and the neighborhood adjoining Reviver (just a few street away) is a bustling and not at all run down part of town, with many businesses, Colonial era buildings and a vibrant, crowded shopping street.
Too bad you don't seem to have gotten a broader view of the city , but hopefully this won't give anyone else such a limited idea of Sao Luis.
Jul 30, 2012 11:30 AM
I don't want us all taking this to heart. On a side note, I am familiar (through readings) about Sao Luis' surroundings, so I am only asking input on the city itself. Regarding the city, we don't need to get so technical with this. My basic purely opinion-oriented question is whether you think Sao Luis is on the caliber of must-see colonial cities in Brazil, like Rio, Ouro Preto and Salvador, or whether you wouldn't go out of your way to see it but would make a stop if you are already in the area.
Jul 30, 2012 11:48 AM
10If I were "already in the area", I would arrange to do the 4x4 from Jericoacoara and enjoy some of the villages and beaches along the way to the Parque Lencois, and then go on to Sao Luis, doing it all to arrive to see the Bumba Meu Boi, a whole experience, value for time and money.
I wouldn't recommend Salvador either if all you had time to see was Pelourinho.
Jul 31, 2012 2:08 AM
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Aug 17, 2012 3:45 PM
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