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Sao Luis Travel Guide, Brazil


The capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhão is São Luís. São Luís was founded by the French, and it also has Dutch and Portuguese influence. São Luís is located on São Luís Island and has a couple of sea ports- Ponta da Madeira and Porto do Itaqui.

São Luís is known for its typical cuisine, traditions and live reggae parties. Many modern day poets and writers are from, or stay in São Luís, giving it the name 'Island of Love' and 'Brazilian Athens'.

The official language of São Luís is Portuguese. English and Spanish are also taught in high schools. The Federal University of Maranhao is located at São Luís.

The local favorite dishes are fish and shrimp pie and rice with herbs.

 The main drink is the Gurana based soft drink, Gurana Jesus.

São Luís has the best preserved Portuguese architecture in all Latin America. The beautiful Portuguese influenced tiled buildings and cobblestone streets in the well maintained historic center is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. São Luís is known for its tiles, thus getting the name 'The Tile City'.

The main attraction of the city is the Old Town area and the beaches. The Old Town has beautifully maintained buildings reminding one of the Portuguese colonial era. Ponta d'Areia, São Marcos and Calhau are the beaches of São Luís. The beaches are adorned with numerous small bars and restaurants and broad pavements.

São Luís has some distinctive cultural traditions of its own. The Tambor de Crioula is a form of Afro Brazilian dance where beautifully clad women dance around a bateria or row of drums. While gyrating to the music, each one tries to take the prime position in the center.

The Tambor de Mina is São Luís's own version of candomble, the Afro-Brazilian religion.

The Bumba-Meu-Boi is a folklore tradition that tells the story of a bull with dance, drums and music. It is often a comedic tragedy where set characters are enacted with flamboyant costumes, music and action. The practice begins after Easter and reaches the peak in June. Often the enactment is practiced publicly. The crowds join into the singing and dancing in this all night revelry.

São Luís maintains its own form of capoeira too, complete with martial arts, music and dance.

All these things really make São Luís one of the best and interesting places in Brazil.

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