TOURIST CITIES OF MARANHÃO
SÃO JOSÉ DE RIBAMAR
São José de Ribamar, one of the four counties of São Luis Island,
is 32 Km. far
from the State's capital, to which is linked by a road
surrounded by a number of farms and agreeable dwellings.
In former eras an indian village, it took its name after a
pietous tale narrated like this: 'a ship comming from Lisbon to
São Luis had its course changed and, in the very bay of São
Luis, was threatened to sinking due to the huge waves and storm.
The sailors prayed for protection to the saint promissing to
build a Shrine for him at the site they could see far in the bay.
They suplicated with such a faith that immediately the sea
became quiet. And all of them reached the shore safe and sound'.
To acomplish their promise, they brougth from Lisbon an image of
São José entronicing him at the little church then built just in
front of the sea. But the inhabitants of the ancient Anindiba
indian village -today Paço do Lumiar- found that the image
should be taken and placed at the hermitage of that region, and
they subreptitiously did it. The next day, they saw amazed that
the image wasn't there any more: it had returned to the original
little church! Unsatisfied, they repeated the transference and
placed a number of persons to guard the image in an attempt to
avoid its disapearance.
Nevertheless, São José(Saint Joseph) transforming his stick into
a torch, left the Anindiba church protected by saints and angels
and went back to Ribamar, leaving along this way slight traces
of light. In this way the Anindi-ba villagers realized that the
saint wanted to remain in his hermitage in front of the sea.
São José de Ribamar is one of the great devocional places of
local people. This explains the exagerated amount of names,
i.e., José and Maria, given to many maranhenses, eventhough this
tendency is declining.
It is beliaved, that, the cult to the miracle-doer saint will be
back to its glorious days with the construction of the basilica
dedicated to him.
In the past, the only ways of transportation to Ribamar were on
horse back or by carts pushed by caws through a tortous and
tight land-course. Also, one could go to that county by sea.
Today, the trip is fast and confortable, and the old bathing
resort town, where there is a mineral water spring, still keeps
São José de Ribamar, besides the festival dedicated to its
patron miracle-doer saint, which is held for ten days in
September in lively celebrations and parties in variable dates,
according to the full moon, anticipates the event with the
celebration of the Peixe-Pedra (Stone-fish)Festival in August,
followed, by pass, by the Maris-co(shellfish) and Coco d'Água(Water
Moroever, the Festival agenda starts earlier, in January, with
the Cordões dos Reis(Kings ribbon) celebrati-on. Includes the
City foundation, on the 26th, and on the next Sunday after the
Ash Wednesday, proceeds with the São Luis merry-makers, in a
carnival-like celebration called Lava-Pratos(dish-washers),
extending it till December, on Christmas time. It is also
valuable to refer to the June Festival, in which great
celebrations and parties are per-formed with the Matraca and
Zabumba Bois(wooden rattles and drums accompaining partisans
dancing around a man in caw vests) as main attractions, event
which is repeated after São Marçal (Saint Marçal) day.
Amusement and visiting places
Beaches: Caúra, Itapari,
Panaquatira, Boa Viagem
Springs : Poço da Saúde
Handycrafts: Goods made from
straw, wood, thread, liana and ox horn.
Dishes : Peixe cozido, peixe
frito(boiled and fried fishes), shrimps, prepared ac-
cording to local and delicious taste tradition
Drinks : Tiquira, Cachaça (sugar cane and manihot
made rum-like spirits), soft drinks and liquour made from
Religious celebrations and Folkloric Festivals
- São José de Ribamar, do Divino Espírito Santo, de Nossa
- Quadrilhas (quadrille dancers), Cordões dos Reis(King ribbon
Bumba-meu-Boi(dancers around caw dressed up man) on the stiles
Matraca and Orquestra.
São José de Ribamar Church, Gruta de Lurdes(Lourdes grotto),
- Hotel Mar e Sol (Av. Gonçalves Dias, 320), and Tropical(Praça
How to reach São José de Ribamar
- Several bus lines take one daily, starting from different
places, along the
route São Luis -São José and viceversa, early in the morning
begining of the evening.
Alcântara, for a long time, was our only biggest symbol of a
abbandoned past. Nevertheless, today it holds an important
Rocket and Satelite Lounching Centre where a multinational team
of scientists work looking at the future supported by
sophisticated high-tech utilities, contributing in this way to
the brazilian technological and scientific development.
Odylo Costa filho, journalist and poet, has said that Alcântara
is a Town that refuses to die. In fact, the ancient indian so
called Tapuitapera cited by french Priest and writer 'as 'more
confortable, richer and freshier than São Luis', is a town with
centuries of memorable contends.
It developed, enriched and became to know the opulency in which
its few but refined elite, shined in grand style.
A number of adverse factors came to embarrass the town's
prosperity. Fistly, the economical exploitation of the
maranhence valeys was the reason for the gradual abbandonment of
the city barons, rich people who owned big plantations of shugar
and cotton that turned Alcâncara the centre of production of
these cultures. Secondly, the abolition of slavery was the
ultimate shoot for an economy already frankly decadent. And from
that on, Alcântara took its way to a complete wreck.
Moreover, Alcântara refuses to die. Due to this persistancy and
in spite of its ruined buildings abbandoned by the inhabitants
that took with them even doors, roofs and furnitures from those
then totaly devaluated. Lanes became deserts, squares, as the
Santa Helena Square, disapeared, and even the ancient Rua Bela
Vista with its abandoned large houses, came to be named Rua da
Also the churchs, as it is normal, suffered that irreversible
process of decline, and the main church, the Matriz do Apóstolo
São Matias(Saint Matias Cathedral), is today a pile of ruined
walls facing the sky, because of a broken roof that, instead of
being motive to its repairing, served only as a no returning to
Related to the building of churchs in Alcântara, we know today
only the site of their construction, as it is the case of the
Convento de Nossa Senhora das Mercês (Our Lady of Mercy Convent),
founded in 1658, in a place just marked by the poor Capela das
Mercês(Mercês Chapel) over a slight hill in front of the Rua das
Mercês.(Mercy Street). In the Rua Direita, two branches concour
to a cross carved in a wall which is part of the remains of São
Francisco de Assis Church, pittiful witness of a resistance long
but not eternal.
Some remains of Os Sete Passos da Paixão(Seven steps of Passion)
are visible: one at the Rua Peque-na(Little Street), and the
other at the Rua da Amargura (Grief Street).
The Capela de Nossa Senhora do Desterro(Our Lady of Exile Chapel)
is modest and small, as the name of the street in which it is
situated. It was only a Step, originally the maintenance of the
traditions kept so carefully since the 18th century.
In the Bairro Caravela(Caravela quarter) is placed the Igreja de
Nossa Senhora do Rosário(Our Lady of Rosary Church), built under
the slaves devotion, from 1781 to 1803. Nossa Senhora do Rosário
shares its honor with São Benedito. This saint is enshrined with
celebrations plenty of fervor in which are mixed up processions,
novenas and the drums played for the dancing and punga(dance
acompained by chants and drums) at the very entrance and outside
the church's doors, without frontiers between the sacred and
profane, among Host , tobacco and cachaça.
The wide convent is a complete wreck, but persists firmly. Next
to it is the Igreja do Carmo(Carmo Church), the most beautiful
church of Maranhão State. Crowned with graves daily guarded by a
legion of barroc angels, these graves are distribuited along the
columns, cavities and edges finely curved. These are 17th
century works that suffered several restaurations, but even when
the last one is still unfinished, permitted the in comming of
de-votees attracted by its ancient beauty parcially recovered.
It is at this church where is performed the last Great Act of
the Festa do Divino Espírito Santo (Holyghost Celebration), with
the Emperor(or the Empress) in his Throne, and the
participation of the Bishop of the Pinheiro Diosesis. And after
the solemn mass,
the celebration is finished, but the festivity will soon start
again because of the reading of the Pelouro (decision of next
year's celebration organizers) where are announced the names of
the selected devotees in charge of the next year celebration.
Alcântara, founded in 1648 as a head village subaltern to the
Capitania of Cumâ, was registered as Natio-nal Monument Town.
Eventhough today is still neglected, it is meritor of such
distinction, because there is too much to be seeing there: two
ruins called Palácio do Emperador(Emperor's Palace), memory of
the obstinacy of two rival politicians who attempted to host
Emperor Pedro II, that allegedly because of this did not visit
the town as it was promissed; the As Fontes das Pedras and
Mirititiua(Stone Springs), the remains of the São Sebastião Fort,
the second floor terrace known as Cavalo de Troia(Troy Horse)
high and wide, compared to the little house where, when public
prosecutor, lived Clovis Bevilaqua; the second floor where
Sousândrade parents used to live; the ancient Chamber site and
prison; which served as the State's penitentiary, but today
shelters the City House and the Chamber. Surrounding São Matias
Largo, is placed the Museum of History and Arts; the tripled two
story house which belonged to The Viveiros family, and after
that passed to be property of the capitalist Antonino Guimarães.
That Plaza, greened with Ficus trees planted by Agostinho dos
Reis, holds the Pelourinho, a symbol of authority but also
motive of hate and ressentiment from the part of the negroes
there punished. With the abolition of slavery, bands of negroes,
drunk and excited for liberty, pushed down and hid the
terrorific pole. Thank to the benevolence of Mrs. Mãe Calu, 50
years later, the Pelourinho was turned back to its original
The Casa do Divino, is a museum which keeps inside epoch relics
showing Alcântara's strength. Emperor Dom Pedro did not visit
the site, but in the streets at the yearly parade, march the
imperial procession backed by torchs, music bands, bengala fires,
litters, buffoons and the whole thing of a court that never will
be put aside.
There is in Alcântara a reasonable touristic infrastructure,
hostages, restaurants, bars and
beaches. And nice islands among which Livramento beach is just
in front of it.
Alcântara and São Luis look at each other, for centuries, over
the witery São Marcos bay sea "mirror", which is only 22 Km far
in a straight line.
You can go to Alcântara by sea, in daily trips, and also by land,
which takes more time, and by plane.
Barreirinhas, 370 km far from São Luís, is located in the
lowland microregion. On Preguiça river side, it's the entrance
to 'Lençois Maranhenses'National Park, a wonderful ecosystem of
150 Ha of loosing sand, which gives the impression of infinite
sheets that are unfolding among reentrances, dunes and clear
There are many natural touristic attraction in Barreirinhas.
Generous hydrography region, it has a number of rivers, creeks,
lagoons and watery areas where we can find buriti and juçara
Besides Preguiça river, we can refer to Novo, Paragem, Prata,
Cocal, São José, Formiga and Juçaral Rivers. And as a must we
have to nominee Esperança and Tábua lagoons.
Pleasant beaches are all over the region, as Vassouras,
Espandarte, Morro do Boi, Moitas, Manda-caru and Afins.
In Barreirinhas there are great quantity and variety of fish,
shrimps and other seafood.
It's famous and diversified the city's handcraft and
neighbouring villages production, specially the one with 'Buriti'as
a row material.
Barreirinhas needs a better touristic infrastructure, in order
to develop the huge potencialities that it has.
We can go there from São Luís by road ¾ there is a daily bus
line ¾ or charter flight.
One of the most traditional and ancient cities of south of
Maranhão, Carolina ¾
evocative name of Brazil's first empress ¾ was the main economic
center of Tocantins Valley and had important cultural life,
represented by fine schools, literary entities, newspapers,
musical bands and so on.
Despite of the decay imposed by the changing of economical area
to Imperatriz, Carolina keeps a lot of its past. And has great
future, thanks to natural beauties that surrounds the city.
Rivers and lagoons encarved in rocky formations, rupestrian
inscriptions, granite mines in the 'cerrado' (typical vegetation),
are some of the many attractions to be admired.
Besides Tocantins river, along side of the city, there are,
among others, 'Sereno' river, very fishy and 'Lajes' river (Praiolândia),
with many bars on the side. 'Botes' isle is a place of nice
tours to go down the rivers. 'Figuras' hill gather interesting
stone carved images. And 'Passagem Funda' is a cave where live a
great population of bats and from where the inhabitants criated
a lot of tales.
But the great assemblage of unforgetable attractions is the
waterfalls sequence ¾ from 'Itapecuru-zinho', which clear water
moves a hydroelectric, and more :
o 'Praia', 50 km, far one of the most beautiful waterfall of the
o 'Barra da Cabeceira', waterfalls together with granite
formation, similar to great walls;
o São Romão, surrounded by local vegetation and about 70 km far.
Finally, 'Pedra Caída' waterfall, 35 km far and the most known
of all. Its clear water which falls from 50 m high, over stone
walls until becaming pleasant rivers and creeks.
From São Luís to Carolina ¾ 680 km far there is a daily bus. The
way, therefore may include air trip, to Imperatriz, which is 270
km far from Carolina.
Hotels, Chalets and Restaurants Imperial Hotel ¾ Phone # (098)
731 - 11 15; Sansão Hotel ¾ Phone # 731 - 1371 / 731 1297; Maria
Hotel ¾ Phone # (098) 731-1282; Santa Rita ¾ Phone # (098) 731 -
1224; Pipes Hotel (on the other side of the river) ¾ Phone #
(063) 849 - 1115; Rio Lajes Chalet ¾ Phone # (098) 731 - 1348;
Pedra Caída Chalet ¾ Phone # (098) 731 - 1259.
Touristic assemblage of chalets, restaurants, sports fields,
natural swimming pool and waterfall.
Among restaurants, some are : K. Funé, Sol Poent, Cantina
Tropical, Baluka Restaurant and Trevo Barbecue House.
Parnaíba Delta, between Maranhão and Piauí States, is one of the
most beautiful and lovely natural spots of the world. And with
the advantage of keeping free from aggressions to its rich
ecosystem, which includes 2.700 km2 of area with dunes, sand
plain, about 80 isles of several dimensions, caju trees and
Caju island, one of the three biggest island, is an important
ecological sanctuary, where there are migratory birds and
animals in extinction. Besides creeks, shallow and limpid
reservation, Parnaíba Delta offers long virgin beaches sequence.
This truly ecological paradise in open sea is one of the three
biggest in the world and the only one in our continent.
São Luís island is surrounded by a calm sea with soft waves and
greenish water. There are approximately 40 km of beach that
makes anyone looking for
wide sand areas amazed, where the horizon gets lost and the sun,
that tans all year round, sets later. It hardly rains and when
it does it's always welcome to minimize the heat of a
temperature that even in witer goes below 22°C.
From 'Ponta D'Areia', São Marcos, Calhau, Caolho, Olho D'Agua,
Araçagi to 'Raposa' only one bech that hugs the island and gets
different names, and also changes the view. There are dunes,
hills and creeks, that follow the way to the ocean.
t that never will be put aside.
There is in Alcântara a reasonable touristic infrastructure,
hostages with 'Buriti'as a row material.
Barreirinhas needs a better touristic infrastructure, in order
to develop the hu