São Luís is blessed with a chain of excellent beaches, all of which can be reached by bus from the Terminal de Integração. The surf can be dangerous and people drown every month, so take care. Swimming after sunset is not a good idea, as there are occasional attacks by sharks attracted by the kitchen waste dumped by ships offshore.

Ponta da Areia is the closest beach to the city centre, located by the ruins of the Forte São Marcos. Some 8km out of town, the dune beach of Calhau is larger and more scenic than Ponta da Areia: when the tide is out there is a lovely walk along the sands to Ponta da Areia, two hours’ leisurely stroll west. After Calhau comes Olho d’Agua, equally fine, close to the dunes but a bit windy and well developed with houses and beach kiosks. Araçagi, 19km out of town, is the loveliest beach of all, an expansive stretch of sand that’s also studded with bars and restaurants. It’s served by hourly buses, but unless you rent a car you won’t make it back the same day; there is a small hotel, though, the Araçagi Praia (98/3226-3299; R$121-180), which offers smart rooms.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Brazil features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Amazing new aerial images show uncontacted tribe in Brazil

Amazing new aerial images show uncontacted tribe in Brazil

Incredible aerial images of one of the Amazon rainforest's uncontacted tribes have been released by Survival International. The pictures, taken by photographer …

18 Nov 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil

A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil

Forget about virtual-reality roller coasters, the future of theme parks just got a whole lot raunchier. Developers in Brazil are planning to build an adults…

13 May 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
23 brilliant pictures of Brazil

23 brilliant pictures of Brazil

This year sees the Olympics and Paralympics take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If you're heading to Brazil to catch any of the sporting action, here are a fe…

04 Mar 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month