Growing up in Brazil, I spent many summers at my grandparent's house in the northeastern city of Sao Luis, Maranhao. I always looked forward to all the family fun, endless beach days, and delicious food. But going back to visit as a grown up, I added one more to the list of Sao Luis favorites, which I didn't quite appreciate as a kid: the city's historic center, which just so happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site. #nbd
The streets of downtown Sao Luis are dripping with history, which I love! The city was founded by the French in 1612, then occupied by the Dutch before finally coming under Portuguese rule until the country's independence. The Portuguese were the ones who gave Sao Luis its trademark colonial architecture, which include the iconic "azulejo" tiles - they were used both as insulation against the scorching heat and decoration. There are more than three thousand lofts and manors throughout the historical heritage site, making it one of the largest in Brazil. Although a large number of them have been restored and revitelized, much of if still needs attention.
2) The weather is ALWAYS hot and humid, so wear appropriate clothes and drink plenty of water. Or better yet, coconut water.
3) Go in groups and/or with people who know their way around. Though it is a generally safe area, there can still be questionable characters lurking around.