Sao Luis Airport Mini Guide
Why Should I Visit Sao Luis?
Sao Luis is a very interesting city in the north east of Brazil and in many ways is unique. The city has been occupied by the Dutch
and the French
over the years adding to the cultural flavour of the city in a predominantly Portuguese
part of the world. The city is as well known for its old quarter as for the beautiful beaches that stretch in both directions along the coast. In the old part of the city, restoration has begun on the beautiful 18th and 19th century buildings, unique in having delightful tiled exterior walls giving it a Moorish feel.
How Can I Get to Sample This Beautiful City?
If you want to fly in, you can only reach it by internal flight to Marechal Cunha Machado Airport which, despite having international status, only accepts domestic flights. It’s easy enough to get a connection from Rio
or one of the other major international airports if travelling from outside Brazil. There isn’t a bus service to the airport so the only way to make the eleven mile journey into town is by taxi or hire car. Two taxi companies, Cururupa and Top Line, operate from the airport with competition keeping the fares low.
What is the Airport Like?
The airport was built in 1974 and the terminal was remodelled and extended in 2004 to enable it to accept international flights. Its layout is slightly unusual in having three air bridges connected to narrow zigzag aerial walkways to get you into the terminal building.
What’s the Procedure When I Land at Sao Luis?
After winding your way through the tunnel to the terminal building, you’ll be advised where to collect your bags. You can use the escalator or lifts to get to the baggage reclaim area and on into the arrivals hall. There, you’ll find the combined information and lost and found desk together with a Trapiche tourist information desk where you can book a taxi or find accommodation. There’s a post office should you need to send postcards but no bank, currency exchange or cash machines. You’ll have to wait until you get into the city to obtain cash. A single local car hire desk is found in the arrivals hall where you can collect your pre-booked car.
What can I do at the Airport on the Day I Leave?
Get your bags checked in then begin at the exhibition area. This is usually very interesting having a constantly changing series of art and photography exhibitions and sometimes displays of local crafts or dance. The only shop at the airport is a small kiosk but there is a decent restaurant, called the St Louis, which can take up much of your time as you savour delicious Brazilian food. For those in more of a hurry, there are a range of snack bars and an outlet of Fast Food Bob’s for take away.
Capital of Maranhao province, Sao Luis is unique amongst Brazilian cities in having a culture and identity all its own. This has been helped by the influence of nations that have claimed it over the years; Holland, France and Portugal. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its stunning architecture the exterior of which is covered with brilliant tile work.
For a great beach scene, try Ponta d’Areia, with white sand and an atmosphere enlivened with the sounds of reggae but be careful, the tides there are enormous with huge beaches disappearing completely at high tide.