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Alagoas South Coast Travel Guide

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South of Maceió lies surfing beaches, tiny fishing villages and the dazzling, ever-present coastline, with a mix of rusting and lovely, high-end pousadas (guesthouses).

 Map of South Coast of Alagoas Brazil

Map of the South Coast od Alagoas

MARECHAL DEODORO

The Portuguese first settled what is now the town of Marechal Deodoro in the 16th century; the original village was called Santa Maria Madalena da Lagoa do SuI. From the very beginning the town was subject to attacks by French troops, who hoped to gain a colonial foothold in the area.

Despite the invasions, the town grew and prospered through the time of the sugar boom in Brazil during the 17th century, even serving as the provincial capital of Alagoas until 1839. After the beginning of the First Republic era in the early 20th century, the town changed its name to honor its most illustrious son, the military commander (Marechal) Deodoro.

Deodoro officially proclaimed the First Republic in Brazil, in 1889, and served as its first president.

Today Marechal Deodoro is filled with traces of its colorful past.

The city's historic center, protected by Iphan (the Institute for National Artistic and Historical Heritage), features colonial houses, baroque churches, and neoclassical buildings.

City Hall is in the luxurious Palácio Provincial (Rua Doutor Tavares Bastos, Centro), the palace once housed the provincial government. The town does not attract visitors solely on account of its cultural heritage, however. It is also blessed by nature; a regional highlight is beautiful Praia do Frances, a beach whose name evokes the French invasions of early colonial times.

FRANCISCAN COMPLEX (SACRED ART MUSEUM)

The Igreja Santa Maria Madalena and Convento Franciscano are two of the most precious architectural treasures in all of Alagoas.

This single church and convent complex was built between 1684 and 1723. The buildings' baroque faҫades stand out against the simple old colonial homes that surround them. The interiors are
equally ornate, particularly the baroque carvings in the convent and José Elói's elaborate ceiling paintings in the church.

The Museu de Arte Sacra do Estado has been a part of the complex since 1984. The museum's collection includes some 200 sacred items from the 17th through 19th centuries, including sculptures, paintings, furniture, jewelry, and liturgical objects.

The statue of Nossa Senhora do Ó dates from the 17th century and is a highlight of the collection. From the same period is a crown belonging to the city's patron and protector, Nossa Senhora da
Conceiҫão.

The crown is still used to this day in the city's annual Epiphany processions. Guides from City Hall, some of them English-speaking, lead tours of the museum (Rua Praҫa João XXIII, Centro).

MARECHAL DEODORO'S HOUSE

The house of Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca (1827-1892) is one of the city's most popular attractions.

Though the building is a National Historical Monument, nothing remains of its original 18th -century architecture except for the faҫade.

The collection of paintings and furniture from Deodoro's time helps visitors imagine daily life in the Proclamation of the Republic era. Displays also feature Deodoro's various personal effects (Rua Marechal Deodoro, Centro).

FRANCES BEACH

The blue-green waters and fine white sands of Praia do Frances are eight kilometers from Marechal Deodoro.

A five-kilo meter strip of reefs just offshore creates a calm natural pool good for sailing, jet skiing, and banana boating. Other stretches of the beach are much choppier, with stronger waves, making them popular among surfers. The beach front scene is always busy, as the shore is crowded with bars and restaurants.

MASSAGUEIRA

The Massagueira district is 10 kilometers from Marechal Deodoro, on the shores of Lagoa Manguaba lagoon.

This simple fishing village is best known for its bars, which serve delicious seafood dishes of shrimp, crab, and sururu (a type of shellfish).

Broas (corn cakes) , meringues, and manioc cake are also popular, as are the coconut desserts sold along the road leading to the village.

BARRA DE SÃO MIGUEL

In 1556, Brazil's first bishop was eaten by Caeté Indians on a beach in this district, 33 kilometers from Maceió and 17 kilometers from Marechal Deodoro.

São Miguel has thankfully moved past this cannibalistic tragedy, and is now the most popular seaside resort in Alagoas. The area also hosts the Northeast's annual surfing championship, the Campeonato Nordestino de Surfe.

There are two beaches available to visitors: the calm, reef-protected waters of Niquim beach, and the stronger currents of São Miguel beach, which is very popular with surfers.

Both spots have reasonable hotel facilities. The area serves as a hub for excursions to Praia do Gunga and Praia de Barra do Jequiá, as well as the Dunas de Marapé dunes.

GUNGA BEACH

This large, isolated beach is covered in coconut groves, with the sea on one side and the freshwater Lagoa do Roteiro lagoon on the other.

Unfortunately, only patrons of the Enseada Hotel (and their guests) can access the beach by land.

Those who are not guests of the Enseada must hire a boat or schooner to make the 20-minute trip from the docks at Barra de São Miguel. At the docks you may also hire boats for trips to the mangrove forests along the Niquim River.

BARRA DO JEQUIÁ BEACH AND MARAPÉ DUNES

There are two major attractions in Jequiá da Praia, 68 kilometers (42 miles) south from Maceió and 35 kilometers (22 miles) south from Barra de São Miguel. The first is Praia de Barra do Jequiá, with its brilliant white sands and crystal clear waters at the mouth of the Jequiá River.

The other attraction is the resort complex at Dunas de Marapé. This cluster of guesthouses, restaurants, and kiosks faces scenic dunes and cliffs.

Jangadas (rafts) from the beach make frequent trips across the Rio Jequiá to Marapé.

 STRAW ART

Many travelers come to Coruripé, 57 kilometers (35 miles) south from Barra de São Miguel and 85 kilometers (53 miles) from Maceió, for its 30 kilometers of beautiful beaches.

But beaches are not the area's only attraction. The nearby village of Pontal do Coruripé, about 10 kilometers from the town center, features handicrafts made from the fronds of ouricuri palms.

Local artisans sell tablemats, bags, and many other pieces woven from this traditional material.

Alagoas South Coast Travel Guide - Brazil Travel Guide

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