São Luís is a rich source of folk and indigenous art and artesanato. Located in a vast warehouse on the edge of Praia Grande, the state-run Centro de Artesanato (Rua São Pantaleão 1332, Madre de Deus, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun.) reunites souvenir-style handicrafts from around Maranhão including hand-painted azulejos, miniature Bumba-Meu-Boi bulls with embroidered costumes, lacework, and ceramics. You’ll also find doces and liqueurs made from local fruits such as buriti, bacuri, and cupuaçu.
In Praia Grande, there are lots of interesting little shops. Check out the market stalls at the Casa das Tulhas (Rua da Estrela, Praia Grande, 6 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 6 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat., 6 a.m.–1 p.m. Sun.).
Arte Indigena (Rua do Giz 66, tel. 98/3221-2940, Praia Grande, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–7 p.m. Sun.) features basketry, jewelry, and other objects made by Maranhense indigenous groups.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition