Although Maranhão is considered to be a Northeast state, its wet climate, relatively lush vegetation, and significant indigenous influences announce your arrival into the threshold of the Amazon . Instead of parched Sertão, Maranhão’s interior is marked by rivers and the omnipresent babaçu palm, which provides Maranhenses with everything from soap and cooking oil to charcoal and timber.
Along the coast, particularly in the alluring, if somewhat dilapidated colonial cities of São Luís  and Alcântara , European and, especially, African influences, are more palpable, creating an intoxicating local culture.
Despite its relative poverty, the state capital of São Luís is easily one of Brazil ’s most beguiling and beautiful historic cities. There are enough historic and cultural attractions to keep you well occupied for at least three days—more if you come during June when the city plays host to the sumptuous Bumba-Meu-Boi festivities .
If you can squeeze in an extra few days, it’s worth taking a long, but unforgettable side trip from São Luís to the Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses , where you’ll be treated to a surreal landscape of endless white sand dunes dotted with thousands of tiny lakes.
In terms of weather, Maranhão’s rainy season lasts from January to June, but you can count on at least some rapid downpours all year-round.