An introduction to the city of Maceió
Nicknamed “The Paradise of Waters,” located on the teeming coasts of Brazil, capital of the state of Alagoas, the city of Maceió proudly sits, its namesake derived from the Indian word that means water which flows out to the soil. A coastal city, development first began in the 19th century, after wood from the Jaragua bay began to attract ships. Soon enough, the city became a hub of sugar mills and plantations, a mecca for sugar, tobacco, coconut leather, and spices. After years of prosperity, the settlement finally flourished enough and became a village on December 5, 1815. Soon enough, after further success and growth, the village rose its way up and became the capital of the Alagoas state in 1839, and earned the title of “city”.
Now, the city of Maceió has a grand population of about 922,458 people, while the metropolitan area houses about 1,156,287 inhabitants. It covers about 511 kilometers squared of total land, and is elevated about 7 meters above sea level. The climate is tropical and temperate, with an average temperature of about 77°F. January brings with it the highest temperatures, bringing the average maximum up to about 90°F, while July afford the coolest temperatures, averaging a maximum of about 81°F. Rainfall is plentiful in Maceio due to the tropical rainforest within its boundaries. The city averages about 78 inches of rain annually, which oftentimes more than not proves to be disastrous due to the negative effect that over watering and flooding has on soil.
The previous industries of sugar and tobacco have been diminished- replaced by a growing reliance in the chemical sector. Oil is pumped from deep wells on the city’s outskirts, and ethanol is produced from the sugarcane, plentiful in the area. Like many other cities in the South American Coast, Maceió has also been profoundly affected by tourism, which has turned the city into a popular location for entertainment and culture. The city has a GDP of about 9 billion dollars, and has become a modern example of a port city turned tourist center. It includes neighborhoods that have been outfitted with tons of entertainment, including playgrounds, palm coconut trees, town squares, public football, nightclubs, basketball and volleyball fields, bars, tourist shops, residential buildings, banks, gambling houses, restaurants and hotels.
Since the times of muskets and colonization and the 19th and 20th centuries, however, the city has undergone plentiful change. Transformation has been kind to the small beach-city. Whereas in the past, ports would bring a constant flow of new settlers in, the job has seemed to settle on modern day airports. The Zumbi dos Palmares International Airport, located barely outside of the city offers the region to many international airports throughout the globe, including Italy and the United States, as well as to many cities within Brazil itself. The Port of Jaragua which created the settlement that eventually became Maceió, is no longer as significant, but was a pivotal location during the Brazilian colonial period; exporting tons of goods that would eventually help propel the nation into modern-day success and prosperity.
Historical buildings in Maceió are less plentiful and include the Cathedral of Our Lady of Pleasures, constructed in 1840, the Deodoro theatre, the Municipal Market, the Historical Institute Museum, and the FlorianoPeixoto Palace, the location of the seat of the State government. The city also houses the Federal University of Alagoas, which also acts as one of the main research centers in Brazil’s north eastern region. Shopping malls are plentiful, and theaters, both of the cinematic and performing arts variation dot the streets. Maceio is also the home to many museums, including the Theo Brandao Museum for folk and primitive arts, the Museum of the Historical and Geographical Institute of Alagoas for fine art and historical objects, the Pierre of Chalita Museum for fine arts, the Museum of Image and Music for photographic, cinematographic, and sound exhibitions, the Museum of sports, and the Museum of Natural History. Culturally relevant art can be found all around the city in markets, and the works from the community can be found almost everywhere.
Culture in the city is heavily reminiscent to that of the rest of Brazil. American jazz and rock are fairly famous, and all Brazilian styles are popular all over the city. In 2002, Maceio was elected the 2002 America’s Capital of Culture, by the ACC, and has a lot of international events that pertain to culture and the sciences.
A popular attraction in Maceió is the FestaJunina, a popular Portuguese celebration held annually on June 24th. These festivities take place on the tropical winter solstice, and begin on the eve of St. Anthony’s day until the beginning of Saint Peter’s day. These fifteen days are hectic and full of large crowds, fireworks, dancing, and bonfires, resembling a carnival, where masks and costumes are worn and food is served all throughout. The food in the city is primarily fished from the sea. Dishes mainly consist of lobsters, fishes, crabs and shrimps. Local recipes include cuscuz de tapioca, acaraje, tapioca, carne-de-sol, and the sururu, a locally renowned type of mollusk.
If you are looking for a place to stay in during your visit to Maceió, there are plenty to choose from. Hotels, hostels, which are shared living situations with other guests, as well as pousadas, Brazilian style bed and breakfasts all offer nice and comfortable shelter during the night. Among the popular hotels are the Hotel Matsubara, Maceió, the biggest and most luxurious hotel with a spectacular view, prices start at $116 USD, and the Melia Hotel Maceió, which sits right in the middle of some of the best beaches in the city, which starts at $120 USD. If you’re looking for something cheaper, you can look to the Ibis Hotel, a famed hotel with a beautiful view straight of the reefs, as well as some of the best in-hotel eating and drinking options of the entire selection for $77 a week, as well as the Hotel Ritz Praia Maceio, for a simple but peaceful hotel for $50 a week.
Places to Go
Still, the city retains most of its nautical-dependent roots, and remains city famous for its beautiful beaches and shimmering coasts. Many of the beaches, including the most popular ones, Praia do Gunga, Praia de Sao Miguel dos Milagres, Ipioca Beach, and Marape Dunes, as well as the Mundau lake offer many opportunities to really explore the depths of the sea. Scuba diving and snorkeling are fun activities that can’t be missed and, tours offer unique looks into the barrier reef. The color of the sea varies from green to blue, but is always clear and untainted by human influence, and provides an option for sailing and swimming that just can’t be missed. Beach activities are also plentiful, and the walkways are always dotted with shops that capture the culture and life of the beach-city.
The city of Maceió is a beautiful, picturesque destination that has a lot to offer to any of its many guests. It’s definitely a go-to location for anybody who loves to indulge in rich culture and experience different varieties of beaches and has a wide spectrum of activities and forms of entertainment to choose from.