A visit to Penedo, Alagoas would not be complete, or for that matter worthwhile, without traveling on the "the old chico" down the São Francisco River to where it meets the sea. This is where this huge river of over 2,800 kilometers ends its journey. Guided tour boats leave the port of Piaçabuçu, a twenty minute ride from Penedo. They carry about ten people a piece for less than R$20 each for a two hour ride along the 13 kilometers to the mouth of the river. The beauty involves the shore line and the simple homes of fishermen to the fastastic and colorful fishing sailboats with their unique multi-colored sails. The adventure begins as you approach the mouth of the river and its encounter with the open sea. On one side are deserted beaches of the state of Alagoas and on the other the beaches of the State of Sergipe.
I am sure that your hotel or inn can arrange a tour right from Penedo with land transportation until you reach Piaçabuçu. Ask for discounts for those that can pronounce the name of the city correctly!!
For a change of pace, we stayed overnight at the Praia do Peba's Pousada Chez Julie. Simple, but right on the beach with a pool and air conditioning. The attraction of Peba, a district of Piaçabuçu, is its huge fleet of shrimp boats and the fact that its beach serves as its major artory.
After arriving in Penedo I took a stroll around the town. It was a Christmas day and the streets were quite empty which was the additional reason to keep taking pictures. Music was coming from almost every house. There is no doubt, Brazilians love to party!
Penedo displays beauty and history of Portuguese and Dutch colonial architecture that can be seen in churches, convents and mansions from the 17th and 18th centuries. It's a real trip to the past, to colonial Brazil.
Among its most significant and well preserved buildings are the Convento de Sao Francisco e Igreja de Nossa Senhora dos Anjos (Convent of Saint Francis and Church of Our Lady of the Angels), Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Corrente (Church of Our Lady of the Chains) and the Catedral de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Pretos (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Black People's Rosary). There is also Igreja de Sao Goncalo Garcia where one can find a set of life-size images representing the steps of the Passion of Christ.
The city is well worth a visit to enjoy the architectural richness. The collection of large family houses in an eclectic variety of styles from the first half of the 20th century is especially splendid.
more pic in the Travelogue
Rio Sao Francisco, locally referred to as Velho Chico (Old Francisco) is the longest river wholly within Brazil. It is 3160 km long and flows through five states: Minas Gerais, Bahia, Pernambuco, Sergipe and Alagoas, through the sertao region to the Antlantic Ocean.
Rio Sao Francisco is an attraction in itself, with its double sail propelled canoes, boats and ferries transporting people and products between the neighbouring cities. If you can, stay in Penedo more than one day to take advantage of the river tours. Besides its small beaches and fine sand islands, the river also allows the practice of watersports such as fishing, boat trips and canoeing. The sunrise and sunset provide one of the most unforgettable sights to the visitor.
Well worth visiting is Xingo Canyon which is located in the city of Caninde do Sao Francisco and is one of the most famous rocky formations in the area. There are imposing valleys forming a 50m high canyon, surrounding a lake. Nests of herons and fluvial islands complete the spectacld.
To get from Aracaju to Penedo, you have to take a bus to Neopolis first. Buses leave from Rodoviaria Nova and the company that runs is Coopertalse. The journey costs 9 RS.
Aracaju - Neopolis: 6:00, 13:15 (Mon-Sat); 7:15, 12:30 (Sun)
Neopolis - Aracaju: 8:20, 10:15, 14:20, 16:30 (Mon-Sat); 14:30, 17:25 (Sun)
From Neopolis there is a boat transfer across Rio Sao Francisco to Penedo.