São Francisco River

The São Francisco River is 240 kilometres long in Alagoas and crosses mountains, canyons and bathes historic colonial cities such as Penedo, Piranhas and Piaçabuçu.

The São Francisco River crosses mountains and canyons enchanting everyone and generating wealth to the riverside communities.

Due to the strength of the waters of the São Francisco River, at the beginning of the 20th century the Angiquinho Hydroelectric Plant was built and in the 1980s, the Xingó Hydroelectric Plant, which guarantees a large part of the energy of the Northeast.

With the damming of the waters, for the construction of the hydroelectric plant, an immense and deep lake was formed where boat trips are made between the majestic canyon, walls sculpted by nature that reach 80 metres high.

Affectionately called Velho Chico, the river was discovered in 1501. It was born in Minas Gerais and nature determined that it would flow sovereignly into the sea of Alagoas.

Tourism on the São Francisco River

1. Piaçabuçu

Piaçabuçu is 135 km from Maceió and has a population of 12,000 inhabitants. The name of the city comes from an indigenous origin meaning “Palmeira Grande”.

The village was founded in 1660 and became a city in 1952 – before it was part of the municipality of Penedo.

One of the biggest tourist attractions in Alagoas is in Piaçabuçu, at the mouth of the São Francisco River, a scene of indescribable beauty when its waters meet the sea.

The municipality has the largest shrimp bank in the Northeast and is an important fishing centre.

The Praia do Peba beach hosts an annual fishing competition in November.

The beach, 26 km long, is an Environmental Protection Area and is home to a rich ecosystem of mangroves, Atlantic forest, migratory birds, turtles, dunes and coconut trees.

2. Penedo

Penedo is 160 kilometres from Maceió and has a population of 60,000 inhabitants.

The city, built on a rock on the banks of the São Francisco River in the 16th century, is considered one of the most beautiful and oldest historical cities in the country.

What is striking about the city is its rich historical and cultural heritage centred on churches, convents and palaces from the 17th and 18th centuries that are still in a good state of preservation.

It became a city in 1842, and today its past is present in its architectural ensemble listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute.

On boat trips along the majestic São Francisco River, preferably at sunset, you can see enchanting landscapes on the islands and villages.

Penedo also has the Várzea da Marituba, a beautiful ecological reserve with peculiar vegetation.

São Francisco River Travel and Tourism Guide