Cycling on the Island of Love

A bike ride and two very special places to visit on the Island of Love, São Luís Island: a coffee in nature and a bath in the Mangue Seco!

Author: Laís Souza
Leia em Português.

Holidays and a global pandemic, what is there to do? So much energy to spend, so much will to live, to feel, to get together, to share Jesus’ moment of rebirth, but also that of each human being, thanking him for our health and another day of life. It was with this mentality and energy that five young people decided to embark on an adventure to get to know the Island of Love, which is another name for São Luís Island or Upaon-açu Island, by bike.

The approximate route was 60 kilometres and promised a whole day of physical effort, but also  a day of beautiful landscapes, high vibrations and good encounters. The Island of Love, despite being surrounded by a river and the sea, is also an urban area with few places that value nature. But Viveiro Tracoá, a place that is like a small zoo, manages to carefully preserve the beauties of nature in a very pleasant environment to have breakfast in. It also offers games and activities for children and adults. Another special point, recently discovered by the inhabitants of the island, is the beach of Mangue Seco. Full of beauty, it is necessary to cross the mangrove, full of small crabs, until you reach the beach where the tide can be high or very low, making you walk on a wide strip of sand to reach the warm sea water. The bath is a delight.

The journey started in the Jardim Renascença neighbourhood at 7 am along the beautiful waterfront of Litorânea avenue, with its striking statue of the fishermen. With the extension of the new stretch of Litorânea avenue, we were able to cycle for 9 kilometres beside the sea and in the meantime drink a R$ 2 sweet coconut water at Coco do Negão in Olho d’Água

The next stop was to meet up with Ana Rosa on Avenida dos Holandeses, who I hadn’t seen for over 5 years! After several uphill rides which gave our legs a good workout, we found Ana and made a stop at a post to breathe a little and stand under a parasol, since the São Luís sun at 8:30 am was already very strong.

Then, leaving Avenida dos Holandeses and taking the road to Ribamar, we had 16 kilometres until arriving at Viveiro Tracoá. The stretch is reasonably flat, but there were slopes that at times required us to stop in the shade for a short rest and to drink water.

After about 50 minutes of pedaling, we got to the end of the road to Ribamar and successfully arrived at Viveiro, where we were able to take off our shoes and feel the energy of nature even more. We had a very tasty breakfast that included typical northeastern Brazilian delicacies, strolled through the small zoo that had rheas, goats, guineafowls, and other animals. And then we went on to the activities. Besides us, only two families were enjoying the place, it was very quiet. There was a game of chess, table soccer and we stretched to restore energy and move on to our next destination.

It was almost 1 pm and the sun was now stronger than ever. We protected ourselves with lots of sunscreen and followed the road back to Ribamar. This time it took us around 1:10 hours to pedal 16 kilometres since we stopped a few times. After accomplishing this leg of the ride, we could only think of the beach to finally cool off!

We stopped at Ana’s relatives’ house to get some water and we got an impromptu history lesson about the variation of the tide, the lifestyle of the community there and of the family. It was great to be able to enjoy such a special place knowing more about the people who live there.

Going crazy just thinking about the beach, we had to cross the mangrove and a small river, which already relieved us of some of the heat. When we arrived, we found Dona Rosa’s beach stall, an open area with some tables and a small closed area including a kitchen and probably a family’s home. We put on our bathing suits and right after ordering the food, we went into that warm water to relax the body. It was wonderful. Then we went back and enjoyed the Peixada Escabeche, a traditional dish from the island – whch was very well served.

Returning from the sea, the marinated fish was ready and just waiting for us, and it was delicious, too. We rested a little and at 5 pm we prepared to return, as the tide was low at 4:40 pm, it was easy to return by bike through the sand on the beach, looking directly at the sunset. The landscape was beautiful!

Ana separated from us at Araçagi beach, closer to her home. We still had to continue until Renascença, another 12 kilometres. With the sun setting, we witnessed the sky turning into beautiful oranges and reds, until night fell. But we wanted to ride to infinity! We were feeling great! What delicious 12 kilometres!

Arriving at the end of the Litorânea, we went up to the main street and returned home, arriving at 7 pm! That is, we were 12 hours away from home and pedaled for 8:30 hours! It was an incredible and perfect ride.

Without a doubt, on that Good Friday we finished the day full of adrenaline, endorphins, natural dopamine and a feeling of satisfaction from another day very well spent, with great meetings and nature’s wonderful energy. Watch the video below to see the entire journey!

There are several possible routes on the Island of Love that you can ride by bike, and biking groups have noticeably become more and more, especially during this pandemic.

Bikes allow for more distant trips and give you a different perspective of the city, giving you a huge sense of freedom, and we come to understand our surroundings better, in addition to being a great activity for the mind and body.

What about you – when’s your next bike tour?

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