Bacabal, Brazil

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Bacabal, Brazil

Region: Maranhão

Geographic Coordinates: -4.225000, -44.780000
Climate: Data not available.
Population: 100014
Language: Portuguese

Bacabal, Located in the state of Maranhão in northeastern Brazil, Is a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Nestled on the banks of the Mearim River, Bacabal offers visitors a unique blend of historical landmarks, Lively festivals, And stunning landscapes. One of the highlights of Bacabal is its historic center. Here, You can wander through charming streets lined with colorful colonial buildings that reflect the city’s past as an important trading hub during the rubber boom. The Cathedral of St. Sebastian stands as an iconic symbol with its striking architecture and intricate details.

Nearby, You’ll find Praça do Bolo de Bacaba, A square known for its delicious bacaba cake made from a local palm fruit. For nature enthusiasts, Bacabal is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes waiting to be explored. Just outside the city lies Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon), A serene oasis where visitors can relax amidst lush vegetation and crystal-clear waters. It’s an ideal spot for swimming or simply enjoying a picnic by the shore. Another must-visit destination near Bacabal is Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses (Lençóis Maranhenses National Park).

This unique park encompasses over 1500 square kilometers of sand dunes dotted with countless freshwater lagoons formed during rainy seasons—a true natural wonder that offers unforgettable experiences like sandboarding or hiking through this mesmerizing landscape. In addition to its natural beauty, Bacabal hosts several vibrant festivals throughout the year that showcase local traditions and folklore. One such event is Festa do Bumba Meu Boi—an annual celebration featuring music performances, Colorful costumes, And theatrical presentations depicting stories from Brazilian folklore. Cuisine plays an essential role in experiencing Bacabal’s culture too.

Indulge your taste buds in regional delicacies like arroz de cuxá (a rice dish flavored with spices) or try traditional dishes made with local ingredients such as fish, Cassava, And coconut milk. The city also boasts a lively street food scene where you can savor mouthwatering snacks like acarajé (deep-fried balls of black-eyed pea dough filled with shrimp) or tapioca crepes filled with various savory or sweet fillings. Hospitality is deeply ingrained in the local culture, And visitors to Bacabal will be warmly welcomed by its friendly residents.

The city offers a range of accommodations to suit different budgets, From cozy guesthouses to modern hotels. Bacabal is a hidden gem in northeastern Brazil that offers an array of experiences for travelers seeking history, Nature, And cultural immersion. With its charming historic center, Stunning natural landscapes including Lagoa Verde and Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Vibrant festivals like Festa do Bumba Meu Boi, Mouthwatering cuisine featuring regional flavors, And warm hospitality from its locals—Bacabal truly has something for everyone.

Important Landmarks

  1. Praça Silva Neto: This central square is the heart of Bacabal and a popular meeting point for locals. It features a beautiful fountain, gardens, and benches where people gather to relax.
  2. Igreja Matriz de São Sebastião: Also known as the Bacabal Cathedral, this church is an important religious site in the city. Its architecture showcases a mix of colonial and modern styles.
  3. Balneário Águas Belas: Located on the outskirts of Bacabal, this natural park offers visitors an opportunity to swim in clear waters surrounded by lush greenery. It’s an ideal spot for picnics or family outings.
  4. Mercado Municipal de Bacabal: The municipal market is a vibrant place where you can experience local culture and find fresh produce, handicrafts, clothing, and regional delicacies like tapioca pancakes or açai bowls.
  5. Lagoa Verde: A popular recreational area near Bacabal known for its greenish-hued lake surrounded by dense vegetation. Visitors can rent paddleboats or simply enjoy the tranquility of nature.
  6. Parque Ambiental da Raposa: Situated on the banks of Rio Mearim (Mearim River), this park offers walking trails through preserved forest areas with native flora and fauna.
  7. Museu Histórico e Artístico de Bacabal (MHAB): This small museum showcases local history through exhibits featuring artifacts from indigenous cultures as well as colonial-era objects related to sugar cane production.
  8. Bacaba Tree Monument – Located at Praça Silva Neto; it’s a symbol of Maranhão State due to its fruit called bacaba. The monument represents the importance of this fruit to the local economy.

These landmarks and attractions offer visitors a glimpse into Bacabal’s history, nature, and cultural heritage.

Primary Industries

Key Industries in Bacabal’s Economy

  • 1. Agriculture: Bacabal is known for its agricultural production, particularly in crops such as rice, beans, corn, and soybeans. The region also has significant livestock farming, including cattle and poultry.
  • 2. Food Processing: There are numerous food processing companies in Bacabal that specialize in transforming agricultural products into finished goods. This includes rice mills, grain processing plants, meatpacking facilities, and dairy product manufacturers.
  • 3. Commerce and Retail: Bacabal serves as a commercial hub for the surrounding rural areas. The city has a bustling retail sector with various shops selling clothing, electronics, household goods, and other consumer products.
  • 4. Construction: The construction industry plays a vital role in Bacabal’s economic development due to ongoing infrastructure projects and urban expansion within the city.
  • 5. Services Sector: As an urban center with a growing population, there is a significant presence of service-based businesses such as healthcare facilities (hospitals and clinics), educational institutions (schools and colleges), banks hotels/restaurants/tourism services.
  • 6. Transportation: Given its strategic location on major transportation routes (such as BR-316 highway), Bacabal has transportation-related businesses like logistics companies providing freight services or public transportation operators offering bus services within the city.
  • 7. Manufacturing Industries: While not as prominent as some other sectors mentioned above but still present are manufacturing industries involved in producing textiles/apparel/clothing items or small-scale industrial units involved in metalworking/woodworking activities.

It’s important to note that this list is not exhaustive but provides an overview of some key industries present in Bacabal’s economy.

Noteable History

  1. Founding: Bacabal was founded on April 18, 1924, by Colonel Luís Alves de Lima e Silva, who was also known as Duque de Caxias. The city’s name comes from an indigenous term meaning many bacabas (a type of palm tree).
  2. Economic Development: Bacabal experienced rapid economic growth in the mid-20th century due to the expansion of cotton cultivation and trade. It became one of the main cotton-producing regions in Brazil.
  3. Raimundo Teixeira Mendes: Raimundo Teixeira Mendes was born in Bacabal on May 7, 1855. He was a renowned mathematician and philosopher who played an essential role in the development of Brazilian education.
  4. Cultural Heritage: The culture of Bacabal is deeply rooted in folklore and traditional festivities such as Bumba-Meu-Boi (a popular Brazilian folk festival) and Tambor de Crioula (an Afro-Brazilian dance form). These cultural practices have been passed down through generations.
  5. Political Figures: Several politicians from Bacabal have made their mark at regional and state levels throughout history. Some notable figures include José Sarney, who served as President of Brazil from 1985 to 1990; João Alberto Souza, former senator; Roberto Costa Filho, current state representative; among others.

While these events and individuals may not have gained worldwide recognition or significantly impacted global history, they hold significance within the local context of Bacabal and contribute to its cultural heritage and regional development.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Casa de Cultura de Bacabal – This cultural center showcases local art and hosts various exhibitions, performances, and workshops.
  2. Museu do Cimento – A unique museum dedicated to the history of cement production in the region, featuring machinery, artifacts, and informative displays.
  3. Igreja Matriz de São Francisco das Chagas – The main church of Bacabal known for its beautiful architecture and religious significance.
  4. Parque Ambiental da Raposa – A serene park with lush greenery, walking trails, picnic spots, and a lake where visitors can relax amidst nature.
  5. Monumento ao Trabalhador Rural – A monument paying tribute to rural workers in the region, representing their importance to Bacabal’s economy.
  6. Praça Silva Neto – The central square of Bacabal surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes; a great place for people-watching or enjoying local street food.
  7. Estádio Correão – If you’re a sports enthusiast or want to experience Brazilian football culture firsthand, catch a match at this local stadium.
  8. Feira Livre Municipal de Bacabal – Visit this bustling open-air market to explore local produce, handicrafts clothing items as well as taste traditional street food.
  9. Memorial Frei Epifânio D’Abadia e Núcleo Educativo Ambiental (NEA) – An educational center that offers insights into environmental conservation efforts while honoring Frei Epifânio D’Abadia’s legacy as an advocate for sustainable development in the region.
  10. Rio Mearim Beach Park (Parque Aquático Rio Mearim) – Located on the banks of Rio Mearim river outside Bacabal city center; it features water slides pools offering fun-filled activities for families and friends during hot summer days.

Sports Teams

  1. Bacabal Esporte Clube (BEC): Founded in 1976, BEC has had its fair share of successes and challenges throughout the years. The club has participated in several editions of the Campeonato Maranhense, which is the top-tier football league in the state of Maranhão. Although they have not won any major championships, BEC has consistently been a competitive team.
  2. Sociedade Imperatriz de Desportos: Although not based in Bacabal itself but rather in neighboring Imperatriz city, this team has garnered support from football fans across Maranhão. They have achieved significant success and have represented the region at national competitions like Copa do Brasil.
  3. Moto Club de São Luís: Another prominent club from Maranhão’s capital city São Luís, Moto Club enjoys a strong fan base even among people living in Bacabal due to geographical proximity.

It’s important to note that while these teams may have supporters or influence within Bacabal due to their regional significance or proximity, they are not originally based or historically associated with the city itself.

Cultural Events

  1. Festa do Peixe (Fish Festival): This festival celebrates the abundance of fish in the region. It includes various activities such as fishing competitions, culinary contests, live music performances, and a parade.
  2. Carnaval: Bacabal hosts its own version of the famous Brazilian Carnaval. The city comes alive with vibrant parades, samba dancers, music concerts, street parties, and costume contests.
  3. Festival Junino: Also known as São João Festival or June Festival, this event celebrates traditional Brazilian folklore and rural traditions. It features typical dances like quadrilha (square dance), bonfire celebrations, food stalls serving local delicacies like corn-based dishes and sweet treats.
  4. ExpoBacabal: This agricultural fair showcases the region’s agricultural products and livestock breeding industry. It includes exhibitions of cattle breeds, horse shows, farming equipment displays, trade fairs for local products, concerts by popular artists or bands.
  5. Festejo de Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Feast of Our Lady of Conception): A religious festival held in honor of the city’s patron saint – Our Lady of Conception – featuring processions through the streets with a statue of the saint accompanied by prayers and songs.
  6. Semana Cultural de Bacabal (Cultural Week): This week-long event is dedicated to promoting local arts and culture through exhibitions showcasing visual arts such as paintings and sculptures by regional artists; theater performances; poetry recitals; workshops on crafts; dance presentations; musical concerts featuring different genres including traditional Brazilian music styles such as forró or sertanejo.

These are just a few examples among many other events that may be organized throughout the year in Bacabal to celebrate its rich cultural heritage.


  1. Churrascaria do Gaúcho: A famous Brazilian steakhouse known for its delicious grilled meats and traditional Brazilian side dishes.
  2. Restaurante Casa de Taipa: This restaurant offers a variety of regional dishes, including fish stews, grilled shrimp, and traditional Maranhão cuisine.
  3. Pizzaria e Restaurante Dom Bosco: Known for its wood-fired pizzas with a variety of toppings and flavors.
  4. Restaurante Sabor & Arte: A cozy restaurant that serves a mix of Brazilian and international dishes, including seafood, pasta, steaks, and vegetarian options.
  5. Churrascaria O Rei do Gado: Another popular churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) that offers an all-you-can-eat buffet with an extensive selection of meats.
  6. Pastel da Tia Jô: A local favorite for pastels (fried pastry turnovers) filled with various savory fillings like cheese, beef, chicken or shrimp.
  7. Sorveteria Kibon Bacabal: A well-known ice cream parlor offering a wide range of flavors and toppings to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  8. Bar e Lanchonete do Pará: This bar/lounge serves typical Brazilian snacks such as coxinha (chicken croquettes), empadas (savory pastries), sandwiches, and cold beers.

These are just a few examples; there are many other local eateries in Bacabal where you can explore the rich culinary traditions of the region.

Parks and Recreation

  1. Praça da Matriz: This is the main square of Bacabal, where locals gather for events and socializing. It has green spaces, benches, and a playground.
  2. Parque Ambiental da Raposa: A beautiful park with walking trails, picnic areas, sports fields, and a lake where visitors can rent paddleboats.
  3. Parque do Açude Grande: Located near the city center, this park features a large artificial lake where people can fish or rent rowboats. There are also jogging tracks and sports courts.
  4. Balneário Águas Termais: This thermal water complex offers swimming pools with warm mineral water believed to have therapeutic properties.
  5. Clube Recreativo de Bacabal (CRB): It is a private club that offers various recreational activities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, soccer fields, gymnasiums for different sports like basketball and volleyball.
  6. Cine Teatro Belas Artes: This theater hosts cultural events such as plays, concerts, dance performances which provide entertainment to the residents of Bacabal.
  7. Lagoa Verde Ecological Park: Located just outside of Bacabal city limits but easily accessible by car or public transportation; it features hiking trails through lush vegetation leading to a beautiful green lagoon where visitors can swim or relax in nature.

These are just some examples of public parks and recreational activities available in Bacabal; there may be more options depending on personal preferences and seasonal events happening in the area.


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