Arrombada Beach, in Luís Correia, Piauí

Piauí is a state in Northeast Brazil. It has the shortest coastline of any northeastern state. Piauí is one of the poorest states in Brazil, and the economy is largely agricultural.


Piauí was settled from the interior by cowboys and bandits. The battle of Jenipapo in 1823 - where a Piauíese militia suicidally gave battle to Portuguese regular soldiers - is largely credited with leading to the independence of the northern part of Brazil.

Piauí is home to three of Brazil's National Parks, including the oldest known inhabited site in the Americas: Serra da Capivara National Park. The state has the world's fourth largest river delta, which is especially a haven for birds.

The state is remote. It has a population of three million people, and less than a dozen foreign permanent residents. The Brazilian Federal Government once forgot to include Piauí in a map of the country, and the state has given it's name to Brazil's best-known satirical magazine.

Piauí is for travellers rather than tourists. Culturally, perhaps the state is the most authentically northeastern. The extreme heat shapes the culture. The state claims to be the birthplace of Forró music. Frank Aguiar, Brazil’s undisputed “King of Forró”, is Piauíese and sings about the state. Piauíese Milindô music is one of the roots of samba. Maracatu is a specifically north-eastern form of samba.

Carnaval in Piauí is modest but includes local traditions such as Bumba meu Boi, a dance involving people dressed as a bull. Teresina hosts the three-day Micarana festival in July, attracting top artists and visitors from all over Brazil - and no tourists.

South America's only opal mine is located at Pedro II. Local artisan products, including lacework, wood carving and leatherwork, are of a high standard.


Other destinations

Get in

Travel to Piauí in most cases will be by bus from other Brazilian states. Teresina has regular bus links to Fortaleza and São Luis and it is also possible to get a bus to Brasília or the big cities in the South-East (São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte) but these destinations are over 48 hours away by bus and the roads entering South Piauí are in a terrible state.

Teresina and Parnaíba both have small airports receiving domestic flights. Both airports are accredited to receive international flights. An Italian charter airline has occasional flights to Parnaíba. Generally the fastest (not necessarily cheapest) way to reach Piauí from abroad is a direct flight to Fortaleza, Ceará, and a connecting flight to Teresina. Most international flights to Piauí are routed through first São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro and then Brasilia.

Get around

Teresina is the hub from which to get around the state by bus. The bus north to Parnaíba takes 5-6 hours.


Sete Cidades National Park


The Piauiense coastline is one of Brazil's main crab-producing areas so on the coast don't miss out on all the crab specialities. The state also grows a lot of cashew trees - you can eat the fruit, the toasted nuts and they even make alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from the juice, not to mention caramelized sweets from the fruit itself.

Local specialities include:


Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.