São Luiz do Paraitinga

São Luiz do Paraitinga is a town and municipality in the Vale do Paraíba region, in São Paulo state. Its historical center, containing hundreds of constructions from the XIX century, is a national heritage site. Located in the middle of Serra do Mar State Park, an Atlantic rainforest reserve, the municipality of São Luiz do Paraitinga is also a popular destination for trekking and rafting.


Igreja Matriz São Luís de Tolosa.

The village of São Luiz e Santo Antonio do Paraitinga was founded in 1769 by bandeirantes. It did not have any significant economical activity until the second half of the XIX century, when coffee farming started. In 1873, the village was recognized as a city and changed name to São Luiz do Paraitinga.

As much of the Paraíba Valley, São Luiz do Paraitinga never recovered from the decline of coffee farming and became a stagnant - but wonderfully preserved - historical city. Eventually, the city's Carnival and traditional (caipira) events turned it into a magnet for both party-goers and those interested in cultural tourism. In 2002, São Luiz do Paraitinga was declared a resort municipality by the São Paulo state government, gaining access to special funding for the development of touristic activities.

In 2010, the city was struck by a flooding of the Paraitinga river, which greatly damaged part of the city's historical heritage. As response, in the same year, the historic center of São Luiz do Paraitinga was declared a national heritage, allowing the city to use federal funding for its reconstruction process.

As of 2014, the city's Historical Center has been practically entirely reconstructed.

Get in

By car

Access to São Luiz do Paraitinga is possible using Rodovia Osvaldo Cruz (SP-125) which links Taubaté to Ubatuba. From São Paulo or São José dos Campos, Taubaté can be reached using Rod. Presidente Dutra (SP-60/BR-116).

By bus

Intercity buses to São Luiz do Paraitinga depart from Taubaté and are operated by São José. Buses are not very frequent so it is better to reserve in advance. The bus trip takes about 1 hour and costs R$ 9,70 on weekends (as of June 2013).

Get around

The city center can be easily explored on foot. However, to explore the Serra do Mar State Park, it is necessary to use a car or to hire a tour agency, such as Paraitinga Turismo.


Praça Oswaldo Cruz.
R. Monstenhor Ignácio Giolia, ending at Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário.

The city of São Luiz do Paraitinga contains 437 constructions declared as heritage. Some of the most remarkable are:

  • Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário. Gothic-style church constructed in the end of the XIX century.
  • Igreja Matriz São Luiz de Toloza. The city's central church, originally constructed in the XIX century. The church was practically destroyed in the 2010 flooding, with the current building being reconstructed in May 2014.




São Luiz do Paraitinga offers a practically year-round agenda of traditional caipira cultural events.


São Luiz do Paraitinga is a city that takes pride on authenticity, so you won't find shops and markets selling general tourist trinkets. There are a only few handicraft shops, spread in the Historical Center. Check also the fairs at the Municipal Market.


São Luiz do Paraitinga's trademark dish is the afogado (stewed beef with cassava flour). It be tasted at the Municipal Market and at the city's various festivities. A popular snack is the pastel with corn flour.



Stay safe

São Luiz do Paraitinga is very safe for tourists. As you will quickly realize by yourself, however, most of the population of the city is relatively poor, so avoid displaying signs of wealth and don't mess up with the locals' affairs.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 27, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.