Rio Sao Francisco, Petrolina

4.7
#1 of 6 in Parks in Petrolina
Affectionately known as “Velho Chico”--“Old Frank”--, at 2,914 km (1,811 miles) long Rio Sao Francisco is the longest river to run entirely in Brazilian territory and cuts a blue-green course through five states, uniting the diverse regions. You will see several pretty colonial towns sitting on its banks, as well as impressive landscapes, including the desert backlands of Minas and Bahia, and the dramatic gorges of Alagoas. The natural power of the river has been harnessed by six hydroelectric plants, supplying electric power to the whole of Northeastern Brazil and then some. However, these dams, along with deforestation, and excessive agriculture changed the nature of Rio Sao Francisco, affecting fish populations and passage of larger boats. The history of the river is still celebrated today in songs and legends, and you can buy miniatures of the carrancas--a kind of grotesque--used to ward off river demons in souvenir shops across the country. Put Rio Sao Francisco at the forefront of your travel plans using our Petrolina trip itinerary maker.
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Rio Sao Francisco Reviews
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  • August 14, 2017
    Great place to go with family and friends, holds tour options such as motorboats, kayaks, jet sky, etc
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  • August 12, 2017
    Is, to me, thrilling the beauty, strength and important economic partner of the river of national integration, the only one who rises and flows into the country. Its waters, in Juazeiro and Petrolina (sub), are crystal clear and warm, a captive to the bath and to sports, in addition to tourism and beautiful sunset! My passion!
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  • July 29, 2017
    Great ride, beautiful scenery! Catamaran rides, swim in one incredible water. good trip for the whole family.
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Where to stay in Petrolina

Much of Petrolina’s activity centers around the snaking Sao Francisco River, and the majority of the city’s hotels can be found here. These vary in quality but offer easy access to restaurants, bars, and stores as well as the city of Juazeiro, which sits just across the bridge. Those who want to enjoy the youthful buzz and affordable eateries that the University provides should look for accommodations near or on Dom Malan Square. Smaller guesthouses and bed and breakfasts tend to be less expensive but are generally tucked away in residential areas.
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