Aparecida is 170 km away from the city of Sao Paulo and is located in the region called Vale do Paraiba. The town got its name because, in 1717, some fishermen found a figure of Our Lady of Aparecida in the Paraiba do Sul river. The miraculous fishing was taken as a sign that the religious vocation of the town was sacred.
In 1717, some fishermen were in charge of going to the Paraiba river to get some fish for the feast that the Santo Antonio de Guaratingueta Village was going to offer to Don Pedro de Almeida e Portugal, the Count of Assumar. They tried to catch fish several times, but the fishermen were unsuccessful. So they prayed to the Mother of God. After praying, they managed to get, with their nets, first the body and then the head of the saint’s figure. And then the nets were filled with fish. And so was born the devotion to Our Lady of Aparecida, patron saint of Brazil. This was the saint’s first miracle.
In 1745, the image was placed in a chapel which, in 1888, had to be expanded and became the Main Basilica, now called Old Basilica. The village also grew and became de town of Aparecida. Known worldwide, the town receives millions of people every year, coming from all parts of Brazil and abroad to show their faith to Brazil’s patron saint.
In town there are several old buildings and churches that allow visitors, and among them is the greatest Catholic temple in the country, the National Sanctuary, also called the New Basilica. Built in 1955 due to the growing number of devouts, the new temple is the largest religious pilgrimage center in Latin America.
The Passarela da Fe (Faith Overpass) connects the Old Basilica to the National Sanctuary. It is 389 meters long and is shaped like an “S”, in honor of Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Our Lady of Aparecida). The tourist complex in town also holds the Itaguaçu Harbor, which marks the place where the figure of Our Lady was found, the Missionario Bom Jesus Seminar, Morro do Cruzeiro, with sculptures representing the Via Crucis, and the Sao Beneditino Church, established in 1918.
Among the festivals that keep the town busy are Sao Beneditino, which occurs one week after Easter, and Nossa Senhora Aparecida, which happens every October with a festive novena at the National Sanctuary.
During Carnival, the town offers spiritual retreats and activities for those who seek healthy fun during the festive holiday.
Brazil is a widely Catholic country, and being so, it is full of beautiful churches. In Sao Paulo, also visit the Sao Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral and the Santo Antonio da Se Metropolitan Cathedral. Another interesting historical tour is through the churches in Minas Gerais. In Tiradentes, see Santo Antonio Church and in Sao Joao Del Rei, the Nossa Senhora do Pilar Basilica Cathedral.
Coming from abroad, you land at the São Paulo International Airport. If you are already in Brazil, the arrival can also be by the Congonhas airport.
In the city of Sao Paulo, at Tiete Bus Terminal, there are intermunicipal bus lines that go to Aparecida. Check ticket prices, route and schedule.
Personal or rental vehicles
You can rent a car in Sao Paulo and drive to Aparecida. Check out the route. There are toll charges on the way and you have to pay in cash.
Personal or rental vehicles
You can rent a car downtown and drive to the local attractions.
Depending on where you are and why you’re visiting (like pilgrimaging), you can get to the attractions on foot. This map may help you.
The most comfortable way of moving around town is by taxi. Check out the local companies that provide this service.