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Maceio, Brazil

The capital of Brazil’s Alagoas state is a thriving city that started as a sugar mill and plantation in the 19th century. Today a fair percentage of the sugarcane is transformed into ethanol for fuel, and other industries include chemicals from deep brine wells tapping the springs that gave the town its name. Tourists make up the rest, attracted by the plentiful beaches, coconut plantations and the clear warm seas that surround the city.