Perfect destination for those looking for adventure, extreme landscapes and a unique immersion in nature. Discover some places to visit in Lençóis Maranhenses
Walking on the white sands of the largest dune field in Brazil, cooling off in crystal clear lagoons and watching the sunset are unique experiences that you will take for the rest of your life. All this with the emotion of traveling in 4×4 vehicles specially adapted to the paradisiacal scenarios of the Maranhão sheets.
Those who prefer long walks and interaction with traditional communities, can choose to cross the dune field on foot, and have the experience of staying overnight in the oases of the tropical desert. The experience can be done in 4 days, spent in virgin lakes and friendly communities in the midst of the sheets.
THE Lencois Maranhenses National Park, located on the eastern coast of the state of maranhão, is the main tourist destination in the state. It is inserted in the Cerrado but has a strong influence of the caatinga and the Amazon, with common species being found in these 3 biomes.
Where to stay in Lençóis Maranhenses
The park can be visited from 3 municipalities in Maranhão, which have a structure for receiving and driving visitors, Barreirinhas, Santo Amaro and Atins.
Barreirinhas is the most famous municipality close to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park and has accommodation and food facilities and several tourist agencies provide tours to the national park. The city is crossed by the Preguiças River and has several other unmissable attractions in the region, such as the floating on the Formiga River, in Cardoso, Praia do Caburé and the friendly village of Mandacaru.
The village of Atins is close to the mouth of the Preguiças River, outside the national park, but very close to the dunes of the Maranhão sheets, making it possible to easily take long walks along the beach to the lagoons of the tropical desert. The village has a simple structure, being sought after by visitors who seek tranquility and a more intimate contact with nature and the local community. In Atins it is possible to practice sports such as kite surfing, wind surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle and surfing.
It is the closest municipality to Lençóis Maranhenses and makes it possible to access the park's lakes in light walks, lasting just 30 minutes. The highlights of the region are the Lagoa das Emendadas, the Lagoa da Andorinha and the Lagoa da Gaivota.
Things to do in Lençóis Maranhenses
Blue Lagoon Circuit
It is the most visited attraction of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. The attraction is 12 km from Barreirinhas, and along the way, visitors can visit the Preguiça lagoon, the Esmeralda lagoon, the Azul lagoon and the Peixe lagoon, the only perennial one that has water throughout the year. .
This attraction is the only one where there is permission for access by traction vehicle to the limits of the Preguiça lagoon, but only for visitors with limited mobility and upon communication and obtaining authorization from the National Park administration.
2 km away from the center of Santo Amaro, Lagoa da Gaivota is the main attraction in the municipality and is considered the most beautiful landscape in Lençóis Maranhenses. The attraction is located in a nesting area for seagulls, making it possible to observe the birds. Access can be made by walking or by 4×4 vehicle. On the way to the attraction it is possible to observe the Santo Amaro lake.
The lagoon is formed by a river course interrupted by the dunes of the park. The attraction is located in the town of Betânia, a few kilometers from Santo Amaro. The variation in the colors of the water and the landscape with the dune field in the background, makes visiting this attraction a unique experience.
Lagoon of Emendadas
Accessible only by walking, there are several lagoons that connect and reach kilometers in length. As it is an attraction inside the dune field, it allows the visitor to have a dimension of the size of Lençóis Maranhenses.
Song of Atins
Located inside the National Park, Canto dos Lençóis, formerly called Canto de Atins, is a small village formed by traditional fishermen. It has a beautiful view of the dune field and is close to the beach. The town has no electricity, but there are community restaurants that serve typical food and offer simple accommodation. It is a great support point to start the trekking and cross the dune field to the municipality of Santo Amaro.
Trekking (Primitive Zone)
It is undoubtedly the best attraction of Lençóis Maranhenses. The walks last up to 4 days, passing through virgin landscapes without the movement of tourists. The overnight stays are carried out in two communities in the middle of the park, being a great experience of interaction with the traditional population.
The villages of Queimada dos Britos and Baixa grande are located inside the dune field and can be considered a true oasis in the middle of the tropical desert. According to the zoning of the national park, these regions are the primitive zone, where visitation can only occur at minimal impact levels. In this way, it is forbidden to carry out sightseeing tours or visit the locality in motor vehicles of any kind.
The oases have the greatest diversity in vegetation and birds in the national park and have lagoons that are full for most of the year, both inside the oases and in the dune field.
How to get to Lençóis Maranhenses
The main cities that give access to the Parque Nacional dos Maranhão sheets are Barreirinhas and Santo Amaro do Maranhão, but there is also access via Humberto de Campos and Primeira Cruz.
The main access is via the MA-402 highway, with asphalt in good traffic conditions. Access to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park from Barreirinhas starts with crossing the Preguiças River by ferry. From then on, only vehicles with 4×4 traction equipped with snorkell travel.
To get to Santo Amaro it is necessary to take the MA-402 highway to the village of Sangue and from there to travel 36 km of sand trails, accessible only to vehicles with 4×4 traction equipped with snorkelling. The city has inns and restaurants and is less than 2 km from Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, which can be accessed on foot or in towed vehicles.
Access to the village of Atins is done by speedboats that leave the port of Barreirinhas and go to the final destination.
Best time to visit Lençóis Maranhenses
The eastern coast of Maranhão has two characteristic seasons throughout the year. The rainy season, from February to June, and the dry season, from July to January. After the rainy season, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park presents its most beautiful scenery, as the lagoons are at their maximum level.
As the dry season progresses, the lakes dry up little by little, arriving in November with a very low level. But it's good to make it clear, this all depends on the rain regime of the year, so it's always good to seek information from the park administration or the local tourism agency.
THE best time to visit Lençóis Maranhenses runs from May to September, but the unit is open to visitors throughout the year.
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