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Discovering Lençois Maranhenses

Incredible, unforgettable, unimaginable, in asking my Brazilian friends to describe Lençois to me, the superlatives kept coming. The infinite dunes, the lagoons filled with crystal clear water, all tell me of fantastic landscapes. The region is primarily visited between May and August, when the lagoons are still full. From September, with the arrival of summer, the lagoons start drying out.

Barreirinhas, the gateway to Lençois 

The bus ride from Sao Luis is an experience. Despite the short distance, it takes 5 hours by coach to reach the small town of Barreirinhas, the main gateway to the park. Barreirinhas does not offer anything of interest to visitors but it is the ideal starting point to discover two of the most beautiful lagoons in the park.

To explore "Lagoa Azul", the excursion begins on a ferry that takes you to the other side of the river, followed by a 40 minute jeep ride through an inter dune landscape before climbing one of the dunes to discover blue-green water that you are already dreaming of plunging into. The contrast between the immensity of the dunes and the freshness that emerges from the lagoons is striking.

The inter dune landscape of Lençois

From Barreirinhas, it is also possible to visit Lagoa Bonita. Although a bit shorter, the journey passes through similar landscapes. At the site, clearer waters give a different quality to this lagoon. 

Atins, an endangered village

To the east of the park, Atins is a small town of 2000 inhabitants on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The city is also a gateway to the park.
It is often favoured over Barreirinhas by more adventurous travellers who find it more peaceful. Chased away by the torments of the Atlantic Ocean, the village is emptying of inhabitants little by little. The infrastructures are much more rudimentary but access to the dunes is easier.

3 km from the beach, after a walk through the dunes, the Green Lagoon is one of the best known in the region. Its name comes from the colour of the water that stagnates there after the rainy season. Clear water, above 30 degrees, in which it is good to swim. This excursion, easy to access, is even more incredible in the late afternoon, when the red sun of northern Brazil gradually sets on the stretches of sand.

Adeline Haverland
21 contributions
Updated 20 November 2015
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