Destination: Caburé

March 15, 2007 | By More

Caburé (Lençóis Maranhenses)

Caburé, in the state of Maranhão, is an exceptional and remote place. One of those magic places that have become harder to find. Almost completely unknown. For the authors of the Rough Guide to Brazil, for instance, Caburé doesn’t exist. Getting to Caburé is an adventure. Once there, you can forget any thoughts of comfort and luxury. In spite of all that, the atmosphere of the place, the magic, the vibe, is unique. Caburé would not even qualify as a small village. It’s just five pousadas and a few fishermen huts in a bar of sand between the Atlantic Ocean and the Preguiças river.

WE LIKE THE MOST: the remoteness of the place, the peace and quiet, the silence, beautiful nature all around

WE LIKE THE LEAST: not easy to get to Caburé, and once there, you have to play by the rules of the place: no electricity after 10pm, not a single shop where you can buy things like water (water can be obtained from the bars in the pousadas), the constant whipping of the sand

HOW TO GET THERE: there are no roads leading to Caburé. The easiest way to get to the little village is to board on Barreirinhas on a boat going down the river Preguiças. There is a regular boat that will take you to Caburé in 5 hours. It is really cheap, and its timetable changes according to the tides. Alternatively, there are voadeiras, speedboats, which reach Caburé in just under one hour. Otherwise, there are four-wheel drives going to Caburé through the dunes.

CAREFUL WITH: the merciless sun and the merciless sand; there are no shops in Caburé, you won’t be able to buy aspirins or sunblock; the electricity supply comes from generators that are switched off at night

FAVORITE PLACES: the river at sunset, the immensity of the beach on the side of the ocean, the mangrove swamp, the Pequenos Lençóis, the Mandacarú lighthouse


  • as explained above, there are no shops in Caburé, you need to take with you all your emergency supplies
  • in Caburé you can negotiate with a local boatman to take you both to Mandacarú and to Atins
  • a great trip from Caburé leaves up the Preguiças river; jump out of the boat where the Pequenos Lençóis start, and meet your boatman further up the river a couple of hours later at Vassouras. You will have entirely for yourselves one of the most spectacular landscapes in Brazil.
  • the best time of the year to go to Caburé coincides with the best time to visit the Lençóis Maranhenses, from June to September. The lagoons are brimming with water and the scenery is spectacular. During the rest of the year, there is a relentless strong wind blowing the entire time, and sand becomes a major problem – the pousadas in Caburé work 12 hours a day removing sand from inside their locations
  • walking along the beach towards the end of the sand bar, you will reach a mangrove swamp where, during the low tide, you will be able to spot scarlet ibis feeding

LINKS: There are no specific sites on Caburé on the internet.

WEATHER FORECAST: The weather in Barreirinhas for the next 10 days


PHOTOS: Lençóis Maranhenses

[Don’t forget to check out the list of other destinations already covered in this blog, here]

Lençóis Maranhenses

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Category: Destination: Maranhão

Comments (5)

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  1. Cathy says:

    This place sounds gorgeous,I would love to go when Im travelling in Brazil next June. Could you give me an idea of how much accomodation is & how could book it – would I need to call in advance or just turn up on the boat from Barreirinhas?

  2. Tony says:

    Cathy, June is a superb time to visit the region. It is still low season, there are only three or four pousadas in Caburé but you shouldn’t have any problems finding a room. Prices start from approximately R$80 per room per night (depending on how long you stay you might be able to bargain a bit).

    Make sure you are in São Luís around the 20-25 of June, it’s the highlight of the unforgettable bumba-meu-boi festival.

  3. Shawn says:

    Hi Tony,

    We’re planning a trip to north Brazil in late-June and have really been using your blog as our main resource, so I hope you won’t mind me picking your brain over the next month. Is the bumba-meu-boi festival always 20th-25th?

    Also, do you think the best route from Rio would look like this: Rio -> Barreiras -> Cabure -> Lençóis Maranhenses – > Sao Luis? Could you take a stab at travel times between these places?

    thanks so much for this blog – it really educates us interested-travellers.


  4. Tony says:

    Shawn, for info on the bumba-meu-boi and dates check out the entry Bumba-meu-boi. I wouldn’t arrive in Maranhão before the 23rd.

    The only entrance point to the region is São Luís, you can’t fly to Barreirinhas. From São Luís to Barreirinhas, 4 hours by bus. From Barreirinhas to Caburé, 2 hours on a speedboat. Then back to Barreirinhas and back to São Luís. Stay at least one night in Barreirinhas and the rest in Caburé/Atins.

    The Lençóis Maranhenses are visited from Barreirinhas (1/2 trip), Caburé and Atins (half-day and full-day trips).

  5. Tony says:

    If you have any questions about Caburé you can ask at our Facebook page and we will give you an answer as soon as we can.