The Lençóis Maranhenses are, in my opinion, one of the most wonderful places in Brazil. The beauty of the region, and the fact that mass tourism hasn’t reached it yet, explain why the Lençóis cause such a profound impact on its visitors. Have a look at the Google Maps link at the bottom of the entry to understand what the Lençóis are about. The Lençóis (in Portuguese, sheets), are a large desert in the state of Maranhão. A desert with a difference: between June and September the dunes share the space with lagoons formed by the accumulation of water fallen during the rainy season.
WE LIKE THE MOST: the wonderful and unique landscape, the sensation of being a remote place untouched by humans
WE LIKE THE LEAST: Barreirinhas, point of entry to the Lençóis, a horrible place; preparations being made for the arrival of mass tourism; the violation of the National Park rules with total impunity; the inexistent tourist infraestructure
HOW TO GET THERE: from São Luís you can get to the Lençóis by plane, van, regular bus, or taxi. There are regular buses leaving São Luís for Barreirinhas on a daily basis. The trip takes four hours. There are also private transfers that will get you there in three hours. Most hotels have details as the vans pick up the passengers from the hotels, early in the morning. It is also possible to reach the Lençóis coming from the east, from Fortaleza – a real adventure!
CAREFUL WITH: the merciless sun. You can’t go anywhere in the Lençóis if you don’t smear your skin first with tons of sunblock. Take plenty of water as well, you will find absolutely nothing for miles on end.
FAVOURITE PLACES: Caburé, the Pequenos Lençóis (small Lençóis), Luzia’s restaurant in canto de Atins, the Preguiças river, the Porto Preguiças Resort
PIECE OF ADVICE:
- the best time of the year to visit the Lençóis goes from June to September, when the rainy season has just ended and the lagoons are brimming with water. The rest of the year the lagoons are half empty, and some of them dry up completely. The rainy season goes from January to May. It can rain non-stop for several hours and even days.
- get away from Barreirinhas as soon as possible, and go down the river Preguiças for a pleasant stay in Caburé or Atins. Barreirinhas is only needed for two trips: the one that takes you to the southeastern part of the Lençóis, and the flyover on a small airplane over the Lençóis.
- there are several pousadas in Caburé offerring pretty basic accommodation. The pousadas have electricity generators, as the power lines haven’t reached there yet.
- there is some really affordable accommodation in Atins. In the Canto de Atins, even cheaper accommodation, right next to the Lençóis.
- when walking along the dunes, and to avoid rapid exhaustion, try to walk along the ridges, avoiding continuous ups and downs
- try to spend at least four nights in the region, it is wonderful enough to deserve that bit of your time
GOOGLE MAPS: Lençóis Maranhenses
PHOTOS: Lençóis Maranhenses
[Don’t forget to check out the list of other destinations already covered in this blog, here]
Category: Destination: Maranhão