I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I state that the restaurante da Luzia is a truly unique place. You will soon understand why. Getting there is quite an adventure. The easiest leg of the journey involves getting to São Luís do Maranhão, a three or four-hour flight depending on where you are in Brazil. In São Luís you will board a bus that will take you to Barreirinhas in four hours. Then you will take the boat that goes down the river Preguiças as far as Atins – a five-hour navigation. In Atins you will drench yourselves on sunblok and after a two-hour treck you will reach an isolated hut in the middle of the dunes with an unconscipicuous sign at the door that reads: “Restaurante da Luzia”.
Luzia lives with her husband and offspring on a hut in the middle of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. She was already there when the park was created, and now the authorities want to remove her from her home. There is no electricity or running water. A few tables are her dining room. One day a tourist that had lost his bearings appeared at the hut, and she cooked for him. It was an instant success. Since then, her prawns are a powerful magnet that attracts the few visitors that reach the remote area. Even the best description of the delicacies Luzia prepares wouldn’t do justice to her cooking. I won’t even try. The only way of paying her back is to recommend a visit to her restaurant. You can arrive there in the morning, book your lunch (there are only three tables, you have to order your dish so she can cook it beforehand), and go for a shortish trek around the nearby dunes.
Luzia also offers acommodation, including a few hammocks. Luxury you will not get. But at R$5 the night slept on the hammock (2006), you couldn’t really ask for more.