We will tell you a few useful tips about Lencois Maranhenses, this wonderful place in the north east of Brazil, so you can plan your trip better.

Have you seen this incredible landscape with millions of dunes dotted with millions of green and blue lagoons?

Welcome to Lencois Marahenses in the north-east of Brazil. During the rainy period, from the end of January to the end of June, hundreds of ponds with blue and green waters form between the white sand dunes. This atypical place is not a mirage but a real landscape populated by dunes measuring up to 40 meters in height dotted with freshwater basins. Seen from the sky, Lençóis Maranhenses look like bedsheets, hence their name – the bed sheets of Maranhão – if one translated its name form Portuguese.

How were the Lencois Marahneses formed?

The trade winds that blow on the northern coast of Brazil have been bringing sand there for thousands of years. During the rainy season, between February and June, more than 2000mm of water can fall per year, which is quite a lot. The dry valleys turns into lagoons with crystal clear blue and green waters. The view is incredibly beautiful. The Park was created in 1981 to protect this fragile and special ecosystem.

When is best to visit Lencois Marahneses?

The North East of Brazil has tropical climate, the best time to go to the Lençóis de Maranhenses National Park is  between June and October. At the beginning of June, the rainy season ends, leaving the sandy lagoons filled with crystal clear water. At this time there are not too many tourists, so you will really feel like you are alone in the middle of this wonderful scenery.

How can I get to visit Lençóis Maranhenses National Park?

The best way to get to the park is to first fly into the São Luís International Airport (SLZ). From here it is highly recommended to book with a travel company the entire trip, as the logistics are complicated and this is by far not the place where you can book on the spot or organize the things on your own. There are three possible entrances to get to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park from São Luis: Santo Amaro, Barreirinhas or Atins. Santo Amaro is a small rustic village around 2-3h drive from Sao Luis. Barreirinhas is 260 km from São Luis, a 3 to 4 hour drive. Barreirinhas has a good infrastructure and is the most practical starting point for visiting the park, but it is not really special as such, apart from being located well logistically. Atins is a charming small fishing village further afield. Atins is more authentic, with a rustic feel and totally beautiful. All excursions take place in 4×4 with a guide.

How long should I spend in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park?

We recommend visiting the park from at least two locations, for more diversity. Ideally we recommend spending at least two full days in each location – in Santo Amaro, in Barreirinhas, and then in Atins. A week is a good amount of time to enjoy the scenery, practice some water sports, take a scenic flight and get around, as the distances take time here, especially due to unpaved roads.

What should I bring with me to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park?

You must avoid overloading your bags because in the middle of the day, the heat can be really high. Take something to cool off, plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat and a bathing suit to be able to swim in the fresh water basins. It can be windy, so also make sure to protect your camera or smartphone in waterproof pouches.

Can I visit Lençóis Maranhenses National Park by myself?

It is strictly forbidden, but also dangerous, to venture alone into the Lençóis Maranhenses national park. A local guide is therefore mandatory to prevent getting lost in the maze of dunes and lagoons! The park is really huge and one can easily be carried away in the wrong direction.

Can I take a scenic flight over Lençóis Maranhenses National Park?

Yes, one can also admire the Lençóis Maranhenses from the sky. Overflights of the park are performed in small 4-6 seater planes. Booking in advance is highly recommended, as availability can get tricky, especially in high season.

Where to stay in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park?

We know how important it is to choose the right place to stay when traveling. The size and location of the hotel can make or break a holiday. Boutique Travel Experts have selected the best boutique hotels in Lencois Maranhenses with great care. We can guarantee direct prices and will take care about your needs when you travel with children, a group of friends or if you want to organize a multi-generation reunion somewhere warm. Check out these nicest charming hotels along the Route of Emotions. Contact us to speak with bespoke travel designers if you need assistance in choosing the best beach villa, a good spa hotel, a room with a view, a place with great food, an all inclusive small hotel, a private retreat, something with more space, a special place or anything else. 

Our favourite hotels in Santo Amaro is Vila do Junco, in Barreirinhas it is Porto Preguicas Resort, and in Atins that is La Ferme de Georges. Please note that most of the hotels near the park are small and availability in the high season can be tight. We have a great selection of more options on our website.

What can I do in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park?

This is definitely a place for adventure seekers and active travellers.

Here you can do kitesurfing, surfing, horseriding, hiking, swimming in the lagoons and in the sea, buggy riding, Preguicas river boat trip, paddling on the river, visiting a lighthouse, taking a scenic flight, visiting a traditional farinha factory, visiting a handicraft center where they make buriti palmtree hats, floating along the Formiga river, trying super fresh giant shrimps and seafood etc. This is a great destination for solo travelers, couples and families alike.