Lençois Maranhenses and the Route of Dunes
Lençóis (meaning bedsheet) Maranhenses (referring to the State of Maranhão) is a hidden paradise in the Northeast of Brazil. This is a unique landscape that combines white sand dunes with blue and emerald freshwater lagoons. The 155,000 ha (380,000-acre) of rolling sand dunes that resemble bedsheets, stretch from inland to the ocean adding 70km of coastline to its cinematographic views.
Try to make it there between April and September when the lagoons are at their best and the weather is more pleasant, a lifetime experience is venturing in a barefoot trekking crossing the National Park, staying in natives’ houses in tiny villages, having meals prepared by them, sleeping in hammocks and getting lost in the starry sky. Alternatively, if sleeping in hammocks is not your thing, there are plenty of good options of pousadas in the village of Atins.
Parnaíba River Delta
Following the coastline towards East, and right in between the states of Maranhão and Piauí, lies the Parnaíba River Delta – the largest Delta in open seas in the Americas and the third largest in the world! With dunes, mangrove forest, igarapés (a route that is navigable only by canoes and small vessels), freshwater lagoons and a wide range of wild animals, the Delta is a real ecological sanctuary and still very preserved.
Along the coast there are still many gems to come across: Barra Grande provides perfect wind conditions for kite/wind surfing (weather dependent) or lighter experiences such as kayaking, stand-up paddling, canoeing and wildlife spotting (crabs, birds, seahorses). Also, a great place to relax in the wooden bungalows spread across the beach sand that get the fresh breeze from the ocean.
A bit further ahead, now in the state of Ceará, is probably the most famous place on this route – Jericoacoara. Once a quiet and small fishing village, “Jeri” is today a vibrant destination full of hotels, pousadas, bars and restaurants… but able to keep its charms. However, our recommendation is to stay in the neighbor village of Preá. You can still get the action of Jeri during the day (or night) but staying in a more authentic and quieter fishing village.
This is one of the most breathtaking sceneries in Brazil where a peaceful atmosphere is set by the remoteness and immersion in nature, also by perceiving the simplicity in life of the local people.