Circuit of the northern Brazil with Terra Brazil
Search
Littoral nord
Return to principal map
Map
 

Circuit to the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Trip to the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Discover the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Circuits in the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
   

 


The Lençõis Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil

Jewels in the Brazilian crown, those infinite sand dunes scattered with crystal clear water lagoons, at some 6 miles from São Luís, are located in the National Park of Lençóis-Marahenses ("sheet of the Maranhão" in Portuguese).
These sheets consist of a desert about 63 mile long and 32 mile wide, alongside the Atlantic to the North, and surrounded by tropical forests to the South. Seen from the sky, the scenery is of a rare beauty: the dunes are molded by the wind and the trapped tropical rains have created immense pools of fresh, green and blue waters.

 
Visit the Lençõis  Maranhenses, the true pearl of Brazil
 
An original desert, exceptional treks

Superb, and unique, this place will intensely move you. Just think about it… crossing a desert of sand, similar to the Sahara, and swimming in unlikely natural pools…and all this in Brazil!
A walk in the heart of this wilderness will move you in a way you have never felt before.
Under an unmerciful sun and in an environment that reminds you of the Sahara, taking a swim at every possible moment and discovering unlikely villages your perseverance will be wholeheartedly rewarded.

It is superb and completely unique and should be classified among the Top 10 places to explore in South American on the same level as Iguaçu Falls, the Salar de Uyuni, the Argentinean Perito Moreno or even Machu Picchu in Peru.

Lencóis Maranhenses, discovery circuit
Day 1: SÃO LUIS – LENÇÓIS MARANHENSES – BARREIRINHAS

Departure from the hotel in a regular minibus at 05:15 in the company of our English-speaking guide.
A 4½-hour trip to Barreirinhas, quiet town washed by the waters of Río Preguiças.
After a short stroll in the village, transfer to the local airport.
Flight over the Lençóis (Cessna type plane – max 5/6 per – 30-minute flight – 87.5 miles).
As far as the eye can see, the desert offers us a unique vision of perfect dunes ornate with pools of clear water, sometimes green, sometimes blue.
We fly over two fishing communities located in the desert a few miles away from the shores.
We pass over the lagunas of do Peixe and Azul. The plane then takes the direction of Foz do Rio Preguiças, Atins, the light house of Mandacaru and Caburé along the coast.
For 5 minutes, the ocean under our eyes vacillates between the blue from the deep sea and the yellow, where it meets with the river.
Finally the plane follows the Preguiças Rio up-river until we reach Barreirinhas where we land on a dirt landing strip. Lunch in Barreirinhas.
In the afternoon, we leave to the discovery of the lagunas and dunes of the surrounding area. After an hour in a 4WD on rutted sandy tracks, we reach the desert.  Each one can walk independently at the discovery of the landscape hidden behind each dune and enjoy a cooling bath.
Return to Barreirinhas in the afternoon.
Economical option: without the flight, considerably cheaper, check with us.

Day 2: BARREIRINHAS - RIO PREGUIÇAS – CABURÉ

In the morning, by private motorboat, we follow Río Preguiças, until we reach the Atlantic Coast.
The shores of the river appear in their entire splendor: mangrove, igarapés (waterways), buritis, açaizeiros (a palm tree native to the rainforests of northern Brazil), coconut trees, tucunzeiros and never very far, a colorful fauna: herons, kingfishers and if we are lucky, guarás (a striking red ibis typical of this area).
As we approach the coastline, the dunes appear; we stop at Vassouras and at Mandacaru, a village endowed by a lighthouse offering from its top a panoramic view of the surroundings.
At the Rio’s Delta, we rest in the minuscule and picturesque village of Caburé.
The river runs along one side of the village while, on the other side of the dune, the ocean spreads over miles of deserted beaches.
Open program of a few hours allowing for bathing (fresh, brackish or salt water?), enjoying a nap in a hammock or taking a hike in the sand dunes.
Meals not included. Night in a pousada.

Day 3: CABURÉ – BARREIRINHAS – SÃO LUIS

In the morning, we follow the River in a motor canoe to Barreirinhas.
Lunch in Barreirinhas. Then around at 16:30 we take the road to São Luis in a regular minibus. 4½-hour trip through babaçu and buriti (2 varieties of palm trees) plantations. Arrival at the end of the day.
Meals not included. Night in a pousada.

 
The trek of the dunes, the traverse of Lençóis Maranhenses on foot
Day 1: LENÇÓIS MARANHENSES - BARREIRINHAS – CABURÉ

Departure from the hotel by regular minibus at 05:15 in the company of our local guide.
It is a 4½-hour trip to  Barreirinhas, quiet town washed by the waters of Rio Preguiças.
Open program in Barreirinhas to let you enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the village.
At around 13:00, we embark in a motor canoe to follow Rio Preguiças to the Atlantic coast.
The shores of the river appear in their entire splendor: mangrove, igarapés (waterways), buritis, açaizeiros (a palm tree native to the rainforests of northern Brazil), coconut trees, tucunzeiros and never very far, a colorful fauna: herons, kingfishers and if we are lucky, guarás (a striking red ibis typical of this area).
As we get closer to the coast, the dunes appear; we stop at Vassouras and at Mandacaru, where the lighthouse offers a wonderful view over the surroundings.
At the Rio’s Delta, we rest in the minuscule and picturesque village of Caburé.
The river runs on one side of the village while on the other side of the dune, the ocean spreads over miles of deserted beaches.
Open program of a few hours allowing for bathing (fresh, brackish or salt water), enjoying a nap in a hammock or taking a hike in the sand dunes.
Meals not included. Night in a pousada.
Note: The lagunas are filled from May to November. Between the month of December and the month of April, depending on precipitations, they can be more or less dry.
This season corresponds to the rainy season, characterized by short heavy showers.

Day 2: CABURÉ - ATINS – BAIXA GRANDE

Trek – 15 miles – 7 to 8-hour of actual walking– difficult
We leave at around 04:00, while it is still cool. From Caburé, we cross Rio Preguiças by “voadeira” –local small motorboat- towards the village of Atins, entryway to Lençóis Maranheses Park.
The dunes are still distant; we reach them either on horseback (1h20) or by car (20 minutes) depending on the season.
We then arrive in Canto do Atins a small village nestled in the dunes. It is about 05:00, the time with the nicest light, the dunes slowly reveal themselves under the caress of the first light of the rising sun behind our backs, as though as to carry us to the heart of the desert.
Our trek starts by a 2 to 3 hours walk on the shore, between dunes and ocean.
Then, we head west and slowly enter in the desert. Now we understand better the name of “Lençóis Maranhenses” (literally “the sheets of Maranhão”) given to the Natural Park: against the ocean, this endless succession of irregular dunes gives the impression of an immense wrinkled fabric.
The first lagunas appear, blue, green, of all shapes and forms (some of them reach a 1 mile in length and 2 meters in depth). They offer the possibilities of numerous refreshing and fun stops.
4 hours hiking and a few stops later and we reach Baixa Grande, an oasis in the middle of the dunes. We are welcome by Dona Dete and Sir Moici opening for us the doors of their modest home.
All included. Night in hammock in the home of a local person (basic comfort).
Note: The lagunas are filled from May to November. Between the month of December and the month of April, depending on precipitations, they can be more or less dry.
This period corresponds to the rainy season, characterized by short heavy showers.
During this time the program can be modified so that the excursion in the dunes takes us to an area where the lagunas are still full.

Day 3: BAIXA GRANDE – QUEIMADA DOS BRITOS

Trek – 5 miles – 3-hour of actual walking– difficulty: moderate
Morning departure for a short day. We cross the village of Baixa Grande. On the shores of Río Negro, we skirt a real wild orchard: arbol de Cajú, mirim, murici...
Once we leave the oasis, we return to the Saharan atmosphere of the Lençóis. We cross moderately steep dunes. We are surprised many times to discover natural pools in the heart of the desert. Their light colors are enchanting and it is a treat to swim in one of them.
We continue on to Queimadas dos Britos, an oasis greener than the one we left in the morning.
Dona Joana and Sir Raimundo welcome us with a “cafezinho”.
All included (cold lunch). Night in hammock in the house of a local host (basic comfort).

Day 4: QUEIMADA DOS BRITOS - SUCURUJÚ

Trek – 9 miles – 4 to 5-hour of actual walking – moderate
We leave the community early in the morning (around 05:00) to take advantage of the cool morning temperatures.
A few locals still travel through the desert on foot. Twice a month, they go to the ocean, work there a few days, and then return to the village with the product of fishing.
If we are lucky, we may encounter one of these caravans on the way or near a village.
For about 5 hours we slalom between dunes and lagunas to reach Sucuriú. The village is located at the limit of the desert; we enter in a zone of caatinga (a semiarid scrub forest), characterized by the increasing presence, as we enter deeper, of thorny trees, bushes and cacti.
Late morning, we arrive in Sucurujú, where we are hosted in the thatched roof (buriti palms) home of Dona Jardia and her family.
All included (cold lunch). Night in hammock in the house of a local host (basic comfort).

Day 5: SUCURUJÚ – BARREIRINHAS

Morning open in Sucurujú. After lunch, a 4WD picks us up and takes us to Barreirinhas (2½-hour drive). The driver is experienced and drives us over rutted sandy tracks in the middle of vegetation at times short, at time thick. Buriti palm trees, carnaúba, jatobá and Cajú trees abound in this swampy area.
Barreirinhas, with its well-maintained streets and its few hundreds of inhabitants, seems like a metropolis after the few days we just spent in the small desert communities …
We put our bags down at the pousada in the late afternoon.
Arrival in Barreirinhas in the late afternoon.
Lunch included. Dinner open. Night in a pousada.

Day 6: BARREIRINHAS – SÃO LUIS

Early morning, we head towards the small local airfield.
Flight over the Lençóis (Cessna type plane – max 5/6 per – 30-minute flight – 87.5 miles).
As far as the eye can see, the desert offers us a unique vision of perfect dunes ornate with pools of clear water, sometimes green, sometimes blue.
We fly over two fishing communities located in the desert a few miles away from the shores.
We pass over the lagunas of do Peixe and Azul. The plane then takes the direction of Foz do Rio Preguiças, Atins, the light house of Mandacaru and Caburé along the coast.
For 5 minutes, the ocean under our eyes vacillates between the blue from the deep sea and the yellow, where it meets with the river.
Finally the plane follows the Preguiças Rio up-river until we return to Barreirinhas.
We then leave in a motorboat to the visit of a “casa de farinha”. Real institutions, these corrugated steel and wooden planks shacks, nowadays only exist in rural areas.
This is where the manioc flour is produced, one of the most common basic food of Brazilians from the country. We get to witness the flour’s fabrication process, and if we are lucky, also see the workers in action.
We have time to stroll through the quiet town before departing for São Luis.
At around 16:30, we take the public minibus for a 4 ½-hour trip to the capital of Maranhão.
Meals not included. Night in a pousada.
Economical option: without the flight, considerably cheaper, check with us.

 
   

Mail : contact@terra-brazil.com -Terra Group agencies : Bolivia - Peru - Trekking - Terra Group - Sales conditions - Map of the site -
Brazil Tours, Brazil Trips - Brazil Travel Information - Brazil Tour Operator - Brazil Trekking Hiking - Brazil Rent-a-Car - Rio Carnival - Brazil Amazon Tours - Brazil Salvador de Bahia - Brazil Lencois Maranhenses - Brazil Buggy Tour - Paraty Tours and Trekking - Iguacu Waterfalls

© Terra Brazil 2011