The Lençóis Park is an invitation to contemplation and adventure
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Brazilian nature is so exuberant and the biodiversity so fantastic that, in Brazil, even the deserts have water. A lot of it. White sands and crystal clear water make up one of the most beautiful ecosystems in the northeastern coast, the national park of Lençóis Maranhenses. Seen from an airplane, at two thousand meters high, the Park looks like a large sheet extended over a one hundred-kilometer distance on the Atlantic coast of Maranhão and reaching fifty kilometers into the continent. A sheet printed with uncountable blue pools amid the blinding white sand dunes. A natural wonder doesn't begin to describe it. At sunset, the Lençóis Maranhenses would be an altar of rare beauty to admire the heavens. No other explanation exists: the national park of Lençóis Maranhenses is a place to see God.
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.
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.
The Parque Nacional dos Lençóis is an ecological paradise with 155,000 hectares of dunes, rivers, lakes and wetlands. A singular ecological phenomenon, its has been formed during thousands of years of wind movement. The landscape is astonishing wonderful: a white sandy carpet without end in sight, as if you were on a desert. Unlike a desert however, there is plenty of rain and rivers in the region. It is the rain that actually creates the Lencois and its landscape. The rain fills the uncountable lakes and the magnificent landscape. Some of the most famous lakes are the Lagoa Azul and the Lagoa Bonita for their beauty and excellent swimming conditions.
A few characteristics
One characteristic of Lençóis: the larger lagoons persevere, but some of the smaller ones dry out in the dry season only to come back at the beginning of the rainy season in March. A curious fact is that the dunes move around. A new view each day, marked by the contrast between the dunes and the lagoons. The wind is in charge of taking and bringing the sand, of making and unmaking dunes, and of changing the scenery each instant.
Another interesting characteristic is that there should be little biological diversity in a place apparently like a desert. This desert quality is only an appearance. This region houses several species of marine turtles as well as a rich microscopic fauna, which carries a fundamental role in the feeding and reproduction of animals and birds.
Barreirinhas is the portal to the national park of Lençóis Maranhenses. The name Barreirinhas (which means small sand barriers in Portuguese), originated from the fact that there are many sand barriers and sand dunes in the area. The visitors can also enjoy the River Preguiças (meaning 'lazy' in Portuguese), which is the most important river of the region. The river originates in the village of Barra da Campineira, city of Anapurús, and runs one hundred and twenty kilometers to its mouth, between Caburé and Atins.
From Barreirinhas until the ocean, the river winds lazily for forty-two kilometers, which in a straight line it would be a mere sixteen kilometers.
In Caburé there are many inns and restaurants established in the area between the beaches of the River Preguiças and the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, a distance that does not exceed eight hundred meters.