Barreirinhas Travel Blog› entry 99 of 107 › view all entries
KERRY - We decided to take the lazy way to visit Lencois Maranhenses National Park and book it through a tour company from Sao Luis. We didn't have a lot of time and were pretty tired so decided to let someone else take the stress out of the trip. It was an early start when we were picked up from our hotel at 5.10am but the bus ride was a god 5 hrs or so, meaning we could catch up on some z's on the way.
We arrived at the town of Barreinheiras at about 10am. It was a pretty small place and not that developed with dirt tracks for roads, but quite a few shops around. I was very surprised at how un-touristy it was, we thought we were back in Peru or Bolivia when we arrived!
We were dropped off at our pousada - Pousada de Rio, which was really nice and then had a quick change before we headed out for a jeep safari to the dunes. Our group had no other English people in it, and the guide did not speak English, but we made the best of it! The ride to the dunes involved taking a small ferry across one of the lakes to get to the main area of the national park. It was very very hot, and mosquitos were enjoying our white blood! We then had a drive of about 30 mins through savanah like terrain, with lots of humps and bumps. Our driver was excellent. I expected to see wild animals jumping out on us, but we only saw a few birds here and there!
We then parked up the 4 x 4 and walked for a couple of hours over and around some of the dunes, stopping at the various lakes and enjoying a refreshing swim in them! It was spectacular, the dunes were beautiful and the water was so lovely. The lakes were all fresh water as they are formed when it rains and looked gorgeous set against the sand and the clear blue sky. Some of the lakes had fish in, and one was even called Lagoa Peixe - fish lake as the fish in this were pretty large and enjoyed nibbling on us as we swam. It was so peaceful as well and not that crowded with tourists which was nice.
The afternoon was spent relaxing back at the Pousada before we hunted down a restaurant to have our dinner in. One piece of advice if you are going to Barreinheisas - make sure you have enough cash, as we went to the bank but it would not accept our card so we had to really budget for the next day! a lot of restautants accept credit cards, but cash is harder to get.
The next day was spent expolring more of the national park. We took a boat trip down the river and enjoyed the jungle like scenery. We stopped off at another area to view more dunes, which involved hauling ourselves up a rope to get to the top - the view was worth it though! We also stopped off at a lighthouse which we were able to climb and see the view of the park from the top, which was really great. The last stop was lunch at a beach . By this time we had made friends with some of our group, and the Brazilian hospitality shone through again! We wanted to enjoy some of the delicious seafood, but were stuck due to our lack of cash.Our new friends came to the rescue though, and offered to pay for our meal. It was really generous of them, and we were really touched. So we passed the afternoon eating and wandering along the beach getting to know our new friends getting by with pigeon portuguese and broken english.
It was a most enjoyable 2 days and we would highly recommend a trip to this national park. If you have more time then it is easy to organise the trip yourself and may be slightly cheaper. You can also organise a flight over the national park, but we had already seen the park from the air when we flew to Sao Luis!