Lençóis Maranhenses is a region located in the northeast coast of Maranhão within 250 km of Saint Louis and comprises the municipalities of the first cross, Humberto de Campos and Barreirinhas, the latter being the gateway for tourists. It is worth mentioning that this is not a region. Is a unique place in the world because of the local peculiarities: a true desert of white sand dotted with ponds of all colors, sizes and types. A landscape that impresses both that foreigners of various nationalities vying for space in the dunes with Brazilians and give a cosmopolitan touch to the place.
To meet the sheets with a certain comfort, three days are enough. In Barreirinhas there are several agencies that promote tours and believe me, you’re going to need them. Explain why: the dunes and lagoons are not so close of Barreirinhas and access is complicated. Only 4 x 4 vehicles adapted to the conditions of the region can win the tough natural obstacles like soft sand, streams and steep dunes. In addition, you have to know very well the region because it is a maze of dunes anything flagged. Very easy to get lost and that’s the last thing that the tourist could want: getting lost in a “desert”.
Many people wonder what is the best time of year to visit the sheets and it makes huge difference in planning your trip. The ponds are formed by rainwaters that fall in abundance in the first half. Therefore, the months of the beginning of the second semester are the most suitable, if you want to enjoy crystal clear waters. As the end of the year approaches, most ponds drying. Only a few are Evergreen and have water all year round. That detail completely changes the experience of meeting the sheets.
Among the various tours that we can do in the region, highlight three: Blue Lagoon, Beautiful Lagoon and Santo Amaro.
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular in the region due to its easy access. It is also where you will find more tourists bathing. Is a good option to start your walks on the sheets and acclimate to the reality of the next few days: up and down sand dunes of up to 40 meters, walking on soft sand for hours with the Sun at its highest and witness the most unforgettable sunsets of your life. This tour lasts half a day and it is advisable to do so in the afternoon to ensure a sunset indescribable.
The Beautiful Lagoon is also made in a half day and once again the trick is to do it in the afternoon. It was in this place that witnessed the most incredible sunset of the trip. The landscape collaborates and seems to have been designed for this occasion. Tourists pile up on the highest dune in the region to witness this unique spectacle. Ah, the lagoon is also very pretty and Nice, but in fact the sunset steals the show on this tour.
Another great option is Santo Amaro, a modest municipality North of Barreirinhas fully within the Lençóis Maranhenses Park. An excerpt of this journey is made by road and another in the sand, making it difficult enough access. After much banging and bouncing arrive at the Lakes of the Terns and Gulls, two paradísiacos places almost wild. It’s the perfect opportunity to feel the region’s owner, enjoy unique ponds and take your best shots. Unforgettable and unmissable. Set aside a full day for this tour.
If you still have available (and a little money to spare) can make a flypast by the sheets. Several riders offer this service in small single-engine for up to three people. And the vision for a change, is spectacular. You can have a perfect sense of the greatness of the sheets. More than 80 km from end to end to lose sight. Dunes interspersed by lakes forming a mosaic of colors. Sublime. As always, the trick is to fly over in the late afternoon with the light of the setting sun gilding the sands and creating an idyllic setting.
In Barreirinhas not much to do during the day, but it is a very pleasant city night (day is Deathly hot), with several bars and restaurants on Avenida Beira-Rio. The atmosphere is simple and informal, there are options for every gastronomic tastes. The highlights are the delicious sea bass and yellow hake.
Many tourists take advantage of the occasion to follow the river Preguiças toward Atins, a tiny village at the mouth of that river gathering dunes and beaches and offers more peace of mind to Barreirinhas. Is a great alternative to replace the traditional boat trips on the river that the agencies provide. There are a couple of stops in villages where tourists can have contact with native handicrafts and cheaper dishes and authentic.
The Lençóis Maranhenses are an excellent option for those who want to know landscapes with little human interference. The dunes and lagoons are the big stars of the trip, it is true, but the honest, helpful culinary sites and good quality handicrafts are supporting cast of respect to do the covers a very well-preserved national paradise and still little explored by tourists.