The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Caroline Rangel

Caroline Rangel

Carol Rangel is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Brazil/ Netherlands).
You can read more about Carol here.
Caroline Rangel

The Lençóis Maranhenses is a National Park located in Maranhão state, Northeastern Brazil.
It was the most spectacular landscape that I’ve ever seen in my home country.  It’s just surreal.  I felt like I had entered a sci-fi movie.  The sand was so blinding white, with sweeping dunes, deep blue lagoons…

The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National ParkTwo rivers run through the Lençóis Maranhenses, these rivers push sand from the interior of the continent to the Atlantic Ocean, depositing thousands of tons of sediment along the coast.  But in Lençóis, the sand doesn’t stay put. Powerful winds whip the sand back inland, carrying it and creating the vast sand dunes.

The sculpted dunes give the park the appearance of a miniature desert, miles and miles of sand with almost no vegetation.  But it’s not a desert at all, it’s too rainy to be one.  Anyone can easily see vast amounts of rain water pools resting in between the dunes.

The national park status serves only as a mean of protecting the area’s ecology.  There are a few small villages inside the park.  You read it right – there are people residing inside the park.

The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National ParkIt’s an adventure to get there!  It’s kind of a remote place; a bit unknown, even between Brazilians.

I had to take 1 plane + 1 bus + 1 boat + 1 Jeep!

brazil mapI took a plane from São Paulo to Maranhão capital city São Luís.  After 3 hours flying, I had to face a 4 hour bus ride from São Luís to Barreirinhas.  There are three villages where you can stay to access the park: Barreirinhas (the main one), Atins (inside the park) and Santo Amaro (quite difficult to get to).

I decided to stay in Barreirinhas, it had the greater infrastructure – only one traffic light that works from time to time – and offered tours to all points of interest.

You can’t visit the park by yourself – it’s very very easy to get lost.  There are no roads or signs.  Only local guides know where to go, etc.

The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Part of the ‘road’

I hired 4 different tours and I felt lost on all of them: suddenly the guides saw a particularly dune and decided to turn write, or left.  Then they go over the dunes, up and down, up and down, up and down and when you think you’re getting more and more lost, the car stops at some incredible crystal-clear water lagoon!

There was no way to memorise the path.  There was no reference!

It was an adventure! And an unforgettable trip!  I can’t speak nor describe, you have to check out my pictures!

Lençóis Maranhenses is one of these places that make you feel blessed and thankful.  Nature can create places of unspeakable beauty.
The Surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Carol

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