See Our Destinations

Lencois Maranhenses

Lagoons Among the Dunes

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park protects one of the most stunning landscapes in South America: more than 570-square miles of towering white dunes interlaced with emerald lagoons. Spread out like bed sheets (lençóis) on the Northeast Coast of Brazil, these sparkling dunes formed as the river sediments of the eons blew inland on ocean winds.

From January to June, the desert valleys and flats fill with rainwater, creating crystal clear lakes. Miraculously, fishes, turtles and crabs inhabit the larger lagoons.

Accompanied by certified guides, park visitors can ride dune buggies and ATVs, swim in the lagoons, and enjoy 30 miles of deserted beaches. Other excursions include river tours, wildlife viewing in the nearby mangroves, and fishing trips. 

Lencois Maranhenses is most easily reached by flights to São Luis (3.5 hours from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) followed by a three-hour (150-mile) overland transfer. The dune-backed town of Barreirinhas, located on the park's eastern border, offers simple but comfortable accommodations and excellentcamaroada (shrimp stew).

The best time to visit is from May to October, when the rains have abated and the lagoons are still flooded. Expect daytime temperatures of 85°F to 95°F. Sun protection (including sunglasses) is essential.

Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in Brazil and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.


"I had to live in the desert before I could understand the full value of grass in a green ditch."

Ella Maillart