I was recently talking to a friend of mine who’s from Brazil, more specifically, he was born in the favelas of Sao Paolo, but travelled the world as a footballer and took a break in London. He was telling me that one of this favourite places on earth is somewhere on the north-eastern coast of Brazil, where he would be able to escape the bustling Sao Paolo.
Lençóis Maranhenses is his paradise. This so called “Brazilian Sahara” is not actually a desert, although it resembles one, the blue-green crystal water formed between the dunes make it a unique, strange and beautiful place.
My friend, Rogerio, was telling me that it is hard to imagine the beauty of this place and only when you actually see the lagoons among the dunes you can realise how fascinating the nature can be. It is perhaps one of the most creative artists of all times.
Despite abundant rains – the rain drops 300 times more than the Sahara Africa – the area supports almost no vegetation, only a variety of fish in the lagoons, which, during the dry season – when the lagoons disappear almost completely – have their eggs brought from the sea by birds.
To tell you a bit about this wonderful phenomenon: situated just outside of the Amazon Basin, the area has a rainy season which helps fill with clear water the long, small valleys between the dunes. This happens each year particularly between July and September, forming genuine tropical oasis.
Watching it from above, you will be dazzled by the white sweeping dunes spotted only with blue and green lagoons just like a painting on canvas. You can get there with an air taxi from São Luís to Barreirinhas. The Rio Preguiças river connects the park to Atins, a city at the edge of the park, according to Wikipedia.
It is in fact a National Park, created on June 2, 1981, and has no access roads, most vehicles being forbidden there. But the entrance is made exclusively by 4-wheel drive trucks. So this is more of an adventure for those of you who are fond of discovering unique and less popular places.
The area is indeed a national park, but this doesn’t mean it has no inhabitants. Many people are park residents who work primarily as fishermen during the rainy season, while in the dry season they leave for regions around the park where they work small plots of land.
The legend says that the region was inhabited by Caeté Indians, who woke up one day to find their town covered by sand. This is also the place where the movie “House of Sand” was filmed, as obviously everything’s covered in sand.
The most famous lagoons are called Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) and Lagoa Bonita (Beautiful Lagoon), famous for their charm and excellent swimming conditions.
Away from civilization, lost in the shades of blue and green, this surreal unique landscape is as close as paradise as one can get.
Find accommodation in this magical place here.