Lencois Maranheses National Park in Maranhao – Brazil

Maranhão is a state in Brazil situated on its northeastern part. Within Maranhão is the Lençóis Maranheses National Park, a popular tourist attraction in the country mainly due to its beautiful dunes and lakes.


Lençóis Maranheses National Park in Maranhão – Brazil basically covers three towns within the state: Barreirinhas, Humberto de Campos and Primeira Cruz. The national park lies off the eastern shores of Baia de Sao Jose.

Getting There

The easiest route to get to the Lençóis Maranheses National Park in Maranhão – Brazil is to travel from Sao Luis, the capital of Maranhão, to Barreirinhas. Within Barreirinhas is the entrance into the park.

From Sao Luis, you can take a bus to go to the town of Barreirinhas. The distance between the two cities is approximately two hundred and forty kilometers. Once you get to Barreirinhas, you can either take a 4WD or a boat that will cross Rio Preguiças to reach the perimeters of the park.

What to See and Do

Lençóis Maranheses National Park in Maranhão – Brazil is most popular for its high dunes that rise up to about forty feet high. Its freshwater lakes are likewise magnificent sights to behold, with hues of blue and green, providing a cool oasis amidst miles and miles of sand dunes.

The lagoons are spread out across the national park and walking around these lagoons provide a relaxing way of visiting the park.

If you wish to swim in the lagoons, there are two popular swimming spots here: the Blue Lagoon and the Beauty Lagoon. Both lagoons provide the ideal swimming spot for both kids and adults.

Some lagoons even have fishes in them so these are also worth checking out.

The national park covers more than one hundred hectares of land area and no vehicles are allowed inside so be prepared to walk for miles and miles on end.

Brief History

Lençóis Maranheses National Park in Maranhão – Brazil may look like a “typical” desert but this is actually not a desert since it experiences rainfall several times per year.

It is estimated that the national park enjoys rainfall three hundred times more than the Sahara Desert. The freshwater lagoons are the result of the rainfalls that get trapped between the sand dunes.

This natural geological phenomenon alone is enough to attract thousands of visitors per year. When the dry season comes, the lagoons gradually disappear, some even leaving no traces of having been in existence. Come the rainy season, they re-appear once again.


There are no entry fees to visit the Lençóis Maranheses National Park in Maranhão – Brazil. For 4WD that will take you to the park, this costs about R$ 1,200 up to R$ 1,500.

Other Information

Generally, the 4WD tours will also act as your guide around the national park. It is not recommended to visit the park on your own, without an experienced guide as the terrain can be quite confusing for the inexperienced traveler and you can easily get lost.

Likewise, it is advised that you wear light clothing; i.e. shorts, tank tops and swimsuits while visiting the park as it could get pretty hot here.