Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is located in the Maranhão state in northern Brazil and running along the Atlantic coast, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is home to miles of beautiful white sand dunes. The park's name translates from Portuguese to “bedsheets of Maranhão,” a reference to the sprawling smooth sand dunes.
Is Lençóis Maranhenses National Park considered a Desert?
The park runs along more than 40 miles of coast and stretches inland for another 3o miles. With such a large expanse of sand and nearly no vegetation, it would be easy to assume this park is classified as a desert. However, deserts, by definition, receive less than 10 inches of rain in a year, while Lençóis Maranhenses National Park has an average rainfall of almost five times that.
Every year, the sand dunes at Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil collect rainwater from about January to June. And come July, these dunes become temporary pools full of clear, warm water. Until about September, these pop-up pools become a unique seasonal attraction.
The park is home to a number of fish and insect species, including the wolf fish, which burrow down into wet layers of mud and remain dormant during the dry season. Besides the dunes that form the centerpiece of the park, the ecosystem also includes areas of restinga and mangrove ecosystems.
The Beauty of the Sahara Desert in Brazil
Brazil's Sahara Desert is South America's Most Underrated Tourist Attraction. Lençóis Maranhenses is like nothing else in Brazil and is relatively unknown in South America, which is a blessing: the natural attraction remains perfectly preserved and balanced, with little human development in the area
The surreal Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, located in northeastern Brazil, makes this fantasy possible. The park is filled with sand dunes and, for several months throughout the year, it becomes an oasis for visitors to swim in.
Composed of large, white, sweeping dunes, at first glance Lençóis Maranhenses looks like an archetypal desert, but in fact, it is not an actual one. Lying just outside the Amazon Basin, the region is subject to a regular rain season at the beginning of the year.
The Best time to visit Lençóis Maranhenses in Brazil
Every rainy season, Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil undergoes an incredible transformation: its pristine white sand dunes are seemingly flooded, overrun by gorgeous blue lagoons that springs up overnight.
The best time to visit Lençóis Maranhenses in Brazil is from May to October when the rains have abated, but the lagoons are still flooded.
Expected daytime temperatures hover between 85°F and 95°F.
The Lencois Maranhenses National Park protects one of the most stunning landscapes in South America: over 570-square miles of towering white dunes, interlaced with emerald lagoons.
Spread out like lencois (bed sheets) on the Northeast Coast of Brazil, these sparkling dunes formed as river sediments of the eons drifted inland on ocean winds.
From January to June the desert valleys and flats fill with rainwater, forming crystal-clear lakes.
Activities to do in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park enjoys a tropical savanna climate (with dry winter) in accordance with the Köppen-Geiger classification. The yearly average maximum temperature in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is 88°F (ranging from 86°F in march to 90°F in october).
Accompanied by certified guides, park visitors can ride dune buggies, 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 from Sao Luis (3.5 hours from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) followed by a three-hour (150-mile) overland transfer.