First destination from our trip to Brazil and not the least expected: finally see the incredible natural phenomenon of the desert Lençois Maranhenses!
Lençois Maranhenses National Park is located in the northeast of the state of Maranhão, more than 200 km from Sao Luis, its capital. At first sight it is a desert like any other. Its geographical position makes it subject to the rainy season from January to June. The tropical rains create this special phenomenon: fresh water is collected in the valley of the dunes and forms these incredible lagoons of different colors and forms.
Therefore the best season to go is at the end of the rainy season. The lagoons are full and the sun is back – from June to September.
There are two points of departure to visit the lagoons: Barreirinhas and / or Atins.
Barreirinhas remains easier to access and is real city. Atins is a small village quiet and lost. Each ones has its own preferences but Atins is really super nice. We feel at the end of the world in this small fisherman village.
From these two cities, it is very easy to go to the desert. But the possible lagoons to visit on day trips will not be the same. From Barreirinhas, the lagoa Azul is seemingly incredible. But from Atins there are some other ones just as beautiful. It can be a good compromise to stay a few days in Barreirinhas AND Atins.
At Atins, the easiest way is to organize with the pousada to make an excursion. Personally I organized nothing before arriving and i was able to book for the next day a whole day in lagoons by 4×4. We were 6 people in total and cost 160 R$ / person.
During the tour, we go from lagoon to lagoon with a passage by the ocean and the restaurant for lunch. The most beautiful of the excursion will remain for me the Lagoa Verde and the Lagoa Tropical where we will stay until sunset absolutely alone.
Lagoa Tropical ♥
The restaurant where we stop for lunch is, according to the guide and the local, the one cooking the best shrimp in the world. It is very good but not as exceptional as described, expectation were high! We can choose how we want shrimp cooked (garlic, grilled, sauce ..). After lunch we have a hammock session to digested before leaving, pretty nice.
WHERE TO SLEEP IN ATINS? – Lençois Maranhenses
Very nicely decorated with hammocks to relax. The breakfast is included with seasonal fruits and a very good omelette garnished (not light!).
The rooms are very clean but dark. We paid R$ 500 for 2 nights.
WHERE TO EAT IN ATINS?
Great pizzeria right next to the pousada Flamboyant. Honestly the best pizza I have eaten in Brazil (pesto ♥) and super good pesto bruschetta too.
Great cocktails, juice and ice cream. A good address!
Old fishing boat transformed into a restaurant / beach bar. Very very good grilled fish with small vegetables. It is held by a French so of course we try the quiche which is also very good.
Very good but expensive. For two people, a fish to share, a share of quiche to share and drinks, R$ 160.
HOW TO GO TO/ LEAVE D’ATINS?
The nearest airport is Sao Luiz.
- From Sao luiz to Atins
Buses leave from Sao Luiz to Barreirinhas at 6am. The trip takes about 5 h and the company is called Cisne Branco. The journey costs R$ 51 per person.
Once in Barreirinhas, arrange beforehand with your pousada for someone to pick you up at the bus stopt. The ride is sporty in the back of a pick up full of provision driving through small paths and crossings of rain lakes. We are happy to arrive after 2 hours drive!
- From Atins to Jericoacora
Going from Atins to Jericoacora can take several days .. Indeed there is no direct road by the sea. Renting the services of a local that has a 4 × 4 is the only option to make the journey in one shot. It lasts 6 hours starting with a small boat ride, driving on the beach and finally driving on a real road. It is expensive (1000 R $ ~ 300 euros) but it saves a lot of time when making a trip of 2 weeks for example. The price is for the trip and not per person.