Access to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Santo Amaro do Maranhão in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Santo Amaro do Maranhão in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

O Lençóis Maranhenses National Park are located in the state of Maranhão, 250 km away from the capital São Luís.

The main access cities to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park are Barreirinhas, Santo Amaro do Maranhão and Primeira Cruz.

The only airport in the region is Barreirinhas Airport, which only receives charter flights from Sao Luis do Maranhao at a very high cost.

Therefore, the best airport for those wishing to visit Lençóis Maranhenses is São Luís International Airport, which receives direct flights from several cities in Brazil.

Map Lençóis Maranhenses
Map of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Attractions of the Lençóis Maranhense National Parks

Attractions of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Attractions of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Dunes and Lagoons

Lençóis Maranhense National Parks it has 155 hectares of pure nature and many surprises for the traveler, in an itinerary that includes seductive views and unforgettable sunsets, abundant flora and fauna. Large expanses of dunes, lagoons, bathing in the sea await the tourist in this true sanctuary of nature.


Ponta do Mangue, Moitas, Vassouras, Morro do Boi, and Barra do Tatu are some of the beautiful beaches that await tourists in Barreirinhas. All of them can be reached by boat, departing from the seat of the municipality.


Fishing village where the biggest attraction is a lighthouse with a height of 54 meters, from which you have a beautiful view of the park.


Caburé is a delightful refuge where visitors can bathe in the sea and wash their bodies of salt in fresh water. Good overnight option. There are cottages and good food. It is in the district of Barreirinhas.

Access to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Map of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Map of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

The Park is accessible from two cities: Barreirinhas, to the east, and Santo Amaro do Maranhão, to the west. In both, the receptive agencies sell tours that lead to the largest and closest lagoons.

1. Little Barriers

little barriers is the city considered the main gateway to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park.

Barreirinhas is the best known city in Lençóis Maranhenses, Barreirinhas is the main base for those wishing to explore the region. The place offers good infrastructure, several hotels and inns, quality restaurants, developed trade and many tourist agencies that take travelers on tours. As it is the most complete city among all the bases, Barreirinhas ends up being the choice of most people who visit Lençóis Maranhenses.

If you have a trip to the region, read also about Santo Amaro and Atins. It may be that the other two suit you better.

Those who choose to stay in Barreirinhas will find a much busier city compared to Atins and Santo Amaro.

And that also means there will be a lot more tourists! It will be easier to find groups to take the tours and, at the same time, it will be almost impossible to visit an empty lagoon. The truth is that it is practically irresistible to stay in Barreirinhas, since there are the most famous tours of Lençóis Maranhenses.

Barreirinhas in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Although it is also possible to get there from neighboring Santo Amaro do Maranhão and Primeira Cruz, it is there that tourists are more concentrated.

Blue Lagoon Circuit

It is the most visited attraction of the Conservation Unit.

Lagoa Azul seen from above - diving option in Lençóis Maranhenses
Lagoa Azul seen from above – diving option in Lençóis Maranhenses

After 12 km of trails in the sandbank, the tour continues through the dune field on a trail of approximately 02 km.

Along the way, visitors can visit the Preguiça lagoon, the Esmeralda lagoon, the Azul lagoon and the Peixe lagoon, the only perennial that keeps water throughout the year.

This attraction is the only one where there is permission for access in a traction vehicle to the limits of the Preguiça lagoon, but only for visitors with limited mobility and upon communication and authorization from the National Park administration.

Beautiful Lagoon Circuit

Located 15km from Barreirinhas, the attraction has a medium degree of access difficulty, as it is necessary to climb a steep dune of about 30 meters in height. There is a rope to aid the climb.

In panoramic photo, Lagoa Bonita, in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
In panoramic photo, Lagoa Bonita, in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

But the effort is rewarded with the beautiful view of both the dune field and the restinga vegetation of the National Park. After the ascent, the visitor travels a few hundred meters to the Bonita Lagoon.

In this attraction, it is also possible to visit the Clone Lagoon, named after it because it was where scenes from the Globo TV soap opera 'O Clone' were recorded.

Lagoon of Hope

It is about the interruption of the course of the Rio Negro caused by the encounter with the dune field.

Hope Lagoon, Barreirinhas
Hope Lagoon, Barreirinhas

In this way, this lagoon is perennial and is not located inside the dune field, but on the edge of it.

In this way it is also possible to traverse the dune field. As it is perennial, this lake is ideal to be visited during the dry months, when the lakes of other attractions are dry. The Hope Lagoon forms the geographical boundary of the municipalities of Barreirinhas and Santo Amaro.


Atins in Lençóis Maranhenses
Atins in Lençóis Maranhenses

the village of Reached it is located between the sea and the Rio Preguiças.

Those wishing to go to the town can choose between 4×4 or speedboat routes.

Atins is a village full of charms - how to get there

Access is from Barreirinhas, from where the day trip to Atins, the line transfer and also the boat departs.

The village of atins is located in front of the mouth of the Preguiças river, outside the National Park, but very close, making it easy to take walks along the beach, sandbanks, dunes and fields.

The village has a simple structure, being sought after by visitors looking for tranquility and a closer contact with nature and the local community.

In Atins it is possible to practice sports such as kite-surfing, wind-surfing, kayaking, stand up padlle, cycling, surfing, among others.

Corner of the Sheets

Located inside the National Park, the corner of the sheets, formerly called Canto do Atins, is a small village formed by traditional fishermen.

It has a beautiful view of the dune field and is close to the beach. The village has no energy but there are community restaurants that serve typical food and offer simple accommodation.

It is a great support point to start trekking and cross the dune field to the municipality of Santo Amaro.

mouth of Black and Green Lagoon Rio

The route to the mouth of the Rio Negro is carried out along the National Park beach, leaving Atins.

The meeting of the Rio Negro with the sea is the main attraction, where the visitor can bathe in the small waterfalls by the sea.

This attraction is only available when the Negro River has water, therefore, inform in advance with the administration or with the local reception.

On the circuit, it is also possible to visit some inter-dune lagoons such as the Verde lagoon, close to the beach, it is a 30-minute walk through the dune field, and remains with water for most of the year.

2. Santo Amaro do Maranhão

Map of Santo Amaro do Maranhão
Map of Santo Amaro do Maranhão

Unlike Barreirinhas, the most famous 'entrance' to Lençóis, Santo Amaro do Maranhao it parks very close to the Andorinha, Gaivota and Circuito Betânia lakes.

Santo Amaro in Maranhão

But structure of the city of Santo Amaro is smaller.

For those who like adventure and hiking, it is worth visiting the lakes on the Emendadas circuit.

On the way there is water on the knee, noon sun and sloping dunes. And the walk is long – one time to go and another time to return.

If you just want to enjoy effortlessly, Santo Amaro has even easier access than Barreirinhas to the lagoons because you can park right near the dune to enjoy the lagoons Andorinha, Gaivota and the Betânia circuit, from where it's worth watching the sunset .

As in the other “door” at the entrance of the park, it is not allowed to use private vehicles. And there isn't even a trade in the park: you have to take food and water.

Seagull Lagoon

It is the main attraction in the city and is considered the most beautiful landscape in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. Lagoa da Gaivota is located in a nesting area for seagulls, allowing bird watching.

The Andorinha, Cajueiro and Maçarico lagoons are also part of the circuit, suitable for kitesurfing. On the way to the attraction, it is possible to observe the lake of Santo Amaro.

Access can be done by hiking or in a 4×4 vehicle accredited by the park.

Bethany Lagoon

Like the Esperança lagoon, it is a river course interrupted by the dune field. The attraction is in the town of Betânia that offers some basic services.

Sunset in a lagoon on the Betânia circuit, in Santo Amaro do Maranhão
Sunset in a lagoon on the Betânia circuit, in Santo Amaro do Maranhão

The variation in the colors of the water and the landscape with the dune field in the background, makes visiting this attraction a unique experience.

Lagoon of Emendadas

Accessible only by walking, there are several interdune lakes (inside the dune field) that connect and add up to kilometers in length.

As it is an attraction inside the dune field, it allows the visitor to have a dimension the size of the Maranhão sheets.

Travosa Beach

Located near the village of Travosa, a fishing community, Travosa beach has a large extension and a dune field in the background. In April there is a surfing championship in the region.

3. First Cross

Municipality of Primeira Cruz MA map
Municipality of Primeira Cruz MA map

The municipality of First Cross It has almost 14 thousand inhabitants, but the main tourist destination is far from the city center, it is Povoado do Cassó, which has around 600 inhabitants.

The location is a refuge for tourists and visitors who seek peace and tranquility on the edge of the lake, which also serves as a source of income for fishermen, farmers and artisans in the region.

Tourism activity has also been an important source of income for villagers in recent years.

Lagoa do Casso

Lagoa do Casso is a lake located in the municipality of Primeira Cruz in Maranhão.

Lagoa do Cassó in the municipality of Primeira Cruz

Cassó is the destination for those who want peace. Lagoons, clean waters and excellent temperatures attract tourists from Maranhão and from other states in the country. Over time, these natural attractions changed the lives of city dwellers. They discovered how sustainable tourism could become big business.

Lagoa do Cassó receives this nickname due to the hammocks at the water's edge available for the visitor to lie down and admire the charms and natural beauty of this paradise located in the city of Primeira Cruz, 207 kilometers away from São Luís, in the Lençóis National Park region Maranhenses.

It has warm, clear and calm waters, reaching a depth of 20 meters during the flood season, when it manages to cross the bleeder and flow into the Preguiças River (which bathes the city of Barreirinhas and Lençóis Maranhenses.

It is surrounded by native forest, attracting bathers, as well as diving and windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing. The site also offers inns and trail rides.

The village of Cassó has around 700 inhabitants.

Since 2015, the lagoon has also hosted the Open Water Circuit in Maranhão, a swimming challenge for professionals and amateurs. Competitors swim five thousand meters, almost the entire length of the lagoon, which is approximately six kilometers long.

Access is from São Luís (BR-135), passing through the Bacabeira viaduct and taking the MA-402 highway through Rosário, Morros, towards Barreirinhas, until Primeira Cruz. Afterwards, it is followed in 4×4 cars to the village.

Primitive Zone

Queimada dos Britos and Baixa Grande

Located inside the dune field of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, these two patches of restinga vegetation are true oases and a perfect overnight shelter for those looking to trek across the park.

According to the National Park zoning, these regions are the Primitive Zone, where visitation can only take place at minimal impact levels.

Thus, it is prohibited to carry out touristic tours or visit the location in motor vehicles of any kind.

Despite this, around 30 families live in the area, and they and only they are allowed to use motor vehicles for reasons of safeguarding life and transporting people, food and materials.

It is without a doubt the best attraction of the unit! The walks, which can last up to 5 days, are carried out along the beach and along the dunes, with baths in the lagoons to cool off. Overnight stays are held in communities, being a great experience of interaction with the traditional population.

The oases have the greatest diversity in vegetation and birds in the National Park and have bathing lakes for most of the year, both inland and in the dune field.

It is mandatory to hire a Visitor Driver to carry out the crossing, as you will have access to the Primitive Zone of the unit.

It's very easy to get lost in the dune field, there's no cell phone coverage for a good part of the way, and many places even go for days without people passing by.

You are responsible for your safety, do not venture to cross the National Park if you are not sure that you have all the necessary physical conditions.


The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is the perfect destination for those seeking adventure and nature contemplation!!

Walking on the white sands of the largest dune field in Brazil, cooling off in crystal-clear lakes and watching the sunset are unique experiences that you will take with you for the rest of your life.

All this with the emotion of an off-road ride in 4×4 accredited vehicles specially adapted to cover the sandy and flooded terrain of the Lençóis Maranhenses restinga.

Those who prefer long walks and interaction with traditional communities can also venture across the dune field and have the experience of staying overnight in the oases of the “Brazilian desert”.

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, located on the east coast of the state of Maranhão, is the main destination inducing tourism in the state.

It is inserted in the Cerrado but has a strong influence from the Caatinga and the Amazon, with common species found in these 3 biomes.

In its 155 hectares, it shelters diverse and fragile ecosystems, such as the restinga, the mangrove, and a dune field that occupies 2/3 of the total area of ​​the unit, being the main attraction of the National Park due to the interdune lakes that form in the rainy season in the region.

The park is located in 3 municipalities in Maranhão, which have a structure for receiving and transporting visitors, Barreirinhas, Santo Amaro and Primeira Cruz. 

When to go

The eastern coast of Maranhão has two characteristic seasons throughout the year. The rainy season, from February to May, and the dry season, from June to January. After the rainy season, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park presents its most beautiful scenery, as the inter-lagoon lagoons are full.

As the dry period progresses, the lakes dry up little by little, arriving in November with a very low level.

But it is good to make it clear, this all depends on the rainfall of the year, so it is always good to seek information with the National Park administration or with the local reception.

The best period to visit Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is from May to September, but the unit is open to visitation all year, from Monday to Monday, from 08:00 am to 18:00 pm.

Veja when to go to Lençóis Maranhenses

Water level in Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

high water level

Water level in Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
High water level in Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

After the rainy season on the eastern coast of Maranhão, which has up to 4 months of heavy rain, the lakes and rivers of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park are at their maximum water level, providing visitors with the opportunity to see the iconic image of Lençóis Maranhenses: multicolored lakes surrounded by white sand dunes.

Recommended activities:

Water recreation, swimming;
Contemplation of lagoons and dunes;

Period: from May to August


Average water level

Average water level of Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Average water level of Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

As the dry season sets in, the lakes start to dry out due to the action of the sun and wind. During this period, the lakes are not so full but they still provide the opportunity for recreation in the water, but limited.

The landscape of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park begins to change, the lakes decrease in size and depth and the presence of algae and aquatic vegetation increases.
At the beginning of the rainy season the lakes are at medium level while they fill, however at this time it rains heavily almost daily.
Recommended activities:

Limited water recreation; Contemplation of lagoons and dunes; Hiking.

Period: September to October / February to April

low water level

Low water level in Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Low water level in Lagoas in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

At the height of 'summer', as the dry period in the region from June to January is called, temporary lakes and rivers are dry or with low water levels.

The ponds give way to pastures and floodplains, which are formed on top of the moist soil that was the bed of the pond. During this period, recreation in the water is only possible in the perennial lakes, such as Lagoa do Peixe and Lagoa da Esperança.

Recommended activities:

Water recreation in perennial ponds; Dune contemplation; Hiking. 

Period: November to January


Barreirinhas, Santo Amaro and Primeira Cruz provide access to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park


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