When to go to Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

Atins nos Lençois Maranhenses
Atins nos Lençois Maranhenses

The high season in Lençóis Maranhenses begins in June and continues until August, when the lagoons are full.

But the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is open to visitors all year round.

With good tourist facilities, Barreirinhas in Lençóis Maranhenses is the main base for exploring the crystal-clear lagoons formed by rainwater in the middle of the dunes.

The main attractions of the Lençois Maranhenses are the freshwater lagoons, which fill up between January and June, during the rainy season.

Graph of the climate of the Lençóis Maranhenses throughout the year
Graph of the climate of the Lençóis Maranhenses throughout the year

There is beauty in the lagoons of various levels: from very full lagoons, which overflow and form spliced areas, to those that are already shallower due to the drying process and where you can even see algae in the background.

There’s no need to change your holiday plans because of the level of the lagoons.

August is the windiest month, so some of them are already starting to dry up.

The ones that receive the most visitors are the ones that usually dry out first, but the park is huge and there are beautiful lagoons to visit all year round, bathe in and enjoy.

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

When the nearest ones dry up, we take the tourists to the more distant ones and the spectacle is the same. Seven days is enough to explore the lagoons and São Luís, the capital.

1. Main villages in Lençóis Maranhenses

1. Barreirinhas

Barreirinhas is the main base for exploring the Lençóis Maranhenses. The town has a more complete structure for receiving tourists, especially family groups.

Two unmissable tours include a visit to the Bonita and Azul lagoons.

You can choose one to do part-time, depending on the time available, but some agencies opt for full-day tours, including both points of the circuit.

If you have another day available, take a speedboat trip along the Preguiças River.

There are stops at Vassouras, Mandacaru and Caburé, where you can have lunch, relax in a hammock or take an ATV ride along the beach to the giant wind turbines that produce wind energy.

2. Atins

Atins is a fishing village that forms part of the municipality of Barreirinhas. As well as the nearby lagoons, it has a beach and is one of the most popular destinations for kitesurfers.

Of the three options, the town of Atins is the most rustic and least known by travellers. However, that doesn’t mean that the small fishing village isn’t stunning.

Situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the mouth of the Preguiças River, the town is perfect for recharging your batteries. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Short on time? You can make a round trip to discover the corners of Atins and lagoons such as Capivara.

Some agencies make the journey by 4×4, others by boat, which can be direct or with stops in neighbouring villages.

If you have a few extra days, stay in one of the village inns and take a day off to walk along the soft sandy streets to the beach. Enjoy the local cuisine in one of the village’s charming restaurants or the hustle and bustle of the seafront bars.

You can do a round trip from Barreirinhas to Santo Amaro, but there are so many great excursions that it’s worth staying there to make the most of the region.

3. Santo Amaro

Although Santo Amaro is the closest municipality to the national park, it doesn’t offer as much tourist infrastructure as Barreirinhas. On the other hand, if you like simplicity, you’ll love the town’s rustic beauty.

2. Tours in Lençóis Maranhenses

1. Lagoas Emendadas

The main attraction is the tour of the Emended Lagoons, which takes place in the afternoon and ends with a breathtaking sunset;

Lagoa das Emendadas is located between two huge dunes

2. Another tour is the Betânia Circuit

It lasts all day, takes in several lagoons, stops for lunch and also ends after sunset. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the route is similar, the landscape changes every day.

If you get the chance, include the sunrise over the dunes in your itinerary.

3. São Luís do Maranhão

Before your flight home, take time to walk around the historic houses of São Luís, a World Heritage Site. Take a short trip to Raposa to discover the Fronhas Maranhenses.

The tour can last from 2.5 to 4 hours. By boat, you’ll cruise along the river (with a swim stop) until you reach the Carimã Dunes;

Lençóis Maranhenses Tourism and Travel Guide

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