Dunes to Die For
Practically everywhere you look in Brazil you will find a fabulous stretch of beach. They’re not exactly in short supply. It isn’t every day, however, that you’ll find desert dunes and freshwater lagoons in the same place. Lencois Maranhenses National Park is a landscape so crazy that naturally the way to arrive there is a little crazy, too.
It begins with a jeep that may or may not have holes in the floor (this is one journey that I promise will be worth it). The many jeeps leave from the town of Barreirinhas twice a day, crossing a river on a small barge before continuing over increasingly bumpy sand tracks. If a local asks you to plug one of the holes in the floor with your foot (so that the small pond you’re driving through doesn’t erupt into the cab), just do as she says.
On the other end of this molar-jolting journey, you’ll pull up to the edge of a towering desert of white sand dunes. Hike inside to see the magic: clear blue lagoons nestled into the valleys, perfect for a cooling dip. Take an afternoon tour to see the sunset over this incredible view on your way out of the park.
After you’ve spent one day with the dunes, take a boat trip up the Preguicas river, stopping at Little Lencois and other small towns along the way. The prime site on this tour may not be originally included, so be sure to ask the boat driver for it: the ultimate beach you must see is the Punto do Brasilia.
Where the river meets the ocean, this expanse of white sand is almost as bright as snow. Exposed only at low tide, it may have you agreeing with the Flat Earth Society before you leave; it really does feel like the edge of the world. If you do happen to fall off this planet there, rest assured you’ll die very happy.
Amy’s busy hanging out on the edge of the world, but she’d be happy to talk to you about Punto de Brasilia.