Lençóis Maranhenses: Brazil's sweeping dunesBarreirinhas, Brazil
After a day in the sun, you could be forgiven for thinking this magical expanse of sand and water is a mirage. Stretching across 1500 square kilometres of Brazil’s tropical north-east coast, Lençóis Maranhenses comprises a series of blue-green pools that ripple through crescent-shaped dunes like strokes of ink on parchment. Known as the ‘bedsheets of Maranhão’ (named after the state of the same name), the beach is a sight to behold.
When it rains (from January to June) water fills the valleys and crevices up to three metres deep, held fast by watertight rock beneath the sand. The lagoons are at their peak between July and September and tours run regularly from São Luís, the capital of Maranhão, and from Barreirinhas, just outside the national park. Bring your togs and prepare for a memorable swim.
Fly into São Luís and make your way to Barreirinhas, located just outside the national park. In Barreirinhas, book a tour so you can experience the wild sand dunes and lagoons.
Prices vary depending on tour company and whether you opt for a day trip or a longer journey.
While not necessarily physically tiring, the long (and bumpy!) travel time may be exhausting for some.
It is best (and safest) to go with a guide so you don’t get lost venturing about the mass of dunes. To ensure you see the best the lagoons have to offer, visit between July and September.