The unknown and otherworldly panorama of Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses Nationwide Park

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(CNN) — As a customer units eyes on the good swimming pools of paradise that characterize Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses Nationwide Park for the primary time, it would not be out of line to imagine hallucination.

Dazzling blue lagoons numbering within the 1000’s cover beneath towering sand dunes draped throughout 598 sq. miles. Each single one is inviting — scratch that, begging! — vacationers to toil throughout the sand and hurl themselves into the gorgeous abyss. No less than one imagined model of heaven absolutely unfolds in a scene just like this.

Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses Nationwide Park could not appear actual to the uninitiated, however this phenomenal park, a direct shot 1,662 miles north of Rio de Janeiro in Maranhão state, is neither a mirage nor a film set. It’s without delay one of many world’s most dramatic sandscapes — otherworldly dunes solely damaged up by cerulean lagoons that pepper the sandy hills between March and September — and one of many world’s least crushed paths.

Rio, Iguaçu Falls and the Amazon are far and away Brazil’s most visited locations. The northern Brazilian state of Maranhão makes the itineraries of essentially the most devoted Brazilophiles solely.

The freshwater pools are seasonal. Water levels are low from November to January.

The freshwater swimming pools are seasonal. Water ranges are low from November to January.

Adobe Inventory

Those that do enterprise this far north typically mix a go to to Lençóis Maranhenses with a tour of the historic colonial heart of Maranhão’s capital, São Luis, a UNESCO World Heritage Web site positioned about 150 miles west of the park. Right here many restored buildings are adorned with detailed Portuguese ornamental ceramic tiling (often known as azulejos).

One other worthwhile add-on is the small village of Alcântara, positioned throughout the Sâo Marcos Bay from São Luis, a splendidly cinematic step-back-in-time that is dwelling to a melange of preserved, ruined and restored mansions, properties and church buildings laid out on creative crisscrossed cobblestones. The village can be dwelling to colonies of purple ibis (guarás), which colour the surrounds vibrant scarlet at dawn.

Lençóis is the Portuguese phrase for bedsheets, which looks as if an odd identify for a nationwide park, till you see the expanse from a drone’s-eye view. From the air, the panorama offers the looks of rolling sheets pitched the world over’s most picturesque waterbed.

Along with the lagoons, the park can be dwelling to seashores, mangroves and a few fascinating fauna (turtles and migratory birds amongst them).

Freshwater lagoons

The dramatic scene that characterizes the protected space is the results of sedimentary deposits carried to the Atlantic Ocean by two rivers — the Parnaíba and Preguiças — that are subsequently pushed again so far as 31 miles inland by excessive winds in dry season.

Regardless of appearances, Lençóis Maranhenses receives an excessive amount of rainfall to be thought of a desert. Actually, it is the rain that types the freshwater lagoons, that are unable to empty resulting from impermeable rock beneath the sand. The phenomenon is usually at its most stunning from July to August.

Attending to Lençóis Maranhenses isn’t any easy activity.

The straightforward means is flying into Marechal Cunha Machado Worldwide Airport in São Luis, from which 4 day by day buses make the five-hour drive east to the small riverside city of Barreirinhas, the principle gateway to Lençóis Maranhenses. Santo Amaro, a much less in style entry level 3.5-hour’s drive east of São Luís, additionally presents entry infrastructure to the park.

Thousands of largely deserted freshwater lagoons beckon swimmers.

Hundreds of largely abandoned freshwater lagoons beckon swimmers.

Takahide/Adobe Inventory

The adventurous means is to make your means over land from state of Ceará hotspot Jericoacoara, some 240 miles east of Barreirinhas, utilizing a mixture of buggies and public transport.

Together with its measurement, the park’s isolation on a far-flung fringe of Brazil means this South American Eden is spectacularly uncrowded. Tour choices into the park embody multi-day treks, scenic flights, skydiving (August solely) and most popularly, 4×4 day journeys.

Whether or not you enter the huge expanse on two toes or 4 wheels, you will by no means have to fret about kicking up a face filled with sand to anybody else round.

A park all to your self

Organized excursions into the park will all the time absorb essentially the most well-known lagoon, the Blue Lagoon, however searching for out different cradles of cobalt by which to take a dip away from the tour teams needs to be your objective.

Ask your information to keep away from fellow tour teams and discover your individual non-public paradise. Few issues are as satisfying as having a crystal-clear freshwater pool all to your self after trudging throughout piles of sand dunes within the blaring noon solar.

There are two remoted villages among the many dunes. Caburé, 64 miles northeast of Barreirinhas, is little greater than a sand peninsula between the river and the Atlantic ocean.

It is a in style lunch vacation spot for these on river excursions, however staying in a single day right here actually looks like a discovery. You will not share the sands with quite a lot of vacationers, if that, after the day trippers depart. The handful of rustic eating places and inns, referred to as pousadas, can nearly really feel like a ghost fishing village by sundown.

Atins is a prime place to spend a night among the dunes.

Atins is a main place to spend an evening among the many dunes.

Travelling Jack/Adobe Inventory

Atins is a bigger village unfold amid dune vegetation that is dwelling to a noticeable international inhabitants and a number of other charming pousadas. The benefit of coming this far — it is a few 3.5-hour passenger boat experience alongside the river from Barreirinhas — is you’ll be able to entry much more distant areas of the park. Atins can be an idyllic windswept oasis to lose just a few days or tuck away and write a novel.

Each villages make for a improbable base for having fun with the park over a number of days, setting out on small day by day journeys to far-flung lagoons and returning each night to get pleasure from ravishing sunsets and stunningly contemporary seafood dinners.

Each Caburé and Atins are reachable by way of the Preguiças river from Barreirinhas. The waterway, essentially the most scenic entry route into Lençóis Maranhenses, is lined with mangroves, sand dunes and swaths of unique palms (together with acai, the Amazonian palmberries that make for considered one of Brazil’s tastiest treats).

Navigating the river’s twists and turns by means of such surreal surroundings is an ideal approach to laze about Brazil’s northern limits. Fittingly, the river’s identify means “lazy” in Portuguese.

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