The "Lençois Maranhenses" is a unique landscape. It is common to hear that there is no other of such beauty and proportion in the world. They are gigantic dunes of fine and white sands by the sea, permeated by lagoons of fresh waters, crystalline, of shades of blue and green that are formed in the rainy periods. Some of these lagoons remain full for most of the year.

The region is located in the northwest of the state of Maranhão 250 km from the capital São Luís occupying an area of 155,000 hectares. In the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, the main and most beautiful lagoons of the region are formed.

View from above the Lençóis Maranhenses

How to get there

The gateway to the Sheets is Barreirinhas. To get there, the ideal is to leave São Luís, by car or rented. Other options are buses or vans that can be hired to the cities of Barreirinhas or Santo Amaro do Maranhão.

From ônbius to Barreirinhas, the passage is around 51 reais, being the most economical way to make the stretch that lasts 4 hours, by paved roads.

Already, for Santo Amaro do Maranhão, until the moment of this matter, part of the route was still of dirt roads, so it is important that you find out about the conditions and means of transport available.

There are those who prefer to go by speedboat or boat, straight to the village of Atins, leaving the port of Barreirinhas.

To learn more about the route and how to get to these three cities click here.

When to go

When you plan to go to the Sheets, be aware of the rainy season that usually happens between the months of January to June. The suggestion is that they enjoy the months of June, July and August, when the days are cleaner and the ponds are still completely full.

After the rainy season, more precisely, from September, the ponds begin to dry, so some become unfit for bathing and others simply disappear.

Therefore, as the rainy season and consequently full lagoons may vary, we recommend consulting local tourism agencies and ICMBio ( to check the weather conditions so you can enjoy the best of your trip.  

Tours and attractions

The three cities mentioned above have several options of sightseeing.

So that, each pond has its own characteristics. They're singular beauties. However, the almost warm temperature of the water is common in all of them.

Car 4×4. Holds 12 people – Photo: Monique Renne

The tours in the dunes and lagoons are guided by professionals, usually in cars drawn and in groups of up to 12 people. The price of a tour usually is between 60 and 120 reais, which depends on the itinerary and duration. In Barreirinhas the tours are always in groups of many people. But in Santo Amaro and Atins it is possible to take private tours for a slightly higher value.

The most famous are the Blue Lagoon and Bonita Lagoon, in Barreirinhas; lagoa das Emendadas, Lagoa da Betânia, Lagoa da Andorinha and Lagoa Gaivota, in Santo Amaro do Maranhão and the Circuit of Lagoa das Sete Mulheres, in addition to Lagoa da Capivara, Lagoa Tropical and Lagoa da Lorena, in Atins. The most famous tours are not necessarily the most beautiful. After all, every year the landscape changes, and, much may be different from the previous year. So if you can, take out-of-the-traditional tours.

Main Lagoons

Blue Lagoon – Barreirinha. Photo: Monique Renne
Bonita Lagoon- Barreirinha. Photo: Monique Renne

The truth is that no matter what the script, all the landscapes are stunning. It is very difficult to choose which is the best and the preferred, after all each tour has its peculiarities. So if possible, make a longer itinerary so you can visit a larger number of places.

Lagoa das Emendadas – Santo Amaro. Photo: Monique Renne

Some say, that the best tours are in Santo Amaro, that there are lagoons of extraordinary colors, although, the most famous lagoons are in Barreirinha.

In addition to the visit to the lagoons there are options for speedboat, quad biking, airplane and walking itineraries. The cost of these tours is between 40 and 350 reais. Prices do not vary much between agencies, but it is worth researching. Always seek accredited agencies to have safety on the tours, professional guides know the route to be made, the protocols of environmental preservation and the entire National Park. Cars have stickers with permission numbers, park logo and drivers must carry identification badges. Under no circumstances do you make the trip without a guide, the territory of the Park is extensive and very easy to lose.

Radical tours

Flyover at Lençóis Maranhenses – Photo: Monique Renne

If you really want to know the Lençóis we recommend flying over the lagoons. From up there the view is even more impressive. There are several routes and the cost is 300 reais per person. Remembering possible price variations.


For those who like extreme sports, kitesurfing is indicated in high season, and in Atins there are schools by the sea. In fact, an interesting alternative to tour over there.

The quad bike ride – Photo: Monique Renne

The quad bike ride is allowed outside the National Park, in an area called The Little Sheets. It is another alternative tour that guarantees the divesão. The cost for the tour is 350 for two people, departing at 9 pm and returning at 5 pm.

Sunset in the dunes – Photo: Monique Renne

However, if there is one thing we suggest you do as many times as you can, it is to watch the sunset in the dunes. It's a spectacular and unique sight every day. And the best part is free!

Travel Tips

Whenever you can bring food for the tours, the Park does not offer food infrastructure for visitors and on most tours there are no places to buy food or drink. Exceptionally, on some longer walks, there is a stop for lunch in strategically prepared places. Some cars offer thermal box for tourists who want to bring drinks, recommending that they do not leave the garbage in the park.

The walks through the dunes are done under a scorching sun, there are no shadows, so it is necessary to be well equipped carrying light clothes, bathing suits, hats and a lot of sunscreen. The slipper is also providential, although the sands are not very hot, besides socks, especially for those who will make the crossing of the National Park. After some time walking, the feet can become sensitive and make the ride painful.


Cell phone. At Lençóis Maranhenses, the telephone and internet service are always unstable, especially when it rains, so solve everything before you leave for your trip. The hostels offer wi-fi signal, but don't trust that it will be working properly. The carriers indicated for phone signal is the OI and internet is claro.

Money. Credit card is almost always accepted in Barreirinhas, not being the same for Santo Amaro and Atins. If you do not want to pass tightening it is recommended to take sums of money. In Barreirinhas there is Banco do Brasil, Bradesco, Caixa and Banco do Nordeste. In Santo Amaro there is a Bradesco, lottery house and post offices. In Atins there are no banks.

Did you feel like knowing this paradise? If you go or have been there, tell us how it was and be sure to check out other amazing content on the site.

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Want to see more pictures of this amazing place? Check on the facebook of Lençóis Maranhenses, if you take a trip there, your photos may also appear in the feed.

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