We discovered the only wet desert in the world where you can even swim
The two Avengers movies were filmed in Lencois Maranhao, a place that seems to come from another planet.
Usually we do not associate the water element with the desert. However, this is a feature that the Lençóis Maranhenses will overcome. Known for its fine sand and wide streams of crystal clear water, this place is a very famous landmark in Brazil and leaves visitors in awe of its natural beauty.
A small oasis located in the Lencois Maranhenses National Park. Numerous freshwater lagoons between sand dunes form a desert mixed with Maldivian beaches. It is located northwest of Maranhao, 250 km from the city of Sao Luis, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions.
Established in 1981, the park covers an area of 155 thousand hectares, with sandy hills reaching 40 meters in height, and is considered the largest dune park in Brazil. It was originally built to protect the local flora, fauna and natural beauty. Its movie-like aesthetic, combined with white hills and lagoon diving, attract tourists all year round. Despite 155,000 ha, the sandy hills outnumber the park that protects them, and they spread over 90,000 ha. Its area is even larger than the city of Sao Paulo.
The phenomenon of creating these beautiful lakes with crystal clear water is because the rains fill the natural groundwater reservoir (water table) until it reaches the surface of the sandy soil. This impressive landscape has been shaped by many years of natural combined action of the sea, wind and rain. The first deposits of fine-grained sand on the beach. The sun causes them to dry up and is blown away by winds blowing inland. Gradually, they accumulate and create large hills that are transformed by the action of the air flow. Finally, lower lagoons give the dunes a crescent shape.
This unusual ride caught the attention of Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. If you are a fan of this type of films and identify this place, it is because the producers of two films decided to shoot on Maranhao sheets. The scenes that played out near these lakes and dunes are associated with the planet Vormir, where the soul gem was located. The curious thing about this situation is that due to the many fans of the saga, those responsible for filming had to change the title of the film to “Mary Lou” in order to divert attention. The recording took three days and the end result is impressive.
Even though it does look like a desert, its temperature doesn’t match the appearance. The region has two distinct seasons: the rainy season, which lasts from January to July, when humidity prevails. August to December are dry months. Sometimes in the latter, the sheets of Maranhao evaporate, as a result of which the paradise lakes disappear.
The fauna and flora of this place is also very attractive for tourists. The watercourses that flow through the area are often interconnected and contain a wide variety of species. Among them are fish and insects with unique characteristics. The park is also home to endangered species such as the manatee (a pelican-like bird), otters, the wild cat (a type of mammal), and the manatee (an aquatic mammal). It is also inhabited by a rare pedigree of turtles – pining.
The region is crossed by the Pregisa River. Water layers are divided into two categories: large and small, which dance in accordance with the water cycle. Ponds are formed when it rains, that is, at the end of May, during the rainy season. Some of them are up to five meters deep and over a kilometer long. During the dry season, the ponds change, changing in size to smaller ones until they evaporate at the end of November.
For this reason, when traveling to Lencois-Maranhao, you need to pay attention to the calendar. If you want to see these crystal clear lakes, you should visit this place just after the rainy season, between April and August, because during the dry season they will disappear and the landscape will turn into a desert.
Among the most popular tours are the Lagoa Azul circuit, the Lagoa Bonita circuit and visits to Lagoa das Emendadas and Canto de Atins. In addition to the main tourist attractions, be aware that the cities around the park, such as Cabure and Atins, offer itineraries on the Rio Preguisas and Rio Formiga. In these places you can practice kitesurfing.
Both routes can be completed on foot, which will take you three to five days to cover the entire Lenco-Maranhenses National Park. This is the most intense and complete way to visit the place. Another way to complete the route is with 4×4 jeep rides that give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the environment. As if that weren’t enough, you can even take a helicopter tour around Maranhao.
Lagoa do Kite, do Gavião, da Maria Vitória, do Mário, Lagoa Bonita and Lagoa Azul are the names of the watercourses that you can find in Lencois Maranhão. The sunset is one of the most beautiful and is very popular with tourists. You can see it in the middle of the dunes, with a picnic, if you wish. One of the accommodation options in Barreirinhas, Vila Ati offers you this experience.
To get there, there are three villages around the national park that serve as the starting point for visiting Lencois Marine. These are Barreirinhas, Atins and Santo Amaro, and it would be ideal to know all three.
If you are flying by plane, we advise you to fly to one of the main cities of Brazil (Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Natal) and then to Sao Luis International Airport, the nearest city to the place, which is 250 kilometers away. . After that, you can use public transport or the shuttle that leaves from Sao Luis to the village of Barreirinhas.
The first depart from the airport and the capital of San Luis and cost 19 euros.. The companies that provide this service are São Paulo Ecoturismo, Rota Combo, Gi Conect and Levatur. There are, of course, taxis for 27 euros per person, but this is always the most expensive solution. It is also possible to travel by bus along the route, which in this case is operated by Cisne Branco Turismo or Expresso Guanabara. It has four schedules a day and each ticket costs 12 euros.
A favorite destination for all tourists, Barreirinhas has a good selection of hotels, several restaurants and travel agencies that organize trips to the lagoons. From this village you can fly over Lencois Maranhenses, the Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Bonita routes, take a boat or quad bike ride. You can also get to Atins and Santo Amaro, two other nearby cities.
For those who prefer a more intimate approach, there are two regions that are located exactly in the center of the Lencois Maranhensis National Park and are only accessible on foot, although the route is difficult. These places are only visited by tourists crossing the park on foot. In these cases, it is the local families who receive visitors and give them shelter.
Then click on the gallery to get to know this gem of Maranhao better.
Lencois Marenhenses, Maranhao, Brazil.