Lencois Maranhenses

Natural Wonder of Maranhao

One of Brazil’s top natural attractions, is an ecosystem formed of vast, white rolling sand dunes which cover 383,000 acres and looks like bed-sheets.

The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a protected area on Brazil’s north Atlantic coast, just east of the Baía de São José. Lençóis Maranhenses, means “bedsheets of Maranhão in Portuguese, due to the spectacular landscape.

The Park is known for its vast desert landscape of tall, overlaid large, white rolling, sand dunes and seasonal rainwater lagoons. It encompasses roughly 1,500 km2, and despite abundant rain, supports almost no vegetation. Two rivers run through the Lençóis Maranhenses and these rivers push sand from the interior of the continent to the Atlantic Ocean, depositing thousands of tons of sediment along Brazil’s northern coast.

At first glance, the area looks like a picture-perfect desert with miles of sand. But it’s not a desert – Lençóis Maranhenses gets about 47 inches of rain yearly, too rainy to be officially considered a desert. During the dry season, about October and November, powerful winds from the equatorial Atlantic, whip the sand back inland creating the vast, sculpted sand dunes for which the park is famous.

Seasonal lagoons which fill up with rainwater, mainly during the first six months, makes Lençóis Maranhenses a unique kind of landscape. Mangroves, deserted beaches, bursitis – a graceful kind of palm tree and the Preguiças River helps compose the park’s diversity.

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