Our blog and Instagram – Flymaniacs – encourages people to travel more and travel better. With more than 30 countries under our belt, we have gone through many ups and downs and have some fantastic stories to tell.
Of course, we are nowhere near the end of our journey. Especially now that we are living in Denmark and have the objective of getting to know every corner of the European continent, including the incredible Nordic countries.
Fabi is a journalist and has been an avid traveler since an early age. She was always that friend who organized trips and planned all the details. In 2011, Fabi moved to Ireland to work as a travel writer for a great Brazilian publication. Because of this, she visited some amazing places and it sparked an even stronger desire to explore the world and tell stories.
Jota became an art director so he could travel. Guess what, it worked! He has lived in Europe, the US and almost lived in the UAE (but that is a story for another day). Jota is constantly looking for a good story to tell and a great angle to shoot.
After spending many years working for advertising agencies, he found his dream job in Denmark working at LEGO. Now, he spends his time working on Flymaniacs and building pirate ships out of little blocks!
Our Journey with Flymaniacs
In 2018 we decided to put into practice a dream that we had: sharing our experiences and inspiring others to travel more, spend less and explore the world in a better way with tips that are almost never found on other websites. It was like giving tips to our friends – if you know what we mean?
It didn’t matter if the destination was a beach, city or mountain – we wanted to have more immersive experiences, travel in a more surprising way and inspire people to do the same. In the past, we liked to travel fast and see many places. Today, we understand that the longer we stay in a destination the more we are able to absorb the culture and meet locals. This became our passion.
Visiting Lencois Maranhenses – The Most Incredible Place in Brazil
We have always wanted to explore more of our home country (Brazil) but always left it for later. In 2015, during a trip to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, an English girl told us that Lencois Maranhenses was the most amazing place that she has visited in her life. That is when we thought: “gosh, this is our country and we don’t know about it. How can that be?!”
With that in mind, Lencois Maranhenses rose several positions on our bucket list until it finally reached number one. It took awhile for the opportunity but when it came we grabbed it and went to the Northeast. Now we can confidently say that Lencois Maranhenses is not only one of the most extraordinary places in Brazil but in the entire world.
A Magical Five Day Itinerary at Lencois Maranhenses
We visited the Lencois Maranhenses National Park during our trip through the “Route of Emotions” – one of the most beautiful routes in Brazil. This route also passes through Jericoacoara (Ceara) and Delta do Parnaiba (Piaui).
The park is an area with more than 1500 km² of white sand, dunes and lagoons. In fact, during the rainy season you can find over 36,000 lagoons! As we did the entire Route of Emotions, we had to divide our days by different states. In the Lencois Maranhenses region we stayed for five days but would recommend staying for seven as there is a lot to see.
During these days, you basically go on pick-up truck tours to explore the different lagoons while crossing the park to continue the Route of Emotions. And, although everything looks the same (mainly in photos), believe us that each place has a different landscape and energy. The feeling of visiting a park so immense and untouched like Lencois was just epic!
There are three starting points to discover the Lencois region. Because of the tours that we chose, we stayed in Barreirinhas and Santo Amaro (you have the option of staying in Atins also). Our itinerary was the following:
- Day 1: Barreirinhas – Lagoa Azul (at sunset)
- Day 2: Atins – Canto do Atins (all day)
- Day 3: Barreirinhas – Lagoa Bonita (in the morning) and Santo Amaro
- Day 4: Santo Amaro – Lagoa Betania and Lagoa do Junco (all day)
- Day 5: Santo Amaro – Lagoa das Andorinhas (half day) and Sao Luis
We would recommend doing Lagoa das Emendadas too as it only takes half a day. We visited in August because the best time to visit Lencois Maranhenses is just after the rainy season. At this time the lagoons are full and even more beautiful. If you go in the rainy season, you might get cloudy lagoons with little water. The rain can also ruin your visit, obviously.
Favorite Place in Lencois Maranhenses: Lagoa do Junco
It’s very difficult for us to choose a single favorite place in Lencois Maranhenses but a corner that really surprised us (mainly because we had never heard about it) was Lagoa do Junco located in Santo Amaro.
Lagoa do Junco usually doesn’t fit into the itinerary of tourists which was half the reason why we were so excited to visit! Cars are unable to reach the lagoon and you have to walk around 20 minutes under the strong sun to get there. But we convinced our guide and other tour attendees to include this destination on our tour that we took through the Betania region.
When people tell us about a place that is hardly sought after by tourists, that is where we want to go! That feeling of finding something new really moves us. And anyone who loves to travel knows what that feeling is. Wow, when we got there the lagoon was so blue that it hurt our eyes! The best part was that we had the lagoon practically to ourselves.
Top 5 Places to Visit in Lencois Maranhenses
You can spend days in Lencois Maranhenses and for sure you will find beautiful places. It’s difficult to narrow it down to just a few places but here are some of our favorite spots that you can’t miss on your itinerary:
1. The Popular Lagoa Azul in Barreirinhas
Located in Barreirinhas, Lagoa Azul is the most popular and traditional tour of Lencois Maranhenses. But this place can get super crowded. The biggest attraction is the sunset which creates the dreamiest scene imaginable.
2. Lagoa Bonita (Beautiful Lagoon) for Sunset
Also located in Barreirinhas, this well known lagoon is famous for watching the sunset (they say it’s more beautiful than Lagoa Azul). We desired a more peaceful experience at Lagoa Bonita and visited in the early morning. It was sensational because we had this little place all to ourselves.
3. Canto do Atins – A Kitesurfing Paradise
This tour takes you through several lagoons, one more beautiful than the other. In addition, we ate some delicious prawns at Restaurante da Luiza and ended the day at Atins Beach, famous with kitesurfers.
4. The Incredibly Blue Lagoa do Junco
Lagoa do Junco can be seen during the tour that goes from Santo Amaro to the region of Betania. As it’s not often visited by tourists, you will need to ask your guide to include it in the tour and as a reward there will be practically no one else there. You can enjoy the incredibly blue lagoon all to yourself!
5. Fly over Lencois Maranhenses for the Best Views
Although more of an experience than a destination, a flight over Lencois Maranhenses is an absolute must-do. Imagine seeing the immensity of the desert landscape and lagoons from the sky! It must be out of this world. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to experience this but we will on our next visit.
Where to Stay in Lencois Maranhenses
Before choosing a hotel for Lencois Maranhenses, it’s important to know which city you will be based in. The region is so large that it’s possible to stay in three different cities: Barreirinhas (the most famous region), Atins (more rustic with sandy streets) and Santo Amaro (the most distant).
Even after our trip we find it difficult to say which one of these places is best. We are torn between Barreirinhas and Santo Amaro because most of the tours leave from here. Furthermore, you can get to know Atins on a day trip from Barreirinhas. Almost all of the hotels are simple but comfortable. Choose one with air conditioning. The region is hot!
Highlight from our Trip to Lencois Maranhenses
Our whole trip seems to have been a dream for us. But if we had to highlight one moment it would be when we went to Lagoa Bonita (Beautiful Lagoon, in Portuguese). This is a well known attraction in Barreirinhas but everyone goes for sunset. We chose to take the risk and go against the tourists, arriving very early.
It was difficult to find a guide willing to explore this place in the morning. After a little bit of effort, we found someone and to our surprise Lagoa Bonita was one of our best experiences. To get here you need to climb an extremely steep sand dune and when you arrive at the top you have a surreal view of several beautiful lagoons. This beauty gives the name to the region.
What really touched us was when we arrived the lagoon was completely empty which is rare in Lencois Maranhenses. There was only us, a world of endless white sand and several lagoons with crystal clear waters. It was like something out of a movie! Having done something outside of the “norm”, it provided us with an enriching experience that few people get to have.
Need to Know Before you Go
If we could provide just a few important tips for those who want to embark on the journey to this Brazilian paradise they would be:
- Plan your trip for the best time of year which is right after the rainy season in between July and August. The lagoons are full and crystal clear during these months and make for fantastic photos.
- There are three base cities where you can enter Lencois Maranhenses: Barreirinhas, Santo Amaro and Atins. See the tours you want to do and then choose your base city for your adventures in Lencois Maranhenses.
- Don’t be fooled: the sun is strong and the clear sand increases the chances of you getting burned! So in addition to sunscreen, a good tip is to bring a t-shirt with UV protection. Preferably one with long sleeves.
- Guides are your best friends at Lencois Maranhenses! Maintain a good relationship with them and learn more about local life and customs. As with any friendship, the more you give the more you receive.
- If possible take the entire Route of Emotions! The region is rich in landscapes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Now you are ready for your trip to Lencois Maranhenses. That was a special place for us. We hope you also enjoy this paradise in Brazil!