Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a 380,000-acre park, featuring 70 km (43 mi) of coastline, and an interior composed of rolling sand dunes. During the rainy season, the valleys among the dunes fill with freshwater lagoons, prevented from draining due to the impermeable rock beneath. The park is home to a range of species, including four listed as endangered, and has become a popular destination for ecotourists. Common activities within the park include night sky observation, surfing, bicycle touring, canoeing, ecotourism, adventure tourism, rustic camping, horseback riding, and all-terrain vehicle, and water tours.
There are three main points of entry. Barreirinhas is the most sophisticated, having sprung up to cater to the visitors that flock to Lençois. The town has a decent selection of all standards of accommodation, and from here it is easy to organize almost every kind of tour into the park, plus it is on the Rio Preguicas, a river named after sloths, which is good for paddle-boarding, kayaking and exploring the mangrove swamps. There is a good selection of (mostly Brazilian) restaurants and a few bars.
Chelynne Campion is a Production/ Sales Assistant for EarthSky. Her family just purchased a telescope, and she's now learning to be a stargazer!