Below is a short video that sums up the trip from Barreirinhas to Jeri!
With Portuguese architecture, French lights and reggae music, São Luis is kind of unique in Brazil, and for me, the starting point to go to the Lençois maranhenses!
The Lençois are known for their white sand dunes that fill with water in Brazilian winter. I did not know what to expect, after all I had already seen some small dunes here and there, but I could not imagine how it would make me feel.
I felt like a kid discovering snow for the first time.
The landscape, the feeling you get walking in the sand, the wind blowing around you shaping the dunes, it just gets you and you end up thanking the universe for having created such beautiful things!
The sand is actually cold because of all the wind that blows constantly, and also because there is groundwater. This also explains why the dunes fill up with water in the rainy season. We are lucky there is one lagoa that is always filled with water, it’s cold Lagoa da Esperança. No need to explain.
To get there, go to Barreinrinhas from Saõ Luis, you can take a 4 hours bus for 60 reais, coming to pick you up at your pousada, and dropping you at the next one. This leave you time to go to the Lençois in the afternoon before moving on the next day.
On the next day you can take a kind of a jeep to go to Atins.
They say it takes 1 and a half hours… Ours was broken so we waited for someone to fix it. 3 hours waiting and 2 more hours to get there with maybe 17 people in total in the jeep and lots of bags. Everyone do their shopping there as they all live in very remote places with little opportunity to grow anything.
But it was worth it, Atins is a beautiful small village, not touristic at all, in the sand dunes on the sea. It is known for kite surfing as there is also a lot of wind there.
A small advice for when you reach Atins, at 2pm and you are just starving… the village is literally build in between sand dunes, and this sand does burn your feet even with flip flops, it really hurts!
Then from Atins, you usually go to Cambure taking a boat. Cambure is even more remote than Atins, I fell in love with the place. It is just half an hour boat trip with a fisherman from the village. Cost me 40 reais as I was the only one going there.
And from Cambure it gets complicated. Usually you need to take a quad to go through the desert to Paulino Neves, then a bus to Tutoia, then another one to Parnaiba, then to Camocim and then to Jeri… and it can take up to 2 if you are lucky or 3 days under a temperature of maybe 50 degrees in the sun.. You are still in the desert!
I was super lucky as one guy was going to Jeri with his wife, and he was also giving a lift to one French and one Italian woman. So I joined their trip and only after 7 hours I was in Jeri! Just in time for the sunset! I managed to negotiate the trip for 200 reais, which was more or less the price of all the buses, less the hassle. Usually the agencies sell it for 800 to 1200 reais from barreirinhas, if you have time it’s much better to do it yourself. I went through the Lençois in 4 days, from São Luis to Jeri.