Top Ten Brazil Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Hike Northern Brazilian Dunes
By Shawn Blore

If paradise consists of crystal-clear freshwater lagoons lined by palm trees and surrounded by towering dunes of the whitest sand imaginable, then Eden is actually in the north of Brazil, in the Parque Nacional dos Lençois Maranheses. This 600,000-acre preserve is one of the world's truly unique ecosystems. Located on the coast, Lençois is a desert of massive sand dunes (most more than 100 feet high) that is blessed from December through July with abundant rainfall. The rains trickle into the troughs between dunes, creating spectacular lagoons of blue and green, which then fill up with fish and turtles and flocks of migratory waterfowl. Come summer, the rains cease, the lagoons shrink, and the sand dunes begin to shift, often by as much as 75 feet a year.

Tourism to the park is in its infancy; if you get there, you're likely on your own. Within the park there are no facilities, but entry is absolutely free, and there are no rules about where thou shalt or shalt not put thy tent.


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