Lençóis Maranhenses. Brazil
Looking at the pictures, you might think about the melting glaciers, though, you see the desert. But this is a completely non-standard desert which is located in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses), in the state of Maranhao in northeastern Brazil. This place is also known as The “sheets” of Maranhão. And that is how the name of the park can be translated. From the bird’s-eye view, it seems as if a snow-white sheet is soaked in water.
It is a real miracle of the Brazilian nature. This park is considered to be the region with the cleanest air on the planet! In fact, this is a flat territory, which occupies about 1,500 square kilometers, and covered by large sand dunes, reaching a height of 40 meters. This “carelessly crumpled bed” consists of the dazzling white quartz. But this place can hardly be called a desert. Due to its proximity to the Amazon River basin, the rainfall is dominated here in a large quantity. During rainy seasons, the water accumulates between the dunes and creates amazing landscapes. This combination of blue-green water of the lakes and white sand is similar to fantastic movie shots. However, this incredible scenery is unique and short-lived, as the sand dunes and lagoons are constantly moving under the influence of air masses. Therefore, every moment is really unrepeatable here! However, some dunes are always in their place, and they even have their own names – Lagoa Bonita, Lagoa Azul, Lagoa da Gaivota. During the “beach season” a lot of tourists gather on these shores.
The best time to admire the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is from June to September, when the amount of water in the lakes reaches its peak and the shores are covered with lush vegetation (Mangrove trees grow up to 12 meters). On the green mangrove islands, in thickets, you can see hares, deer and many other animals. In the freshwater lakes you can find caimans, shellfish, turtles, shrimps and crabs. Another absurd thing of the park – fishing is a major craft of local residents, i.e. there are fish in the desert, and a lot!
Blue mirrors of the lakes reach up to 300 meters in length and up to 10 meters in depth. During the dry season between December and March, the temperature is + 36 ° C. The lagoons partially dry up and many of their inhabitants disappear.
The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is a rare geological phenomenon formed for thousands of years. The park is open for tourists and every year it meets a lot of people. Therefore, you can also enjoy the magical combination of white sand and turquoise blue clear water. Entrance to the park is free. Passage of vehicles in the park is limited in order to preserve the ecological balance of the area. You can move on the territory of the desert by foot or sandboard.