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Sao Luis and Lencois Maranhenses for budget-conscious travellers: Sunset in the dunes
Sao Luis and Lencois Maranhenses on a Budget 4 Days of Nature and Adventure

Travel Number: 67255

Sao Luis and Lencois Maranhenses on a Budget 4 Days of Nature and Adventure Brazil | Sao Luis, Lencois Maranhenses

On this budget-friendly international group tour, you will discover one of Brazil‘s natural wonders: Lencois Maranhenses National Park. This otherworldly dune landscape takes its name from the Portuguese word “Lencois,“ meaning bedsheets. And it is easy to see why when you take in the pristine white ripples and crystal-clear pools extending across the horizon. You will visit the old town of Sao Luis, and enjoy a jeep tour into Lencois Maranhenses and a boat tour on Rio Preguicas.


Day 1: Arrival in Sao Luis

Included: Transfer with Meet and Greet (private)

Upon arrival in Sao Luis, you will be picked up from the airport and taken to your accommodation. There, a guide will welcome you and explain your itinerary in more detail. The rest of the day is yours to do as you wish. You might want to explore the car-free historic center of Sao Luis, which offers a trip back in time with its plentiful well-preserved colonial buildings. Sao Luis is also the capital of “Nordestino-Reggae,” and its many charming bars offer live music on a regular basis.

Overnight: Casa Lavinia, Standard room

Day 2: From Sao Luis into the Dunes of Lencois Maranhenses

Included: Transfer (in-group) | 4x4-Excursion into the Dunes (in-group) | Breakfast

You will start the day with a group transfer to Barreirinhas, the gateway to Lencois Maranhenses. The journey is about 185 miles (300 kilometers), which will take about 4 hours by van / minibus. In Barreirinhas, you will first check into your accommodation, and then you will have some free time for lunch (not included). At around 2:00 p.m., you will set off with your group in an off-road jeep towards the national park, about 9 miles (15 kilometers) outside the town. On route, you will cross a river on a raft, which may cause a small delay depending on the amount of visitors. The drive takes about 1 hour along a sand track lined by cashew trees. When you arrive at the Lencois, you are free to walk around and see what lies beyond the dunes, and time permitting, enjoy a refreshing swim in one of the natural pools. Later, you will enjoy a spectacular sunset in this unforgettable landscape. After sunset, you will head back to Barreirinhas via the same route.

Overnight: Pousada do Buriti, Standard room

Day 3: Boat Tour on Rio Preguicas and Return to Sao Luis

Included: Boat Excursion (in-group) | Transfer (in-group) | Breakfast

In the morning, you will board a motor boat with the other guests. Your tour will lead you down the Rio Preguicas in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean. You will pass quaint villages, mysterious mangrove forests, and swaying palm trees, where you can try to spot native birds. The first stop is Vassouras, where giant sand dunes reach into the river, otherwise known as “Little Lencois.” This is a remote place, inhabited by only two families. You can climb up the dunes, drink fresh coconut milk, and with luck, spot some monkeys. There may be a wait to disembark as only around five boats can dock at the same time. The excursion continues to the village of Mandacaru, where a lighthouse (currently closed) grants amazing views over the region. The last stop is in Cabure, a sand bar between the river and ocean. You will stay there for around 1 to 2 hours and have the opportunity to eat lunch (not included), take a refreshing dip in the sea, or relax in a hammock. Afterwards you will return to Barreirinhas by boat, which takes around an hour. There, you will have between 1 and 2 hours to enjoy free time and pick up your luggage. At around 4:30 p.m., you will return in a group transfer to Sao Luis and arrive between 9:00 and 10:00 p.m. to check into your pousada.

Overnight: Casa Lavinia, Standard room

Day 4: Leaving Sao Luis

Included: Transfer (private) | Breakfast

Full of wonderful memories, you will leave Sao Luis, and depending on the time of your departure, you will be taken to the airport.


  • All transfers detailed above
  • 2 day trips (in-group with a Portuguese-speaking guide)
  • 2 nights at Pousada Casa Lavinia, Standard room
  • 1 night at Pousada do Buriti, Standard room
  • 3 breakfasts

Not included are airfare, insurance, beverages, meals not indicated in the itinerary, tips, and personal expenses.


  • Please note that the local guides rarely speak English.
  • To enjoy a personalized experience, we recommend a longer trip with a private English-speaking guide. That way you can avoid crowds and explore the region in a more flexible and independent manner.
  • The best time to visit the Lencois Maranhenses is from June to October when the lagoons are usually full of water and there is almost no rain. December to February are not good months for this tour. In November and December, the water level in the lagoons drops. In January and February, it rains frequently and the lagoons slowly fill up with water. In March and April the rainy season continues, and the lagoons have a higher water level. The lagoons may have dried out by August if the rainy season has less rainfall than usual. After a very wet rainy season, the water in the lagoons may remain up into December.