For the second time I had the privilege of facing an adventure that only a few know, the trek across the Lençois Maranhenses. This trip is recommended to those who love to connect with themselves and immerse themselves into great surroundings and exuberant nature. The journey is long; it’s for those who already have a habit of exercising; a difficultly level: hard; it’s for those willing to think about life and the values that we sometimes forget.
This time the trip began in Atins, after traveling with a group from Cumbuco, where we were able to experience some of the famous Route of Emotions. It’s a trip developed with affection by e-group where you can get to know the coast from Taiba, passing through several beaches such as Guajiru, Icaraizinho, Prea, Jeri, Barra Grande, Ilha dos Poldros, Tutoia and Atins. You also get to experience the services of the partner hotels along the way. It’s one of our tailor made trip, and can depend on the availability of the hotels for the trip to be planned accordingly) — meaning, the more free time you have, the better the experience!
After the delicious breakfast at Vila Guara in Atins, we took advantage of the excellent location and comfort that the hotel offered us, and headed to Baixa Grande that afternoon. The Rio Negro is only accessible by accredited cars, so my friend Serginho – a native of Atins took us there, where he introduced us to his brother Raimundo Nonato – our dear guide of the next days. He was born and raised in Atins, so he knows the surroundings very well, and also has a contagious sense of humor.
We trekked Baixa Grande in a group of 9 people. Larissa, Tiago, Mariah, Marcio, Patricia, Stela, Flavia, Samara, and myself. Each one of us had a purpose during this trip, but what we had in common was the desire to meet the locals, to understand how they lived, and to find ourselves in unique situations. We all wanted to live something the new, with sensations that we’ve never experienced before. We were beginning to feel the silent force of nature, which tells us and teaches us so much.
We started the 8km walk until Baixa Grande… It’s an average of 3.5 hours of walking to arrive in that place which I’m without words to describe— you have to go there to understand its many surprises: like the delicious river baths, sharing dinner with the local families who never tire of telling us so many incredible stories, and hearing the history of each one around the campfire with the twinkling stars is something inexplicable. I even heard that the dunes were formerly called “morrarias” which is like a series of large hills; and in fact they’re still called this today by some.
A simple house with a family that welcomes us as if we were one of their own. I asked Maria (who must’ve been 22 years old) to take me to her favorite river to swim. She accompanied me and taught me a few things during our short walk, with her silent gaze and the free smile familiar of those born there. I joked with her and asked if some extraterrestrial had come to that blessed place and she answered me affectionately: yes, and also some Japanese…
Baixa Grande is composed of 5 families and a vast flora in the middle of Lençóis Maranhenses – a true natural oasis – there you can find plantations of cashew, buriti, guajirú, mirim, mango, and lemon. There you will also finda great climate with abundant water and fertile soil for the plantations and animals such as goat, kid, horses, pig, sheep, cattle, chickens, etc… This hidden paradise was discovered by Mr. Lazaro Garcia who passed it on to his son Mano Garcia, then Henrique Garcia – Conrado Garcia and Domingos Garcia, in addition to all the kinship that lives there united.
Josefa, Manoel, Marciel and Maria are the children of the friendly Mano and Losa, who enjoyed sharing their place with us with great satisfaction.
We slept in some hammocks, without those frills I became accustomed to in the big city. Instead, I woke up with the noise of the birds, followed by a tapioca and coffee with milk, we enjoyed the morning with good energy.
We were ready to take on the next 15 km – about 4 hours to Queimada dos Britos. We imagined the wonder of being there in the middle of all the beauty of the park where there is so much LIFE – with lush fauna, flora and people who don’t care about the car or tennis of the year; they only want to get to know us and share the good times!
Good and simple food, sleeping in hammocks with the wind breeze and birds chirping! Besides visiting the lagoons to cool down along path, there is more beauty that they offer: blue, green, shallow, deep, refreshing… everything is more beautiful there. That night we had dinner and tried to get to sleep early.
The last day we headed to the community of Bethania, about 30km – on average it’s around 6 hours of walking – depending on the pace of the group. We passed by some unusual places, along the route we know: lagoon of the mended, the burned, stone mortar, caroto, swallows, tonoca, seagulls and many other thousand… There were even many birds accompanying us, letting us know to be aware of their nests, and we stayed attentive! We had lunch in Bethania and celebrated with an ice cold beer, another unforgettable experience.
Santo Amaro and Barreirinhas also have a lot to explore. They are places where it seems as if time has stopped. They reminded us of the good things in life, a beautiful spot in front of the lazy river, a coffee at sunset, and learning with the locals, an experience that as Da Vinci said – where simplicity is the ultimate degree of sophistication!
— If you want a unique experience like this, e-group and SSF have special packages for your vacation – walking barefoot for hours and eating fresh fish with the families of the Lençóis Maranhenses has to be on everyone’s bucket list – a transformative experience!!!
Itinerary > Trekking inside of the Lençóis Maranhenses.
Day 1: Transfer from Sao Luis Airport to Barreirinhas / at Portas da Amazonia
Day 2: Tour day to Atins by the Preguiças river, trekking from rio Negro to Baixa Grande.
Day 3: Trekking from Baixa Grande to Queimada dos Britos
Day 4: Relax day at Queimada dos Britos
Day 5: Trekking from Queimada to Bethania – Santo Amaro at Ciamat pousada.
Day 6: Check out.
Written By: Jalila Paulinho
Photos By: Marcio Antonio Silva