Enjoy this action-packed, off-road itinerary as you traverse the Brazilian states of Ceará, Maranhão, and Piau. Starting from the colonial city of São Luis, hop in a 4WD vehicle to see lakes and lagoons on your way to Lençois Maranhenses. Then barrel along sandy roads to discover Lagoa Bonita and observe exotic birds like the scarlet ibis flying as you cross the Delta of Parnaiba. Finish the nine-day trip by soaking in the kitesurfing vibes and glorious beaches of Barra Grande and Jericoacoara.


  • Walk through the colorful colonial landmarks on a city tour of São Luis
  • Discover lagoons and lakes such as Lagoa Bonita by 4WD vehicle
  • Explore Lencois Maranhenses and observe wildlife near Rio Preguiças
  • Cross the Delta do Parnaiba before lazing on Jericoacoara's beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in São Luís, Historical Walking Tour São Luís
Day 2 Transfer to Santo Amaro, 4WD Driving Tour Santo Amaro
Day 3 4WD Driving Tour to Betânia, Transfer to Barreirinhas Barreirinhas
Day 4 Explore Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Optional Flight Barreirinhas
Day 5 Transfer to Atins via the Rio Preguiças Tour Atins
Day 6 Transfer to Barra Grande via Delta do Parnaíba Barra Grande
Day 7 Explore Barra Grande Barra Grande
Day 8 Transfer to Jericoacoara, Free Time Jericoacoara
Day 9 Buggy Tour, Transfer to Fortaleza, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in São Luís, Historical Walking Tour

São Luís City
Settle at your hotel and then stroll the colonial streets of São Luís

Welcome to northeastern Brazil and the city of São Luis! Upon arrival, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Once settled, set out on a historical walking tour. The city is divided by the Rio Anil, where you'll find beaches to the north and the colonial center to the south, including numerous examples of exceptionally well-preserved Portuguese architecture. In fact, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is well known for its unusual tiled buildings.

To add to its charm, São Luis also has a rich culture of Afro-Brazilian influences that can be found in local cuisine, reggae shows, and, most interestingly, the traditions of Bumba Meu Boi, which are interactive plays celebrated during the colorful annual festivals. On the tour, you'll learn more about the colonial times of Brazil and how São Luis is the only city founded by the French and not by the Portuguese.

Day 2: Transfer to Santo Amaro, 4WD Driving Tour

Circuito Lagoa da Gaivota e Andorinha
Traverse the otherworldly dunes in Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

After breakfast, meet your driver for the 4.5-hour route to Santo Amaro in the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. You'll first drive until you reach the village of Sangue, where you'll take a break to stretch your legs. From there, take off in a 4WD vehicle across trails of sand to bucolic Santo Amaro, the location of the movie "Casa de Areia" (House of Sand). Here, you'll check into your hotel and drop off your luggage. Afterward, climb back into the 4WD and continue on a trail over the Lençois with stops for swimming in lagoons and lakes, including Lagoa da Andorinha and Lagoa da Gaivota.

You'll eventually ascend by foot to the top of a dune offering marvelous views of the Lençóis with the magnificent Lagoa da Gaivota at your feet. It's worth walking through the dunes in the late afternoon and taking a dip in the aquamarine waters as you wait for a fantastic sunset.

Day 3: 4WD Driving Tour to Betânia, Transfer to Barreirinhas

Lagoa Betânia
Admire the views at Lagoa Betânia in this incredible landscape

Rise and shine early this morning and climb into your private 4WD vehicle to experience one of the most pristine and striking regions of the Lençóis Maranhenses. The tour starts at Espigão, a region of long and high dunes along the beautiful Rio Alegre. When you get to the charming village of Betânia, along the banks of a pond, you'll step out and take a relaxing canoe ride to get to the giant dunes on the opposite side for more otherworldly views.

Following the 4WD tour, you'll meet your driver, who will transfer you 45 minutes outside of the park to the town of Barreirinhas, your home base for the next two nights. 

Plan your trip to Brazil
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Explore Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Optional Flight

Lagoa Azul Circuit
Fly over Lencois Maranhenses Park for another viewpoint of the dunes

Brace yourself for more superb scenery as you leave today on another 4WD expedition, this time to the impressive Great Lençois. This spectacular lagoon circuit is unique because it allows for one of the most beautiful sunset views of the Lencois Maranhenses National Park. Just 12 miles (20 km) from Barreirinhas, the access road consists of a trail of sand with vegetation on its sides, which sometimes leads to having to dodge protruding branches. Your 4WD vehicle will take you to the starting point, where you'll begin a guided walk to visit the lagoons that make up the Lagoa Bonita circuit. 

If you're thirsty for more scenery, you'll have the opportunity to take a short flight in a private plane to admire the fabulous Lençois Maranhenses Park from above. The trip takes place in small aircraft, which allows for a slower and more contemplative flight. The large windows are perfect for photographing and filming the beautiful lagoons in the middle of the dunes. The average duration of an overflight is half an hour, including take-off and landing, so enjoy every second!

Day 5: Transfer to Atins via the Rio Preguiças Tour

Preguiças River Tour with drop off in Atins
Float along the Rio Preguiças and lookout for endemic species

This morning, you'll transfer to the port of Barreirinhas, where you'll board a fast motor boat that travels up the Rio Preguiças to Caburé Beach. Along the way, you'll see palm trees and mangroves that are home to endemic species. You'll make a refreshment stop at Vassouras, one of many points where the dunes of the Rio Preguiças meet the Pequenos Lençóis, where you can look for monkeys and parrots. Then continue on the motorboat to reach the lighthouse, Mandacaru, in the village of the same name. After climbing to the top, you'll enjoy a 360-degree view.

Return aboard the boat, and continue to Caburé Beach, situated between the Rio Preguiças and the Atlantic Ocean. Discover its rustic inns and restaurants, and sit down for a seafood lunch. Following that, you'll cross the Rio Preguiças from Caburé to the village of Atins, where you'll stay for the night.

Day 6: Transfer to Barra Grande via Delta do Parnaíba

Transfer from Atins to Barra Grande with Delta do Parnaiba
Keep your eyes peeled for scarlet ibis flying overhead

Today, you'll leave Atins and make your way for Barra Grande with an excursion to the Delta do Parnaíba. After first crossing the river and arriving at Caburé, a Jeep will take you to Tutóia, from where you'll board a boat to cross the Delta do Parnaíba and its majestic labyrinth of islands, such as Igoronhon, Paulino, Caju, and Canárias Islands. Located between the two states of Piauí and Maranhão, the Parnaíba Delta is the only one in the two Americas to flow into the open sea, the third largest oceanic delta after the Nile and Mekong Delta.

With more than five tributaries, eighty river islands, and thousands of palm trees, not to mention forests and mangroves, you'll likely find iguanas, monkeys, and the occasional alligator along the route. It's a veritable labyrinth of rivers and canals that you'll cross in a boat below a sky interrupted only by birds' wings, such as orange-billed caracaras, kingfishers, vultures, and green parakeets. After the boat tour, you'll transfer to Barra Grande, a paradise for kitesurfers from around the world who come in search of the constant trade winds.

Day 7: Explore Barra Grande

Free day in Barra Grande
Soak up the laid-back vibes in Barra Grande, a mecca for kitesurfing

Today is a free day to explore Barra Grande at your own pace. This small fishing village on the coast of the Piauí State offers a remote and relaxed atmosphere, and the main daily activity here is kitesurfing. Enjoy the beautiful landscapes as you witness immense dunes, secluded paths, and untouched stretches of beach, making a simple walk a spectacle. If you're not interested in kitesurfing, the village of Barra Grande is also worth spending time with friendly locals and relaxed bars where you can sit and enjoy a caipirinha.

Day 8: Transfer to Jericoacoara, Free Time

Your hammock awaits
Spend some quality time chilling out in a hammock in Jericoacoara

According to the tide, you'll leave Barra Grande and make your way to Jericoacoara along 70 miles (115 km) of asphalt until you reach the Rio Coreaú, followed by the white dunes and carnaúbas palm trees in Camocim's Island of Love. Your 4WD will then follow the waterfront until you reach Tatajuba Beach, where you'll have the option to descend the Funil Dune using sandboarding planks rented on-site. Later you'll reach Torta Lagoon, where you'll find small hammocks over the water and Didi's Restaurant offering fresh seafood.

Later, take the second ferry crossing from Guriú Beach, with its green-water channel and mangrove trees. You'll follow the waterfront to Jericoacoara, where you will arrive in time to sit and enjoy the sunset on the famous Duna do Pôr do Sol (Dune of the Sunset), a daily ritual of residents and visitors alike.

Day 9: Buggy Tour, Transfer to Fortaleza, Depart

Buggy Tour
Take an exciting buggy tour on your last morning of the trip

After breakfast, enjoy a buggy tour off the beaten track at Lagoa do Paraíso and Lagoa do Coração, visiting the Pedra Furada (Holed Stone), which you'll reach after a 20-minute walk from the Duna do Serrote. On the Lagoa do Paraíso, the vibrant colors remind one of a Caribbean paradise with white sandy beaches, lush vegetation, and coconut trees framing the turquoise crystal-clear waters.

At the appointed time, depending on your flight time, a driver will meet you at your hotel and drive you to the airport in Fortaleza for your connecting flight home. Safe travels!

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