The Lençóis Maranhenses National Park (Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses) is located in Maranhão state, in northeastern Brazil, just east of the Baía de São José, between 02º19’—02º45’ S and 42º44’—43º29’ W. It is an area of low, flat, occasionally flooded land, overlaid with large, discrete sand dunes. It encompasses roughly 1500 square kilometers, and despite abundant rain, supports almost no vegetation. The park was created on June 2, 1981. It was featured in the Brazilian film The House of Sand. Kadhal Anukkal, a song from an Indian film Endhiran starred by Rajnikanth and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was also shot here.
Located on the eastern coast of the state of Maranhão by the banks of the Preguiças River, the park embraces the municipalities of Humberto de Campos, Primeira Cruz, Santo Amaro and Barreirinhas, the latest serving as the main jumping off point into the protected park.
There are several regular bus/truck routes between Barreirinhas and São Luís, Brazil (Maranhão’s capital), a distance of about 260 km. There are also air taxis from São Luís to Barreirinhas. The Rio Preguiças river connects the park to Atins, a small town at the southern edge of the park. The most important access roads near the park are BR-135, BR-222, MA-404, and MA-225.
The National Park is quite extensive and has no direct access roads. Because of the nature of the park’s protected status, most vehicles are not permitted access. Entrance to the park is made exclusively by 4-wheel drive trucks. Escorted trekking trips and tours are offered by various companies including Adventure Life, Bespoke Brazil, and Pantanal Adventures.
The national park status serves only as a means of protecting the area’s ecology; consequently many people are park residents, as is also the case with nearby Jericoacoara.
The inhabitants of the park work primarily as fishermen during the rainy season. During the dry season, many leave for neighboring regions to work small plots of land.