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Picture Perfect: Visit The Flooded Desert

Be swept away by the lagoon-filled ‘desert’ of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park in Brazil

By Natasha Tan Rey; Photos: Shutterstock


At first glance, Lençóis Maranhenses looks like a typical desert where kilometres of sand stretch in every direction into infinity. However, it isn’t actually one.

One might call it the Pluto of deserts, because it gets about 1,600 millimeters of seasonal rain each year – too much for it to be officially considered a desert. These rains, carried from the nearby Amazon Basin, create a peculiar phenomenon: green and black ‘lagoons’ that pool between the dunes.


These interconnected lagoons link to neighbouring rivers, creating channels for fishes to swim through. The best time to visit the lagoons is between July and September.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of Weekender, Issue 155, June 24 – July 7, 2016, with the headline ‘The flooded desert’.