Atins… the secret gem of the Lençois Maranhenses

A journey around the Northeast of Brazil is full of adventures and discoveries: sandy landscapes, windy beaches, palm trees everywhere… Not only the scenery is incredible, also the people are very nice and hospitable.

When travelers visit the Lençois Maranhenses National Park sometimes they don’t arrive to Atins, a tiny little town with sandy streets, next to a long and beautiful beach and in the Lençois Maranhenses dunes… From Atins, you can walk into the National Park every morning if you are on the mood.

I was lucky to meet some travelers in Jericoacara, who were coming from the Lençois Maranhenses, and they recommended me not to miss Atins.

I arrive to Atins through the Preguiça River, with a small boat, after visiting Cabure beach, Vassouras and Mandacaru.

river preguica trip

The boat leaves you on the beach, across a Reggae Bar, where you can get a refreshment with the nice view of the sea before heading into town, which is just 5 minutes walking from there.


Once in Atins, you feel how peace get’s in to your soul with such a quite and layback atmosphere. Travellers recommend me to stay @ Posada Tia Rita so I headed straight there to get a room. Once there you will find out the different ways to visit the Lençois Maranhenses National Park: you can do a trekking with a guide, or you can go with the toyota 4×4 tour, depending on how much energy/time you have.

When I got to the Posada Tia Rita, I was super lucky to meet the amazing “Falçao” Girls: 3 sisters and their mother that came from Sao Paulo on holidays and were exploring the Northeast. They were going to do the toyota 4×4 tour the next day, so I decided to join them and do the same trip!


After having a very nice breakfast @ Posada Tia Rita, with tropical fruits, coffee and tapiocas, we left on the 4×4 to visit the lagoons of the Lençois Maranhenses which were very near Atins (20 minutes car drive, also reachable by foot). We spend the hole morning swimming in the lagoons, walking around the dunes and admiring the amazing landscape. For lunch we went to the “Canto do Atins” where we had delicious fresh grilled fish.

  • Lençois Maranhenses National Park

Around 4 pm we were heading back to the pousada to be able to arrive just on time to enjoy the sunset by the beach.


I just spent 2 nights in Atins, because I needed to keep on travelling, but if you have time, Atins is a perfect place to spend some days exploring around, relaxing, enjoying the dunes & lagoons and the quiet atmosphere of the town.

What to do (without money!)

– Trekking into the Lençois Maranhenses: if you feel like walking and enjoing nature by your own, you can go walking to the natural park early in the morning. It’s around 1 hour walking until you reach the nice lagoons. To get there you just follow the sandy road which leaves the town and leads you into the national park. Once outside Atins, the road keeps on going surrounding the sandy dunes, until you arrive to the “Canto do Atins” which you will find on your right.

– Swim in the sea under the moonlight with plankton: after sunset, when it gets dark, if you are already @ the beach, you can go into the water and swim with plankton. If you move the water or jump into the sea, you will start seeing all those  million little plankton turning on and glowing in the dark in the water. The experience is just amazing and really worth it!

– Relax & chill in Atins: sit outside the Pousada Tia Rita and enjoy the locals conversations, while people passes by. Lay on a hammock and enjoy a good book or long nap to avoid the heat. Stroll around those sandy roads and discover hidden corners and places behind the vegetation. Head to the beach and walk all along the coast until you get tired and jump into the water to refresh yourself.

What to do (with money)

– Kitesurf: Atins is a perfect location to go kitesurfing. The windy season starts around June and you have many locations where to go kiting: you can choose one of the lagoons for your own, which are located in the National Park of Lençois Maranhenses, or you can go kitesurfing just on the beach, in front of the town, where you have the delta of the Preguiça River with kilometres of flat water for your own. If you take your own gear, check out that everything is OK, and take with you some extra lines or a repairing kit, because in Atins it’s not possible to get any assistance if you break your gear. If you want to do lessons or rent it there is the kite school Atins Kiteboarding, which offers lessons, kite trips, rentals, etc.

– Trekking through the Lençois Maranhenses National Park: locals will approach you to offer their service as guides, due to the fact that is very usual to do trekkings into the National Park, starting from one day, until a week or as many days as you wish. If you want to do a trekking, I would recommend to ask “Rita” to give you a hint regarding those guides, because not all of them are good, but she knows them all, so if you tell her the name, she tell you if it’s a good one, or not. Otherwise you just ask her to recommend you a guide and do the trekking with him. They charge around 120 R$ per day (food, accommodation or transportation are normally not included) and the 3 days trekking trip is the most recommended.

– Toyota 4×4 day trip to the Lençois Maranhenses: if you are short in time you can take the toyota trip which is 50 R$ per person, and you spend around 4 hours in the National Park. They usually leave every morning @ around 7:30 or 8 am from the Pousadas. You can book it directly there, the day before doing it.

How to get there

– From Barreirinhas: There are 2 ways to get to Atins from here, you can take a motor boat through the Preguiça River (35 R$, one way, 1 hour trip) or a 4×4 transfer through the dunes (25 R$, one way,a 2hs rough ride!). Both options leave early in the morning form the port in town.

– From Jericoacoara: If you are arriving to Atins from Jeri, once in Cabure Beach you can negotiate with a local boatman to cross you the river with his boat. He will leave you in Atins beach, across the Reggae Bar.

If you arrive with the toyota 4×4, you can ask the driver to drop you of @ the posada where you will be staying.
If you arrive with a boat, they normally drop you off on the beach in front of the beach bar. From there you turn to your left (the sea on your back) and walk 5 minutes along the beach until you find a sandy street on your right. This is the main street of Atins, where you might find all you need: nice posadas, local restaurants, a trendy bar, a kite school, and lot’s of peace.

atins_main street

Where to stay

Nowadays there are quite a lot of Posadas & Hotels in Atins in every price range. Pousada Tia Rita is where most of the travellers go:
Pousada Tia Rita: this pousada managed by locals (Rita and her family) offers the possibility of sleeping in a hammocks (from 20 R$ per night) or in a private room (single from 60 R$, double from 120 R$ per night). If you have a tent, you can camp in the garden, too (from 20 R$ per night). All options include a modest but testy tropical breakfast.

Camping Atins: There is a camping located across Pousada Tia Rita. The italian owner of Niky Bar & Spaguetheria manages also this camping (from 20 R$ per night per person, tent included). It could be an option for tight budgets or adventurer souls.

In you will find all the Pousadas & Hotels which are available, from around 100 R$ per night for 2 persons. Most of the offer in town, appears here.

Useful Information

THERE ARE NO ATM’S IN ATINS SO TAKE ENOUGH CASH FOR YOUR STAY THERE!!!! (and not many restaurants, posadas, accept credit card)

Some words in Portuguese that might be useful during your stay in Jericoacoara, as well as the map of the area!

Passeio: trip
Pousada: hotel
Praia: beach
Lagoa: lagoon
Pôr do Sol: Sunset
caixa electrônico: ATM, or something that they DON’T have in Atins, so just forget this word and take enough cash



Atins is just… inspiring.