Home WORLD Lagoons Among Dunes – Brazil’s Disappearing Desert Oases

Lagoons Among Dunes – Brazil’s Disappearing Desert Oases

With large expanses of sweeping sand dunes, Lençóis Maranhenses might appear to be your average desert. But for six months of the year, crystal blue lagoons turn the arid region into a cool summer hot spot.

image/text credit: Great Big Story

Located in the Brazilian state of Maranhao, the national park is inundated with rainstorms from January to June of every year.The rainwater that collects between the sand dunes paints a stunning landscape covered in thousands of crystal clear lagoons.

image/text credit: Great Big Story

But unlike most deserts in the world, for a few months every year, seasonal rains transform this windswept terrain into a mysterious landscape of flat, shimmering pools curled against the contours of sun-bleached hills.

image/text credit: Great Big Story

As much as 150 centimetres of rainfall leave behind hundreds of these shallow, freshwater lagoons – all but a few of them will gradually disappear again – throughout a vast area extending for more than 1,500 square kilometres.


Some of the pools — which come in varying shades of green, blue, and black – can be several feet deep. Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Bonita are two of the biggest lagoons in the park.

Though the national park is not a true desert, it does share some of the harsh environmental characteristics that make it difficult for wildlife to thrive here.