Overview

The far north is a fascinating region hardly touched by tourism. The city of São Luís (a World Heritage Site) is an unexpected treat, its colonial and art nouveau buildings decorated with delicate European ceramic tiles. Just beyond is the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, its surreal, shifting landscape a wrinkled sheet of rippling sand dunes, pitted with jade and aquamarine freshwater lagoons. The river Preguiças flows into the mangrove-rich Parnaíba delta, where the bird-filled islets support traditional fishing communities. The wild sandy coastline has a few laid-back little resorts, notably Jericoacoara.

Fortaleza is an unashamedly holiday-focussed party city, famed for its exuberant nightlife - its broad, skyscraper-fringed beaches reminiscent of Copacabana.  It is also the entry point for visitors to gorgeous barefoot beaches within easy reach, such as Canoa Quebrada.

Round the corner of Brazil’s shoulder the northeast, once wealthy with vast sugar plantations, has a cultural identity all of its own, complemented by wonderful beaches. Close to the pleasant port Natal is award-winning Pipa; the gorgeous sands there visited by turtles, and the bay by dolphins.

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Off the beaten track Brazil: Dunes and lagoons of Lencois Maranhenses

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The amazing white sand dunes of Lencois Maranhenses National Park harbour crystal-clear lagoons. To book a trip enquire online or speak to an expert.

Where to go when - our guide to North coast: Natal, Fortaleza and Sao Luis

Sao Louis

The weather in North coast: Natal, Fortaleza and Sao Luis is wide and varied

Brazil’s little-visited north coast offers World Heritage Site cities, national parks of rippling sand dunes and wild sloping beaches peppered with laid-back resorts. The port city São Luís can be visited all year round- expect equatorial warmth tempered by an ocean breeze. If you’re heading for the beach at Jericoacoara, the best time is the July - January dry season. This is also kitesurfing season. Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is at its most photogenic April - September, when there’s water in the pools, with most rain falling February - June.

View our North coast: Natal, Fortaleza and Sao Luis weather guide

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    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

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    Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.

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    A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.

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