EU citiziens staying less than 90 days
don't require anything more than their passport. It'll
be stamped with a medium size square stamp.
The currency is the Brasilian Real;
the official change rate.
(1€= 2.3 R). The real is very volatile versus
the euros, being more aligned to USD
I had the LP and Footprint guide (7th
ed 2011): while I'm a great fan of Footprint guides
thinking they are far better than LP (that I like
though) I found some important missing info in it.
In particular poor and vague information about means
of transport: nothing about boat schedule on Amazon
River, suggestion about such boat trio (and on the
other hand 20 colored paged about the Brasilian music!),
nothing about the tours to visit the Lencois Maranhenses
(it's one of the highlights of Brasil!)....
I had the usual vaccinations: ephatite
A, B, typhus and tetanus. I know your main concern
is the dilemma 'to do or not to do the antimalaric
Against the malaria you have mainly three choises:
Clorichina, Malarone and Lariam.
Clorichina is not effective in this part of the world
(it's mainly for central America), but at the end
I decided to take neither Malarone nor Lariam.
In the region the risk exist especially in Amazonas
region; I preferred to cover myself conveniently,
using repellent and mosquito net than take antimalaric
for my 7th times.
on the Amazon River no mosquito
we took the Ledum Palustre, it's an
omeophatic cure that it's supposed to work as repellent
(I didn't get Malaria but I cannot guarantee you it
was thanks to Ledum)
we had a moskito net but we didn't use
Buy the your hammock:
On the boat there are no hammocks available
so everybody has to bring his.
In Manaus you'll find plenty of shops where
to buy ranging from a price of 8€ to
How to choose the best one?
One of the key elements you have to keep
in mind is the width, in fact you won't
sleep along the hammock (being curved like
a a banana) but you'll fell more comfortable
sleeping a little more at an angle, since
you will be flatter.
Don't forget two pieces of rope (1.5 m each)
to tie it up; they sell it on the harbour
Boat schedule and prices:
Don't expect to have a
fix price: prices depends more on the
boat you are using than on your negotiation
skills (that play their role though).
If you buy the ticket by the touts on
the streets along the port they turn out
cheaper then the ones sent inside the
port at the ticket office. I experienced
it personally. Manaus- Santarem, hammock
: ticket office 125 R$ (55€), first
tout, 120R$ (52€), second tout 100R$
Pay attention that some days of the week
there are more boat, others just one,
and others no boats. Here is the schedule
I found by checking Lonly Planet Thorn
for instance the Santarem- Belem boat
is only on 3 days per week (Fr-Sat-Sun)
Food on board:
On all the boats you'll find a restaurant
(a woman who cooks some chicken and rise)
and a lanchonete (a kind of bar), so in
theory you don't need to bring your food.
However for sake of variety I suggest
you to buy somethig before geeting on
board (fruit, biscuits,...)
The boat has several stopvers but they
are quite quick (30min) and you won't
have time to get off looking for food
On the boat there are no lockers to deposit
your valuables so you have to store them
below the hammock. Especially during the
night stopovers your belongings may be
an appetible prey.
Apart for guarding them (but it can be
boring especially if you are alone) my
suggestion is to tie your backbag to something
even using a small chain with a lock.
Hardly somebody will spend time opening
How long in advance to
Go on board at least 3hours before departure
unless you want the worst place (near the
toilet, on the aisle,...). Don't think then
you'll have your confort guaranteed! Even
if you find a good place for the hammock
in a stopover somebvody may hang his hammock
over yours (as happened to us). Hence during
stopver defend your place
Barrerinhas (Lencosi Maranhenses)
to Jericocoara by public means of transport:
The whole trip comes about 86R$, hence 40 euro
and take 1.5 days and expect to change so many
- 8.30 am toyota from Barrerinhas to Paulino Neves
(10.40): 20 R$ Sand track vey bumpy and scenic.
the trip is an highlight itself, I reccomend.
In Paulino Neves you can walk on the dunes
- 12.30 am toyota from Paulino Neves to Tutoya
(1.30): 5R$. New paved road. Tutoya it´s
not so ugly as said.
- 3.30 pm big bus from Tutoya to Parnaiba (6.00
pm):paved road about 10R$ (the previous bus is
- 6.30 pm big bus from Parnaiba to Camoncin (8.50
pm): paved road 16 r$. You have to sleep in Camoncin
(it's plenty of posadas and it's a nice place
- 11.40 am toyota from Camoncin to Jeri (1.15
am): 35 R$. Very scenic sandy road with water
cross overs on barges. and a long part on the
beach, I reccomend it!
Otherwise you can do in 9hours renting a private
jeep in Barrerinhas for150€ each person with
a minimum of 4 people
What is Lencois Maranhense?
Lencois in Portuguese means white sheets (the
ones used for the bed) and the name it's not by
chance due to the hundred of km's of white sandy
dunes dotted with sweet water emerald laguuns.
The landscape is far from what you'd expect to
find in Brasil (honestly what you'd expect to
find on the earth) not only for his tipology but
also for his dimension.
This huge area lies on the cost between Sao Luis
and Fortaleza and is the real highlight of NordEste.
The best way to see it is flying (with a minimum
amount of people you can fly over by a small plane),
but also climbing the dunes and swimming in the
ponds is an experience.
How to visit the Loencois Maranhense?
It's much easier than it sounds. Once the bus
drop youoff in Barrerinhas (4.5h from Sao Luis,
bus from Sao Luis at 6.00; 9.00; 14.15) the touts
will find you. There not many travel agences,
honestely I saw one and it was right in front
of the bus stop).
Anyway as usual the agencies just collect the
people for what is already organised by others
so, unless you don't do something customed, expect
to have the same choice whatever agency or tout
you opt for.
There two different trips to Lencois: one to Laguna
Bonita and the other to Laguna Azul and each destination
has two departures per day: at 9.30 am and at
2.00pm. If you come by bus from Sao Luis (6.00
am Sao Luis- 11.30 am Barrerinhas) you'll be able
to pick the 2.00 pm one.
Laguna Bonita costs 100R$ (44€) pp (negotiated),
Laguna Azul 90R$ (40€) .
The mean of transport is a jeep with the seat
mounted on the back (16 people)
Since it's said Laguna Bonita to be the best one
since it's the highest place we went head for
The trip take 5h and you need a cap, sunglasses
(sun cream) and swimming suit (if you want to
have a bath, but it'd be a pity to go there and
miss it). Once on the limit of the dunes ythe
jeep dropp you off and you climb them up, then
walking around for few hours, enjoying the sweet
shallow (1,5m) waters.
You can wander where you like untill after the
twilight at 6.00pm (amazing!) when the jeep returns.