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WHERE DID WE GO?
Lençóis Maranhenses, a 600-square-mile national park in northeastern Brazil.
WHY DID WE GO THERE?
The park's massive sand dunes provide a stunning backdrop and make you feel as if you're in a desert. But you're not. Located not far from the Amazon basin, the region gets plenty of rain—and the water collects to form lush lagoons that look like oases in the expanse of white sand. The lagoons, which almost completely disappear in the dry season, even have fish—the eggs are brought in from the sea by birds.
WHERE DID WE STAY?
Gran Solare Lençóis Resort in the nearby city of Barreirinhas (about a 90-minute jeep ride from the park).
WHAT DID WE DO?
The majestic scenery in the park is best taken in on a four-wheeler. The nearby Preguiças River also provides plenty of opportunities for play: Visitors can tool along the water in anything from a dugout canoe to a small, speedy boat called a VOADEIRA. And what better way to cap off the day than with a dip in the resort's massive swimming pool?
WHAT DID WE EAT?
The resort features delicious local cuisine, and there are countless restaurants in Barreirinhas. There are also plenty of places to eat along the Preguiças, including one at which a monkey took quite a liking to Anne V. Some of the best eats came at tiny places—people's houses, in some cases—where freshly caught fish were cooked over coals.