Thrumming humidity, tropical sunshine and stupendous scenery: travel specialists spent the mid-week section of the TAP/Del Bianco fam trip to northeast Brazil traversing a range of terrain – driving along deserted beaches toward Parnaíba, cruising through its enchanting river delta, before heading to the spectacular wonderland of sandy wilderness and secret lagoons that is the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park.
It was here that the power of the “Route of Emotions” to evoke strong feeling was truly felt, as the magnificence and rare beauty of its natural riches were revealed.
Refreshed from a stay at the wonderfully restored Hotel De Charme Casa De Santo Antônio in Parnaíba – which is a classy refuge of refined colonial grandeur and elegance – after a day on the move, albeit one that involved a languorous lunch of barbequed fish beside Lago Grande, the expedition headed for the Parnaíba Delta.
Clambering aboard a painted wooden boat the team of travel specialists set out for a morning cruise through the wide waters of the delta. Lazing iguanas camouflaged in trees may escape the gaze of most, but the boatmen are adept at pointing out these wily lizards. These brackish waters are also home to brightly coloured seahorses that are skilfully retrieved from the river by knowledgeable guides; spotting the gleaming red and orange crabs that scurry laterally along the muddy riverbank is far easier and requires no assistance. The delta is rich in wildlife and the crew were more than obliging in steering the boat for the team to photograph these delights.
Splitting into two small crews, the team of travel specialists then boarded speedboats as they traversed the mangroves with their alien-like roots, before heading out to the mouth of the delta. Having lunched on the island of Ilha das Canarias (at Casa De Cabloco for a piquant fish stew and beans) the afternoon was spent with the wind in the hair as the boats arced and bounced their way through the waters of the delta.
With the wide expanses of these waterways, the general absence of people (aside from a few crews of fishermen) and the sumptuous scenery, the power of this place is its ability to render all quotidian concerns meaningless – a real place to lose oneself.
The evening transfer to Barreirinhas by road (in 4x4s) was long and bumpy, although the road is due to be resurfaced. The Route of Emotions holds many treasures, but to enjoy them, visitors must be willing to undertake the necessary travelling.
Fiona Urquhart, sales manager for Worldwide Holiday, remarked: “Travelling to this unique area of Brazil would suit clients that like to be active. There are some long road, beach & boat journeys involved but these are certainly worth the effort to get to the most stunning landscapes I have ever seen. I cannot forget the 4×4 journeys along the beaches – rather than taking the road option.”
For sheer spellbinding beauty and awe, the following day’s excursion to the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park was surely the pinnacle of the trip; under the brilliant blue blankness of the sky, the vast expanse of endless pristine dunes and the calm, crystalline waters of the series of lagoons that lay waiting to be discovered in ‘Brazil’s desert’, are a genuine privilege to behold. The isolated, unique beauty of this place is where the visceral power of the Route of Emotions is at its strongest.
Fiona Urquhart added; “Lençóis Maranhenses was my trip highlight – to swim in the lagoons was definitely worth all the exertion… Age would not necessarily be a constraint, but the fitter the clients the more they can enjoy climbing huge sand dunes & swimming in the aqua blue fresh water lagoons.”
The TAP / Del Bianco fam trip took place March 23rd – 30th 2017, with 8 UK-based product managers, product executives and sales consultants visiting Fortaleza, Jericoacoara, Delta das Américas, Lençóis and São Luís.