The Best Place in the World to Go Barefoot Trekking
In far northern Brazil, the country’s Atlantic coastline faces north. From here, the wind whips onshore and across the unique 100km-wide Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. The wind brings sand and clouds, forming a vast desert landscape dotted with freshwater lagoons. Beneath the sand and lagoons is a tangle of mangrove swamps, which give life to a diverse ecosystem.
The constant movement of sand and rain creates an ever-evolving and visually striking landscape–well-loved by Instagrammers and those looking to beat the crowd to the next off-the-beaten-track wonder. It’s rated “out-of-this-world” 5 stars by thousands of TripAdvisor reviewers.
However, one of the coolest things about the park is the opportunity to discover barefoot trekking. As simple as it sounds, just take your shoes off and feel the soft grains beneath your feet.
But why? It is way more comfortable to trek barefoot than to have sand rubbing in your shoes. Trekking on sand barefoot is also good for your balance and gives your foot the full range of motion. Plus, the resistance of walking on sand helps to improve the strength of your leg muscles and core.
Sand is also a natural exfoliant, so you’ll have soft and supple feet after a few hours in the pristine sand. You can also, of course, wear socks!
Multi-day barefoot treks, like the one offered by MT Sobek, cover 4 to 7 miles per day and take between three and seven hours. It is a marvelous way to feel connected to the earth over four days. There is no Wi-Fi. You are completely unplugged.
The days start early, around 4:30am, so trekkers are off the sand by 11am to avoid a full day under the heat of the sun. The rest of the day you can relax in a hammock at camp, and enjoy the vast and overwhelming beauty of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. It’s a Brazilian wonder.