While Brazil may be best known for its crowded Copacabana shorelines and its thick Amazon jungles, these aren’t the only natural wonders the country offers. Brazil’s raw beauty pervades all the way from its southern border to its northernmost coast. And, though it is often overlooked, lying in the heart of the northeastern state of Piauí is one of the country’s most spectacular sights: the River Delta of Parnaíba.

This delta, which is the third-largest open-sea delta in the world, is made up of estuaries that flow between sand dunes and feed into the Atlantic Ocean. It
features not only sandy beaches and dunes but also sheer blue waters, forests of mangrove trees, and flocks of the region’s unique scarlet ibis birds.

A tropical haven like this might seem hard to come by, but your getaway to Parnaíba’s river delta may be closer to your reach
than you think! Here is a mini travel guide to help you navigate this Brazilian paradise and create the ultimate vacation experience.


You can find highly rated and well-priced hotels all along the coast of the river, including the Casa de Santo Antônio and the Pousada Vila Parnaíba. There are also several quaint hostels just minutes from the delta and some Airbnb options, if you are looking to stay in a house with more space.

Tourism and Activities

Travel agencies such as Delta Rio Parnaíba Turismo can connect you with individualized activity packages. Activities range from kitesurfing lessons, where you can ride the waves of the open ocean, to night walking tours, where you can get a look at the nocturnal wildlife. You won’t want to miss out on riding the ATV trails through the lençóis, or dunes, that make the delta so unique.

Historical Landmarks

You can also venture into the city surrounding the delta and explore Parnaíba. Don’t miss a chance to tour the city’s historical landmarks, including baroque-style cathedrals and churches. One of the main points of attraction is the Porto das Barcas, or Boat Port, which was once the city’s international trading hub. Here you can find artisanal handicrafts, historical museums, popular restaurants, and more.Whether you’re looking for a vacation full of ancient monuments or for a trip to seaside sand dunes, the River Delta of Parnaíba has it all. So what are you waiting for? Get planning, and let the River Delta give an all-new meaning to vacationing.

—Amanda Dunn