A landscape formed by sea, river, lagoons, “igarapés” (small canals), mangroves and several islands, such is the magnificent Parnaíba Delta. Situated on the border between the states of Maranhão and Piauí, it’s the third largest ocean delta in the world, surpassed only by the Nile delta (Egypt) and the Mekong delta (Vietnam).
The delta’s configuration resembles an open hand whose fingers represent: Barra da Tutoria, Barra do Caju, Barra do Iguaçu, Barra das Canárias, and Barra da Melancieira (barra means inlet), all of which have ramifications, forming an incredible and impressive ecological sanctuary. The city with the best structure for receiving those who wish to know the delta is Parnaíba, the second largest city in the state of Piauí, and one of the stopping places on the Rota de Emoções (Route of Emotions), which includes Jericoacoara (in the state of Ceará) and Lençois Maranhenses (in the state of Maranhão).
Besides the trips along the delta, don’t miss the main culinary attraction of the region, the crabs. There are many ways to serve them, the most traditional being the “corda de caranguejo” (crab rope), with four units that must be dismembered and broken with a little stick. The other ways are more practical: breaded crab claws, crabs in their shells, crabs stewed in coconut milk, and crab pie. During the visits to the delta, the boats usually stop at the “igarapés”(small canals) where the crab fishermen show how they catch the “uçá-crab”(fiddler crab), a species with a blue back.
The best time to visit is from April to July, and the tour of the archipelago begins at the port of Tatus, in the town of Ilha Grande (Big island), 9km distant from Parnaíba. Every day at this time of the year, speedboats and boats take tourists to visit the region’s ecological sanctuaries. The Ilha das Canárias (Canárias island) is the second largest in the Parnaíba Delta, surpassed only by the Ilha Grande (Big island). The place is an area of environmental preservation, and is part of the marine extractive reserve of the Delta, and its population is divided among four villages: Canárias, Passarinho, Torto and Caiçara.
A sun that shines intensely all year long, water mirrors, mangroves, dunes, lagoons, wild animals, rivers and beaches with paradisiacal landscapes. A product of this incredible mixture, the Parnaíba Delta is another fantastic and unique place in northeastern Brazil that will remain forever in the memory of those who visit it.