When people say that Atins is a village in constant motion, it's not a metaphor. After all, it is located in a small stretch of "firm" sand between a Preguiça tributary and the Atlantic Ocean.
The steady, strong winds and the tidal cycles shape the dunes and shoals, and in the last five years put Atins in the map for kitesurfing practitioners worldwide.
Recently a seawater invasion, turned the left bank of Preguiça river mouth, previously a swampy area, into a sandy beach perfect for tourism.
At the same time, a neck of land formed a thousand yards offshore created a natural barrier that keeps the ocean's waves away, making a long stretch of still waters perfect for kitesurfing.
This oceanic natural swimming pool, allied to constant sunlight, encourages tourists to try out kitesurfing lessons.
Even with the population growth during the summer seasons, Atins doesn't suffer from water shortages, because its three hundred residences have artesian wells.
Groceries and industrialized supplies come from Barreirinhas, a border town 20 miles away from Atins that serves all the small communities in the Lençois Maranhenses area.
Barreirinhas is the city tourist's last chance to get cash from ATMs because there are no banks in Atins.
Little by little, the village's residents are also learning how to profit from the newfound tourism, by setting up bed and breakfasts and restaurants.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV