When I decided I was going to Brazil, I had two things in mind: doing kitesurfing and visiting the Amazonas!!! So I started searching for flights and to investigate with which places could I start the adventure. I finally got a flight to Fortaleza with GOL (which was really a great company, even though is a low-cost), but I wasn’t planning to stay in the city, my idea was to go to Jericoacoara and spend some days there, exploring the area.
In Fortaleza I spend one night @ the coolest hostel in town where you can meet other fellow travellers and get a FREE welcome caipirinha: Full Sail Hostel (30 R$ per night a bed in a dorm), and early the next day I took a bus (around 7 hours ride, 55 R$) from the main bus station heading to Jericoacoara.
The bus ride was really comfortable, I forgot how good are some bus lines in South America, where you can stretch your legs and sleep… Even though the road was a little bit rough (if you plan to travel around the Northeast, you will have to get use to it! All roads here are kind of rough) after around 6 hs ride we got to Jijoca. In this little town, I was informed that I had to change buses, because to arrive to Jericoacoara, you have to go over the dunes on the beach (no roads!)… and with a normal bus it’s impossible. We changed to a bus which is called “jardinera”. I have to say the last hour ride was amazing! A real adventure to be able to arrive to this marvellous town literally “middle of now where”.
When I finally got to Jericoacoara, after some many months of dreaming about it… I couldn’t believe I was there: tiny beach village, next to the sea, surrounded by dunes & ocean, with sandy streets & alleys to stroll around, protected form the wind, and full of nice restaurants & pousadas (yes… that’s all they have in Jericoacoara, 1 pousada next to the other, and a restaurant every 2 pousadas!).
Nowadays Jericoacoara is very popular, not only because of it’s windy season for the kitesurfers, but also for the travellers all year round, due to it’s charm, so it’s inhabitants mostly live of the tourism… I think the few fisher boats at the beach, are ” the perfect setting” for the sunset pictures!
Where to stay
As I was travelling alone, I decided to stay in hostels with share rooms so I was able to meet other fellow travellers. In this category there are 2 really good and cool hostels which are also very close to each other: Jeri Arte Hostel & Villa Chic Hostel (both offer dorms as well as private rooms with/without AC). The prices changes depending if it’s high or low season starting from 30/40R$ a bed in a share room without AC (low season). The breakfast from the Villa Chic was just fantastic, and Jeri Arte Hostel had the best Chill Out area: was perfect to hang around reading a book, uploading pictures to your FB or sharing some beers with other fellow travellers while resting on the hammocks.
If you prefer to have your privacy there are a lot of pousadas with single/ double rooms which also offer great breakfast and are very nice. The prices can go from 65 R$ per person a night in a double room (Pousada Jeri Paradise) to 1.300 R$ a night (Essence Hotel… with your own pool on the balcony and sunset views!). The best thing of the accommodation in Brazil, is that they compete to see which one offers the best breakfast, and believe me many of the places do a great job: fresh tropical fruit, fresh juices, bread with butter & marmalade or cheese & jam, home made cakes, tapiocas with scrambled eggs… the variety of food that many places offer in the morning, is just amazing!!
What to do (Without money!!)
Jericoacoara is a beautiful town and many of the activities there require money: day trips, surfing & kitesurfing equipment rentals, etc…. but there are also a few things you can do, that are for FREE, and are really worth it! Here some of them:
– Trekking to the “Pedra Furada”: 2 Kms away on the sea side by the beach you might find a huge rock with a big hole, this rock is called “Pedra Furada”. The best track to get there is through the beach: you walk to the main beach”Praia Principal”, and go until Club Ventos, there you will find a path that takes you to the next beach “Praia da Marhada”. Cross these beach, and on the end you will see a path going up a hill, follow this path for around 20 minutes, until you arrive to the rock, you will see it from the hills. The path is really well marked, you can’t get lost and the views are stunning. The best time to go there is for the sunset (from the main beach is around 40 minutes walking). To go back to town, take the path that goes over the “Serrote” which is only 20 minutes walking (check the map below for details!).
– Sunbathing @ the beach: “Praia Principal” is really good to sunbath and go for a swim, or SUP as well as surfing when there are waves, but the sun is really strong in the Northeast so be careful, and try to be on the shade and/or use a lot of sunscreen. The “Praia Marhada” is much nicer, but there is no shade at all (I think there are only 3 palm trees!), and in the afternoon during the windy season, it really blows here. It’s a perfect beach to go in the morning and watch the surfers. If you plan to do the trekking to the “Pedra Furada” the beach there is also beautiful, and almost empty, but there is almost no shade here, too.
– Sunset from the dune: next to the main beach you will see a big dune, this one is called “Duna do Pôr do Sol” (sunset dune). Every afternoon starting at around 5 pm you will see that many people starts walking up the dune and get a sit on the first row to enjoy the sunset from one of the best spots in Jericoacoara (the other one is from the Pedra Furada). This is one of Jericoacara rituals: enjoying the sunset every afternoon. You won’t regret any of them, they are all just breath taking.
– capoeira @ the beach after sunset (not on Sundays): when the sun goes down, on the main beach you will see a group of locals that start playing the drums and singing while dancing capoeira. Is really a nice small show worth watching. It last for around 1 hour, and starts with the sunset. You won’t miss it, you will hear the drums!
What to do (with money)
– Buggy day trip to Lagoa Paraiso & Lagoa Azul: if you are in Jericoacoara, you can’t miss this day trip to the lagoons! You can book it from your pousada or just get a buggy from the street. They pick you up @ 8:30 am and you spend the day visiting these amazing lagoons with the buggy (which is super cool!!!). In the lagoons, there are restaurants where you can have a drink or lunch while enjoying the hammocks in the water!! It really feels like paradise!! Take the camera with you 🙂
Price: between 180 R$- 350 R$ depending on the season, per Buggy (max. 4 persons) If it’s low season, try to bargain the price!!!
– Surfing, SUP, windsurfing or kitesurfing: if you are lucky and you have waves, rent a board and go for it! Ride the waves of Jericoacoara (the cheapest rentals are the ones on the main beach, but they don’t have many boards (20 R$ for 2 hours a surf board). The ones with more board options are next to the beach @ Rua do Forró, and are a little bit more expensive). SUP boards are more expensive: from 30 R$ per hour. If it’s windy go kitesurfing or windsurfing!! Club Ventos has a rental, as well as a beginners course for kitesurfing (1000 R$).
Where to eat
As I mentioned before, in Jericoacoara there are a lot of restaurants! Good ones, bad ones, expensive ones, cheap (ok… not that cheap) ones. You can have from Japanese Sushi to Italian Pizza, as well as a typical Brazilian dish. One of the restaurants which I liked the most was Dona Amelia: they offer plates for 20 R$ which include meat, salad, rice, feijão and farofa!!! They also have the amazing ananas fulled with shrimps, rice and coconut milk sauce, as well as many other local dishes (some days of the week, they have live music!). If you need some fresh as well as energy to go surfing, there is a very nice place on the main beach that serves “açai na tigela”(from 12 R$): Naturalmente Restaurant. The typical one comes with granola and banana. Really tasty and refreshing! By night is also very popular the Samba Rock on the main square, which has daily live music. If you feel like having some take away, there is a woman that has a stand with home made food (from 5 R$ a portion) across the main square. She is there daily from 5 until 10 pm, and the food is really testy! On the main street “Rua Principal”, next to the market, you will find the “Padaria Principal” that offers a daily buffet for 12 $R the dish (you can serve yourself once, and feel the plate as much as you want!). If you are staying @ the Villa Chic, they have a BBQ, and you are allowed to bring people from outside the hostel until 10 pm, so go for it, and use it, you can get the meat, drinks, and salads @ the market on the main street.
After a hole day of trips, trekking, sun and water sports, you still have the possibility of going out for drinks and dancing afterwards! @ the Dumundu Bar you can get a 900 ml caipirinha for 15 R$! In the Dona Emilia, twice a week they have forró night with live music (entrance around 15 R$). During the weekends you will find a party going on @ the end of “Rua Principal” on the beach. All the small caipirinha stands get around a DJ and everybody dances here until 2 am (is free entrance). In Jericoacoara there is every night a party going on: it could be live music, as well as a forró night or electronic music by the beach. The town is so small, that everybody know where will be the party that night! Don’t miss them!
How to get to Jericoacoara & getting around
To arrive to Jericoacoara you can take the bus from Fortaleza (from 55 R$, around 7 hs ride) as well as a 4 x 4 transfer (you can get it organice with your accommodation). The price is around 400 R$ per car (max. 4 persons). If you are coming from the Lençois Maranhenses, there are a few options:
Option 1: Going from Barrerinhas over Paulinha Neves- Tutoia- Parnaiba- Jijoca- Jericoacoara (around 2 days bus trip, sleeping one night @ Tutoia). The most adventurous option.
Option 2: Going form Barreirinhas to São Luis by bus (Cisne Branco bus line, 44 R$), then to Parnaiba (Guanabara bus line 85 R$) and from there to Camoicin (Guanabara bus line, 22 R$). Then the bus to Jijoca finishing @ Jericoacoara (Fretcar bus line, 24 R$). Here you spend the night in the bus from São Luis to Parnaiba and takes 2 days if you go non stop. (I also did this option spending one night @ Parnaiba and another one visiting Camoicin!)
Option 3: Get a 4 x 4 transfer to Jericoacoara! This is the fastest option if you don’t have enough time to take buses, etc…
Getting around Jericoacoara is very easy: the town is so small, that you can walk everywhere. Don’t take any high hills shoes, because all the roads are sandy.
!!!THEY DON’T HAVE ANY ATM’S IN JERICOACOARA SO TAKE ENOUGH CASH FOR YOUR STAY THERE!!!! (many restaurants take credit cards, but not all of the hotels accept them…)
Brazilian Real exchange rate today (23/07/2015)
3,22 R$ = 1 USD
3,52 R$ = 1 EUR
Some words in Portuguese that might be useful during your stay in Jericoacoara, as well as the map of the town!
Forró: a type of Brazilian music you will dance in Jericoacoara!
Caipirinha: An alcoholic drink which is made of cachaça, sugar, ice and a fruit (the typical one is with lemons, you can also have it with kiwi, anana, etc…)
Prato feito: typical Brazilian dish which has a type of meat (or fish), rice, pasta, feijão and farofa
Feijão: a sauce made of beans that is served normally with rice
Farofa: it’s kind of a thick flour which is served with feijão and rice
Pôr do Sol: Sunset
caixa electrônico: ATM, or something that they DON’T have in Jericoacoara, so just forget this word and take enough cash