THE GIFT ON THE ROAD
The gift on the road: JERICOACOARA I must be getting old. Memories strike and strike hard. Yesterday I realized my eldest son is turning ten in two days. This means it’s already been five years since we touched a piece of paradise. Five years since we found a gift on the road: Jericoacoara.
Jeri, a little lost town among wild dunes, 300 km from Fortaleza, in Brazil, is locked in my heart. Hard to get there as it is hard to reach in real life. You can arrive to Jeri by helicopter; renting private transportation; or with special cars that ride the dunes. Everything after a long trip from Fortaleza. If you choose this last option, get ready to jump!
Colors are everywhere… hibiscus.
We never thought of going to Jericoacoara while planning our trip to Brazil. We had thought Fortaleza itself was already heaven and we had settled for it. This because no one had ever mentioned Jeri to us. Yet, once the damage was done, we knew we had to visit it.
Seeing a few pictures online and watching some videos convinced us. Streets made of sand, no cars, magic sunsets and dawns… Yes. Awkward as it is, the sea almost surrounds all of Jeri, on the East and the West. And it is because of this special position that one can admire both moments of the day over the sea.
We spent a few days at Pousada Capitão Thomaz, an inn on the beach. Every morning we had breakfast cuddled by the sound of the waves and the smell of fresh brewed local coffee. It was a super relaxing place. We liked it so much we decided to stay some more days; the weather was terrific and people were so nice.
The village is rustic, wild, hippy. It has some primitive touch and a calm atmosphere. A unique memory will start creating on your mind and it will stay there forever. Go for dinner bare-footed, let the sand on the street caress your feet. You will feel light-hearted, airy, thoughtless.
On some side streets by the beach, little barracas with lanterns sell fresh drinks. Those will start your wild night beach party. From the national Caipirinha to a variant called Maracujaroska (vodka with passion fruit). If you want to take it easy, go for coconut water: a cheap and refreshing drink, natural and great for children as well.
Remember, you are entering a new dimension, a gift that civilization may have spoiled, but not much. Jeri is an Environmental Protected Area, in 2002 it became a National Park. Thus, building restrictions and touristic controls preserve the area.
Today the village enjoys electricity, something that was not possible 25 years ago; there are hot showers and air conditioning. Still, the local law forbids street lights.
Three things you shouldn’t miss if you visit Jeri. At least, these are the things I would definitely do again. I would add some extreme water sports, now that the children are older; and some horse riding as well; however, these are what we tried and loved:
You can arrive to this wonderful scenery walking for about thirty minutes (to the right) on the beach. Just take with you a good pair of hiking shoes since the path is harsh on some points. The best moment to visit is before dawn in July, when the sun starts setting on the other side of the hole. This offers an outstanding view as well as fantastic opportunities for photo shooting. Trust the locals to get there, they are easy-going and great guides. They know the area well and can show you unique spots that you might miss if you travel on your own. Be sure to get on the road with a low tide so that the path is less tiring.
Duna do Por do Sol
You don’t need to move to enjoy this one. It’s just there, on the beach of Jericoacoara. Every afternoon before sunset, a crowd climbs the slopes of this dune, sit there and relax. I guess they do selfies now as well, but not when we visited!
This is the dune of the sunset, a romantic spot where, like at the theater, you sit and watch. You watch the sun going down over the ocean. A rare view in Brazil as almost none of its coast faces the West. After the show is over, some people slowly climb down. Others enjoy riding up and down with skateboards or other wild home-made devices.
Lagoa do Paraíso
Blue crystal waters and clear sands wait for you in this little corner of Jijoca. On our way back to Fortaleza, we spent a full morning chilling down on the hammocks that hang on the lagoon. Little colorful fish swim past around you while you relax and enjoy a cold drink. Beach bars serve a few choices of local food. The road from Jeri to Lagoa is not easy. Special buggies are also needed; you’re going to jump as much as you did when you were riding to Jeri.
There are no cash machines in Jericoacoara. Take cash with you, not every shop accepts credit/debit cards.
Travellers cheques are not accepted.
Some hotels exchange euros and dollars for local currency. Exchange rates are not always convenient.
Area Code is 88.
Most hotels offer WI-FI internet connection or internet points.
Jeri has a small drugstore with a limited stock of medications. Take whatever you might need (sunscreen, repellent, basics for the stomach, headaches and antihistamine). Take all prescription medicine you normally take as well.
The nearest town with cash machines is Jijoca. There you will also find other facilities that Jeri does not offer. Check with your hotel or pousada for timetables and taxi or private rides.
There are no street lamps in Jeri, at night the lights of shops and restaurants will show you the way around town. It might be useful to take a little torch with you in case you lose the way back to your hotel.