Jericoacoara - Hard to Say, Easy to Love

The final stop on our whirlwind 23 day tour of various amazing places in North and North East Brazil (which we have thrilled you all with in the last few posts) was Jericoacoara. Not the easiest name to pronounce (go on, have a go) but it is a very well known beach town in Brazil. When you speak to Brazilians about holidays they talk about Fortaleza and the various nearby beaches such as Jericoacoara, or Jeri for short. It is the must see beach town and the Boracay of South America – famous for honeymoons and amazing accommodation. We were hoping it would be a cool and tranquil place to spend a few days at the end of a busy holiday and travelling adventure.

The Journey

We were picked up at 7.30am to start a bus journey that would take 5 hours, mais ou menos (more or less). I don’t know why they say mais ou menos rather than just mais, it’s always mais. It took nearly 8 hours in total involving a stop at a restaurant at 10am (way too early to eat). During this initial leg of the journey we saw a lot of tall palm trees and I started to understand where all these delicious cocos were coming from. Once we reached the edge of the national park we transferred onto Jeeps and were travelling around the dunes, where we stopped for a short but beautiful break. It really was like a desert with the high dunes and strong winds, and was a fascinating landscape to observe. Every so often we came across a small lagoon, which provided a great way to cool off in the baking sun.

The Pousada

We booked a delightful little pousada (B&B) on the quiet side of town and the end of the main road. The accommodation was amazing, such a peaceful place to spend the evenings and mornings. They had delicious cakes and mediocre coffee (a surprisingly common feature in Brazil) that I indulged in a little too much. We had a hammock outside our room, which Katie took full advantage of, rocking back and forth like a crazed monkey. Looking at photos of this place now, it becomes clear what a paradise this place was and what a great way it was to end the holiday.

The Town of Jericoacoara

We were a little unsure of what to expect from Jeri, as part of us was hoping for another paradise place like Gili Air in 2012. But it was more like a Gili T with a much more built up town full of shops, restaurants, and tour offices. It did have a great feel about it – similar to how I imagine Boracay to be, or a small Thai beach town (but with Brazilian prices!).

We spent a couple of days just chilling on the beach of Jeri and going for delicious food in the evening. My only qualm with the beach itself is the number of vendors that are bombarding you non-stop as you are relaxing. The calmness of the markets of Brazil, which are free from hassle, is not translated to these beaches. A slight but persistent annoyance.

It didn’t stop me from buckling down though and getting stuck into some writing, forming a more detailed plan of my second novel, a sequel to my highly anticipated first book Centum 184 (currently being edited by Katie). The name of the sequel shall remain a mystery for now...

A Buggy Tour

There are two main buggy tours that you can do from Jeri and both involve travelling along long stretches of sand, whizzing by numerous dunes, and various other activities. We chose the tour that went east rather than west as it required a bit less drive-time and a bit more seeing and doing. We met a lovely couple from Sweden called Jessica and Tibor and we spent a few days with them, one in Jeri and another on the buggy tour. 

Our first stop was at a place with some interesting rock formations, including the famous rock where the sun sets through its hole every day. However as this was first thing we did in the day, the sunset was nowhere to be found... A lot of other tourists were around though. It made the experience a little less enjoyable as when you see rocks and serene beaches, you want the accompanying serenity and not a mad group of tourists snapping away on their iPhones, diluting the experience. It’s like the old belief that taking a photo steals a person's soul – nowadays it’s more like with every Instagram, a piece of the place’s soul is shared on the internet and the real connection is lost from that moment.

After the rocks we visited an even busier tree.  He was a laid back fella that had been shaped by the very strong winds.

Driving around on this glorified quad bike over this beautiful landscape was an amazing experience. Going across dunes and dirt tracks while seeing burrowing owls, vultures, and hawks was very special. Next up was Lagoon Azul where we had to wade through this gorgeously coloured water to sit at a quiosque and drink a deliciously sweet aqua de coco. There were also water hammocks and I really enjoyed chilling on them; it felt like floating in a bath tub as the water was so warm.

After this lagoon, we drove to a different one called Paraiso and this place really was like something out of a film. A true paradise and the four of us stayed there for about three hours, enjoying the delicious food and again chilling in water hammocks whenever we needed to cool off.

The final stop on the tour was Lagoa Coroção (Heart Lagoon) where we could “skibunda” down a dune into the water. It was great fun and Jessica was a natural, while I was only really good on my first attempt and unfortunately Katie caught one of my goes that highlighted my lack of technique.

The day ended with a drive back to our pousada, through the national park. We went over a lot of dunes and captured some incredible moments on film. Maybe it was because we had just watched the new Jurassic Park film and I was humming the theme tune, but riding about in this buggy over a dirt track with trees either side, we really felt like we might see a dinosaur.

The Journey Home

After the bad journey into Jeri with regards to time, we decided to go with a different company back, which involved a 9am departure and a stop off at a different part of the Paraiso lagoon. We had been in Jeri for five days but this final stop was one of the nicest places we went to on our 23 day holiday. It was super chilled and quiet, and was where I penned the majority of this blog post, listening to the birds singing, lagoon waves splashing, and children playing in the water at this tranquil spot. A delightful way to end a delightful holiday. Scroll down for some awesome photos!

A Few Tips About Jeri

You can book a single journey from Fortaleza to Jeri for R$60 although we paid R$70. Thoroughly recommend coming back via Paraiso as it was a great way to break up the journey.

At the far far end of Jeri beach is a bar called Ventoclub, complete with sun loungers and chairs at reasonable prices. It's a good please to chill out and they have showers, although that end of the beach has rocks which makes entering the water a little more painful.


Every night hundreds of people (or at least it felt like that many!) walk up this big sand dune on Jeri beach to watch the sunset and, of course, clap when it finally disappears

These little burrowing owls are only about 20cm tall and are very cute

Our Swedish friends, Jessica and Tibor

Lagoa Paraiso

Lagoa Paraiso again - truly stunning

Can't you just picture a celebrity wedding taking place here?!


Another Burrowing Owl

Muita Beleza em Fortaleza

Fortaleza, in the state of Ceará, is another 2014 World Cup city that England played in, and that also hosted us on our trip. From what I can tell, Fortaleza is one of the top destinations for Brazilians to visit. And as we are now adopted Brazilians, we had to go. Colleagues had told me that the beaches are incredible and peaceful and there are so many activities to do. When a country famous for its beaches has a city famous for its beaches, you can be pretty sure they are going to be fantastic. We spent some time based in Fortaleza, either side of a trip to a small town called Jericoacoara (post coming next).

Originally we had planned to do a few organised day trips from the city but after the first tour, we decided to give the others a miss. The tour we did involved seeing three beaches in one day. We should have guessed it would be a little hectic from the description but we hadn't experienced tours like this for a long time - not since China. We were shuttled around on a huge coach with a lot of people (all Brazilians and us), going to destinations with loads of other buses following the same route. Not really our style but the tour itself was actually quite fun and we got to see a lot for a relatively low price.

The concept of going to three beaches in a single tour is a little alien to us. A beach is surely just a beach... Or so we thought. The first stop on our tour was to a place called Morro Branco - we were dropped off in a little village with lots of small shops full of these cool trinkets!

Sadly we didn't stop for long so didn't have time to buy one.
From the village we jumped on to what would soon become a familiar mode of transport, a sand buggy, and headed across the beach. These sand buggies (think large quad bike built for sand) held 4 passengers and whizzed along the beaches in a crazy way. We went over dunes and it was a lot of fun with the sand blowing in our hair making us feel like explorers – what a way to travel!

At Morro Branco we went to a red rocky section that looked like something out of a film. It was interesting to walk around and take some nice photos although in such a large group, it was also a little frustrating trying to get a picture without people in it (a particular man in a red t-shirt seemed to enjoy photo bombing all my shots. Oddly fitting for a landscape straight out of a Star Trek episode though!)

Praia do Fontes was the second stop and we whizzed through it on the buggies. The cliffs were very cool and interesting looking as we shot passed on our new favourite form of transport.

The final stop was at a beach called Canoa Quebrada with dozens of huge restaurants, where we ate, chilled out and went for a swim. It was a nice end to the day (if slightly spoiled by the terrible band that was playing!)

What else? Fortaleza city itself also has beaches that are pleasant and we enjoyed walking around exploring some of the local hangouts. We went to see some churches, the pretty decent Central Market where we bought an amazing map, and a cool bar where we listened to an awesome band play some great covers of songs.

We also visited an area of town/another beach called Praia do Futuro that has a plethora of huge quiosques. I was recommended Croco Beach and it didn't disappoint. It is a resort of sorts with a huge restaurant, bands, as well as beach seating and all the amenities a person could need. I would recommend visiting this area for a day as it was decidedly different from any other beach experience we have had in Brazil. It was just surprisingly organised (for Brazil) and had a lot of infrastructure like you would expect in the top resorts in Europe.

Fortaleza was an interesting place to visit and it was very different to anywhere else in Brazil, by being completely tailored to Brazilian tourists. It felt a little touristy and crowded but it was a fun place to be. Again not a must see in our opinion but it’s a gateway to Jericoacoara, which was a stunning place.

That's it for today – enjoy the photos and join us next time for more beaches!

*Note: £1 was R$5 at the time of writing.
3 beaches in 1 day = R$55 pp (+R$50pp for the buggy, which was definitely worth it!)
Bus from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara = $R140 pp return (£28)

The city of Fortaleza has a lot of beaches!

And piers that have burnt down!

Croco Beach - A great resort in Praia do Futuro

The start of our day trip!

Beberibe Church near Morro Branco

Morro Branco beach

The mass of red sands in Morro Branco

Back on the buggy!

Praia do Fontes

Imagine being buried here with the sounds of the sea and children playing on the nearby beach.
I don't remember ever seeing a cemetery so close to a beach before.