Jericoacoara was not originally on our Brazil destination list since it was north of our long route south; however, after three different Brazilians told us this beach town was on their life list….well, we had to adjust our plans. Though only accessible by dune buggies and mega trucks, we were now determined to get to the land of mountainous sand dunes, capioera dance parties, and kite surfing shores.
This picture doesn’t come close to capturing the majestic nature of the dunes of Jericoacoara. After one hour on the back of a 4-wheeler with huge tires, we rounded the corner for our first taste of these “big” dunes that our friends had fantasized about….and they did not disappoint. When our friends said “big” we were thinking, ok, bigger than the jersey shore, little did we know, they were talking large as compared to the Sahara desert (some dunes at Jeri reach over 40 meters tall (that’s 130 feet for the Americans reading along), see slide-show below for some sick photos)!
There are very few places in the entire world where you can watch the Sunrise and Sunset over the ocean from the same city on the same day, so you know we weren’t going to miss this opportunity. We hiked through the early-morning darkness (and a few cow pastures, ask Anne about the cow she woke up…lol), to share a serene sunset and a visit to the “Lazy Tree”, a tree that looks like it’s reclining on the ground because the strong winds kept it from growing upwards.
Jeri (fyi: the locals save some syllables with this town nickname) is known for this rock, and it was pretty awesome, however the journey there (which included an accidentally massive detour where we overshot it by about two miles during our pre-sunrise, star-lit hike) was even more beautiful than the destination (see slide-show below).
Enjoying sunset is ritual in Jeri. At 5pm each day, the whole town scales the massive “Sunset Dune” for the best vantage point to the west, cheers once it hits the horizon, then runs (or sand boards) down the soft steep incline to watch the town capioiera troop practice their moves in the last moments of light. We got there early to snap this photo of us on top of “Sunset Dune”.
To close out every evening a huge drum circle surrounds the capoera crew. These guys have so much energy, passion and skill, it really pulls you in, yearning for more.
On Day 2 in Jeri, we strolled over to the stables to ask about a sunset tour. We hop on our horses, and instead of the guide hopping on his horse, he gives us each a small branch, then gives our horses a pat on the butt, and off we go….solo into the sunset….
As we traveled the coast of Brazil we found lots of dunes and their accompanying buggy tours, but none as spectacular as Jericoacoara. The buggy tour was R$150 ($90USD) for a 5 hour private tour through mangroves, secluded lagoons, up and down the massive dunes, and across great expanses of wild beaches.
Sand dunes are a powerful force, and they don’t really mind what is in their way. The smooth texture of the sand, and its raw power just struck me as we flew past this in our dune buggy tour of Jeri.
Our dune buggy tour culminated at this lagoon front restaurant (pronounced he-store-an-che down here :), with a “live” menu of fish and shrimp (quite possibly the best meal so far on the trip), hammocks in the water, and kite surfers showcasing their skills for our entertainment.
Hopefully you will take a look at the slide-show below (just click the first photo to start), then begin scheming how you will get yourself down to this amazing Brazilian beach town. We recommend 3 nights-4 days in Jeri, but it could be done in 3 days if you are in a rush, but no less. Cost is a bit higher than other northnern towns, but not unreasonable (our hotel was R$85 a night, which is about $50USD, and included breakfast & Wi-Fi).