After one wild night in the beach city of Fortaleza (we partook in a carnaval practice party and danced through the streets with our hostel mates until 3AM), we caught a four-hour bus to the beautiful Canoa Quebrada. Set up above red sand cliffs and surrounded by dunes, this 3,000-person beach town has plenty to feast the eyes on. Their emblem is this crescent moon and star and it’s etched in the soft cliffs, laid into sidewalks, and painted all over town. I asked some locals what was the story behind it and apparently they decided Canoa needed something special to differentiate itself so they came up with this icon (sort of like the artist formerly known as Prince–no real reason, not a great story, but effectively memorable).
There is a slew of charming hotels in Canoa–most with gardens, pools, and ocean views. Per usual, we didn’t pre-book a hotel, we just roamed through town popping into whatever looked cute until we found a good deal. Three hotels and two blocks later we found the charming Posada Castello with for a mere R$50 ($30 US). Though the castle theme was a little much, the grounds, atrium, ocean views and the very nice hotel owner won us over!
When we asked the owner about the best spot for sunset, he replied with, “Quick! We haven’t got much time, come with me!” We cram in his pickup and he takes us to this huge dune at the edge of town where nearly 100 people (with their dune buggies, sand boards, pets, and kids) gathered to watch the pink sky.
The whole shoreline is made of these fragile, fiery red sand cliffs.
The rapid erosion and intense colors make for the prettiest frame for the coast but a dicey place to pose for a photo.
With cliffs made of sand, restaurants have to find “solid” ground on the beach below. Though with tides that rises about 15 feet each afternoon, everything is built on stilts and boarded up each night so the waves don’t crash in.
The updraft along the cliffs make Canoa a Mecca for paragliders. Watching them cruise up and down this coastline made for the best entertainment on a beach walk.
At its core Canoa is still a fishing village. Getting ready for work, this fisherman single handedly pushes this boat from sand to sea.
The tiny town’s main drag is adorably called “Broadway,” and though it doesn’t quiet compare to NYC, it has a decent nightlife. We went out with friends had made at our hostel earlier that week (funny enough we didn’t even know they were coming here but that is how the travel circuit goes) and enjoyed a few cervejas and caparinhas together.
We left Canoa Quebrada after only a day and a half but we could have stayed in this cute beach town a couple days, couldn’t you?