Feeling somewhat adventurous, I hired a dune buggy for a day to get to some of the harder to reach spots on Fernando de Noronha. The freedom was wonderful, and I ticked a few more places off my list that I’d been meaning to see or go back to.
First stop though was down to the petrol station to fill up. I must say it was a bit challenging trying to stay on what I consider to be the wrong side of the road. Plus I had no idea how much fuel this thing was going to need or use. With some help from the locals, I was off and running.
And I soon found myself back at my favourite haunt, the Baia do Sancho.
After a 300m walk to the cliffs, you then descend down two sets of rickety ladders to end up walking down onto a gorgeous stretch of beach. Giant white birds with pterodactyl-style tails were flying and circling around overhead, before sheltering in the trees that hugged the cliffs around the calm bay. It was somewhat like a scene out of Jurassic park, but without the fences, or the maneaters…
There was a giant tree at one end of the beach providing shade and protection for the handful of tourists who had come to snorkel and bathe. At the other end, tranquility and isolation…
I loved the freedom that the buggy brought, even though it was a bugger to drive. At night it was dangerous too, as the top of the buggy obscured most of my vision of the road… Regardless, it was all going well. That was until… it broke. The gears snapped or something <insert technical explanation here later> and left me practically immobile on a busy enough stretch of road where there no places to pull over. Directly on either side of the road were large gullies for the rain…. and no place for stopping.
With some mild swearing from other drivers, and a bit of a panic, I managed to veer the buggy by reversing down the wrong side of the road, and snagging an impromptu parking spot out the front of one of the restuarants. Lucky for me, one of the guys hanging around out the front, knew the owner of the buggy hire company. And it got all sorted within a half hour…
They offered me a replacement buggy, but that thing was crazy I tell you. I said, ‘maybe tomorrow…’
Leaving Jericoacoara was quite an experience…
I woke up very early for any traveler (6am), packed my things and left the pousada (hotel) to make my way down to the one bus stop in Jeri where you can catch the bus back to Fortaleza.
It had been raining a little the evening before, but suffice to say, it had turned into a torrential early morning riser as well… The sandy streets of Jeri had become surging rivers of water racing back to the neighbouring sea. Armed with only a plastic bag around my backpack, I stripped off to just my shorts, and trudged through the rain for 7 minutes until I reached the bus stop, thinking of the warmth of the bus that would soon be my shelter.
I was soaked to the bone, but luckily, my backpack had largely escaped unscathed by the elements. Upon spying the bus, I soon realised that I would not be as lucky, as the 4WD dune buggy-bus had open windows, no flaps, and just enough seats to fit most of us in…
The leaky roof didn’t really help either. We soon became best buddies with our shivering travel companions as we put on a brave face for the next hour or so until we would get to the ‘proper bus’.
I wrested my towel from my backpack, and managed to dry myself off, but it too soon joined the rest of us and was drenched. When we got to the proper bus, there was no time to get dry clothes out of our bags, it was straight under the bus for our bags, and we jumped on board to try and dry off as best we could.
Lucky for me I had packed a spare pair of shorts/shirt in my daypack, so was largely able to get dry enough again over the next 4 hours to Fortaleza, then prepare myself for the next bus to Natal…
A crazy, crazy, yet adventurous day was had by all.
It is oddly amusing that this trip was one of the more friendlier trips, as the cold and rain brought all the travelers together in one spirit.
When in Jeri, a town of sandy streets, you’re faced with a few limited options for transport – on foot, horse or mule, quad bikes and the dune buggy.
Needless to say, many take the buggy option. I bumped into Paulinho on my way down to the beach and he offered to take me round (a ‘passeio’) at a discounted price (as I was by myself and normally the buggy’s seat 3 plus the driver)
While you’re no longer allowed to go onto the dunes themselves as it’s a National Park Reserve, it’s a great experience to drive where permitted. There’s plenty to see around Jeri, but it takes a bit of driving to get there…
We arrived at Lagoa Azul (there’s always a Blue Lagoon everywhere!) and I had to swim across a channel of water to get to an island where they have set up a cute array of restaurants.
Tables are set in the water, so you can eat and drink while fish sim about your ankles and nibble at your toes. You can also jump in a hammock, submerged in the water and relax as people wait on you, serving you with whatever you’d like to eat and drink.
(My kind of paradise!)
Nearby Lagoa Paraiso (Paradise Lagoon) is a similar experience with a few more lunch items to choose from at their larger bar.