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.
Whilst Jericoacoara is undeniably beautiful, it can also be a lonely place for someone travelling on their own. It’s also a place which has seen so many tourists, that now its inhabitants only live to sell and find new ways of removing as much money from your wallets as possible.
Here’s a few tips for some of the vendors…(which I did give feedback to)
I’m a tourist. I’m going to buy things, it’s only natural… I’m going to take a tour or two. I’m going to eat out at restaurants. I’ll hire a chair and an umbrella to sit under at the beach.
BUT when you incessantly and aggressively approach me to buy things, I tend to react by not buying anything at all, out of spite.
I know that I have to catch a buggy to go anywhere outside the town. I’m not blind, or stupid… But you probably need to sell the destinations a little more, and not the ride itself. I loved the places that the buggies took me to, but no one told me about these in town. It was too much ‘Get your buggy here… buy a buggy ride’…
I had some pretty poor service at some of the restaurants, the kind of service where you want to just go out the back and get it yourself…
I think I stayed in Jericoacoara two days more than I should have as the non-stop selling wore me down after a while. I spent some great time here alone in nature, with my thoughts , amazed by the dunes and the beaches, with pen and paper in hand.
If i had the chance to go back to Jeri again, I would do it, as the beauty of it is amazing. But it would be for a different style of holiday…
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.
At around 5pm, the locals and tourists slowly make their way up the giant sand dune beside the touristy fishing village of Jericoacoara. Couples bed down into the sand at the crest and claim their spot of paradise.
Wise small business owners, sell caipirinhas from a close yet non-distracting distance, and the light of the setting sun playfully catches in the thin rivulets of water left behind by the retreating sea.
Below the dunes, riders on horseback settle in for one last gallop along the vast expanse of beach as daylight begrudgingly gives way to dusk.
The colours of the water, normally crystal blue, now purple, darken as the ceaseless tide gently buffets the shoreline.
Thin white sand from the dunes whisps into you eyes as a flurry of wind passes through, and you blink momentarily, as the sun sets into the sea on the horizon, amidst cheers and applause from the pleased crowd.
Some say it is one of the best sunsets in the world… And there is the legend of the momentary ‘flash of green’ a phenomenon that occurs from time to time as the sun sinks behind the sea.
The sunsets were pretty spectacular when I was there, but it was cloudy each time. I can only imagine what it would be like on what the locals call a ‘good day!’
It’s hard not to appreciate each day in Jeri.