Jericoacoara Beach (Jeri)
In a country famous for its laid-back beach scene they don’t come much more laid-back than Jericoacoara on Brazil’s north coast. Located about 200 km west of the city of Fortaleza this village and beach have long been on the hippy trail but over recent years has begun to attract adventurous travelers of all kinds.
The name Jericoacoara is believed to have originated from a native language and translates to “the lair of the turtle”. It is however something of a mouthful even to Portuguese speakers so the beach is known as just ‘Jeri’ more often than not.
The names origin hints at the wealth of natural surroundings and Jeri is set within an area of national park. This has meant development has been prohibited and things are little changed from when Jericoacoara was just a small fishing village. It was not until nearly 2000 that electricity arrived here and you still won’t find any street lights - they are not allowed to prevent light pollution.
Watersports are popular here and the same relentless winds that pile the sand into dunes makes for good windsurfing and kite-surfing. The sea is generally pretty calm and shallow, and there are Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards available for hire.
Besides just chilling out on the beach there is plenty of exploring to be done at Jeri. The nearby Lagoa do Paraíso is a lagoon of stunning turquoise water. It is set around a kilometre inland but with its surrounding white sands and dunes it feels more like a beach. One of the most popular pursuits here is lying in one of the hammocks suspended over the water.
Jeri is one of only a handful of west-facing beaches in Brazil which makes it one of the best places to catch a sunset. In fact it is quite a big deal here and they even named the biggest sand dune on the beach after this. The Duna do Pôr do Sol (Sunset Dune) has become part of a daily ritual in which visitors ascend this mountain of sand to watch the sun disappear beyond the horizon. Once the setting of the sun has been celebrated tradition states you must descend the dune by the (steeper) front. To add a bit of fun you can do this on a wooden board known as an ‘esquibunda’.
One of the things that has kept Jericoacoara special for so long is its remoteness. It is a fair drive from Fortaleza including the last few hours being off road. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, since 2017 there has been a local airport located around 30 km from Jeri making it a whole lot easier to get here.
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