Jericoacoa, pronounced Jeri Kwa kwa ra and called Jeri by most, is a virgin beach hidden behind the dunes of the west coast of Jijoca and was selected by The Washington Post as one of the Top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. I heard about it during my travel in Brazil. A lot of backpackers told me that it is the nicest place in Brazil and that I should definitely go there. After hearing this multiple times I decided to go there. Jeri is so remote, that you can’t get there by normal car or plane. The only way to get there is to go to Fortaleza, take a bus to Jijoca and from there take a uncomfortable 40 minute 4 wheel drive Jeep through the dunes. And so I did.
First I arrived in Fortaleza and stayed there for two days. Fortaleza is a nice town with beautiful beaches, but nothing compared to Jeri. I got a little sick in Fortaleza, a small cold. The only real funny thing I experienced in Fortaleza were these Red & Black lions perfumes I saw in a local shop. Does this look familiar? Hahaha
And in Fortaleza I also learnt that in Brazil more men watch soaps on television than woman. I don’t say anything more. Haha. After relaxing at Fortaleza for two days I took a minivan to Jijoca which took like six hours. I went and sit in the back, but the driver immediately asked me if I don’t want to go and sit in the front. The reason: the humpy road to Jijoca. I followed his recommendations, because I figured he had done this trip way more often than me. Hahaha. For six hours I listened to 80’s slow jams which he played on his mini dvd player in the front. And to be honest, it was quite relaxing listening to songs like “Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting For You”, “Lionel Richi – Hello” and “Michael Bolton – When a man loves a woman” Than got on this 4 wheel drive, tied our luggage to the roof and did the ride to Jeri. Crazy! The car jumped up and down the dune hills, cracking our backs and at the same time catering us with the most beautiful sights. Escpecially the last part of the trip seemed like a roller coaster ride.g compared to Jeri. I got a little sick in Fortaleza, a small cold. The only real funny thing I experienced in Fortaleza were these Red & Black lions perfumes I saw in a local shop. Does this look familiar? Hahaha
Finally we arrived in to this simple, small, lovely town with no pavestones but only sand in the streets. I really stood out, wearing my sneakers. It seemed like wearing shoes here was not done. I was actually the only one in the streets wearing any shoes. Everyone wore flip flops. I quickly adjusted ;-). Buggies flood these sand filled streets. Jeri is simple. A beach, a small center, a few lagoons, a mountain and dunes on the left where you can admire the beautiful sunset. The fresh sea breeze and the nice air made my little illnis vanish immediately.
During the4 wheel drive I was thinking: “This place is so remote, I wonder if they have an ATM”. They didn’t!! So I had two options when I arrived there with hardly any money: 1. Take the ride back to Jijoca and take money from the ATM there or 2. Withdraw money at the one big Supermarket and be charged with 15%. Well… I wanted to stay in Jeri, so guess what I did. Lol!
Like Cahuita and Paraty, Jeri is also small, simple and warm. I think I like towns like this. You wake up to the sound of crowing rooster, relax all day and in the late afternoon everyone goes to the dunes to enjoy the beautiful sunset. When I got there the sun was setting in front of me and behind me there was a full moon at the same time. Epic!! Every night they danced Capoeira on the beach and with full moon, they did a special ceremony which I got to witness.
The first day at the beach I had a crêpe with Dolce leite and green grapes. Dolce leite is this sweet, thick milk, which Brazilians, including me like. But i had no idea what the green grapes where when I ordered it. Then I got an eyeopener. In the Netherlands we call green grapes, white grapes, because of their juice and the wine they produce. Here (and I think the rest of the world) they call ‘m green, because of the color they have. Now who is right? Haha
A guy from Israel which I met in Fortaleza also went to the same hostel. He makes me laugh, even when I think of him. He was a small, grumpy, young guy and he hated it when there were no people around him. He actually got mad when the lobby of the hostel was empty and everyone seemed the have went to the beach. He would complain: “Where ‘s the people man!! There’s no people here. Where’s the people?” Then he came back from a walk on the beach, he said “Where are the people, there are no people on the beach. I hate it here!” I went to Jeri one day before him. He was thinking bout going to the same hostel. On Facebook he texted me: “Frans. How is the hostel? How is the people, are there any people there?” When I met him at the hostel, he was like: “I like this hostel, there are people here!” Hahaha. Can you believe him! From then on, every time we saw him and were with a group of people we reassured him, “There are people here, there are people here!”
We went to the Paradise Lagoon with a group of Brazilians. The energy was fantastic! The lagoon had hammocks in the sea. The lagoon seems to be filled solely with water from rain. The fish in the lagoon are adapted to salt en sweet water. In the dry season the fish stay under the ground. Amazing! I was the only gringo amongst all these Carioca’s and then of course you get these funny conversations about the language differences. They wanted to learn some Dutch words, so I told them to just to pick a word and I would give them the dutch translation. “Beach”, they asked me. “How do you say beach in dutch?” “Strand”, I answered. We had a little laugh about their pronunciation, and then came the second word: “Shit!, how do you say shit in dutch?” “Stront”, I answered and they just could not hear the difference between “Strand” and “Stront” Hahaha. It took me a while to explain that the beaches in the Netherlands do not consist of doodoo Lol! hahaha We ate dinner, finger food after finger food, drank, laughed, danced, sang… but when the sun set, the bill came. Suddenly we were kicked out of paradise in to the real world again! ;-) Hahaha.
I went to the Pedra Furada the next day. The Pedra Furada, meaning pierced rock) is an important collection of over 800 archaeological sites in Brazil, including numerous rock paintings, which suggest a human presence prior to the arrival of Clovis people in North America. The walk to the Pedra Fourada is about 50 minutes alongside the beach. This side of the beach is desolated except for a kissing couple and a woman doing yoga on the beach. The constant whisper of wind in your ear is somewhat meditating. The footsteps of people, dogs and horses in the sand, the smell of the salty sea all had a relaxing effect on me. I choose the path uphill. After a walk for 20 minutes without a single soul to see, I suddenly saw something move in the distance. When I approached I saw it was a black ox-like creature. For a minute I thought: “This is not a bull? Or is it?…” Hahaha. That would be crazy. But then of course they wouldn’t let it walk freely here, so of course it was just a cow, but the encounter was somewhat special. The Pedra Fourada was nice. I heard about a quick route back to the center, but I had to go over the hill. Well, the sun was shining fierce, the sand was burning my feet and I was sweating like crazy! I managed, but it was harsh. I even burned my left leg on a stinging nettle plant.
A lot of people I met here are sampa’s (people from Sao Paulo) who went here on a holiday and ended up living here. By the way, I also noticed that a large percentage of the tourist in Brazil are actually Brazilians. And that’s why almost no one speaks english. The hostels, the tour operators, restaurants hardley anywhere do they speak english. I tried to book a surf lessons on the beach. Thank God, I speak a little Portuguese, otherwise I wouldn’t manage to explain it. I hold my heart for the Worldcup 2014 to come with all these English speaking tourist who don’t know one word Portuguese! Help! If you read well, you will have noticed I mentioned “Surf lessons”. Yes I did!
I went to the beach to find the surf school stand I saw the day before. The stand was gone. I asked a few guys sitting at a Caipharina stand if they know about the surf school and why it isn’t here now. One of them, Flavio, jumped up with a glittering in his eyes. “You want surf lessons. I can give you”, he said. Normally one would hesitate and be sceptic. I just followed my gut feeling. I went with him. Later on I heard that he used to be a popular professional surfer a long time ago, but still has the moves. And he really thought well. He introduced me to his son, which he ordered to take pictures with my camera. We first did a dry surfing lesson on the beach and then went in the water. I had a hard time with the salt water getting in to my nose at each wave. The first time I lied on the board on my belly, a wave came, he pushed the board, I tried to stand, but went straight in to the water. Hahaha. Then we tried it a second time. Again my belly on the board, I relaxed, focused, a wave came, he pushed my board in to the wave, I helt the board firmly stood on my two feet, spread my arms and there I was… surfing!! It felt like a stood on the board for ages Hahaha. Nice!
After a few more stunts on the board we went back to the shore. His son literally only took three pictures during that one hour. Like… really!? But I must admit, the pictures he took are stunning. A man of quality, not quantity Lol hahaha Before the surf lesson Flavio strongly advised me to eat light. I ate a whole plate of delicious pasta! Hahaha. The worst that could happen was that I would not be able to keep my balance on the board. I think the pasta might have helped actually ;-)
After the lessons I went in to the main street. There I met these two guys sitting alongside the road selling handmade jewelry. They asked me if I wanted to buy something. I replied: “No thank you” Then they asked me if I could buy them a beer. Normally I would just say no and continue my walk, but this time I followed my gut feeling again. Bought them both a beer and had a chat with them. They had rasta’s and tattoo’s all over their face and only spoke Portuguese. When I told them about my upcoming trip to Easter Island they got really excited. Telling me all about the prophecy, the aliens, the history and the fact that all the Moai statues look in the same direction. We had a lively chat and drew in the sand to explain what we meant. It felt like the beginning of an adventure movie, where the prophecy or omen is set forth. One of them was a fan of the movie Gremlins and had a Gremlin tattood on his body. So far for his credibility ;-) Hahaha
We had two full moon days in a row. The second day, the full moon was even surrounded by an aura. We went to the dunes in the night with a group of people. There was a special atmosphere about it. Also the sound the frogs at the beach make during a full moon is indescribable. One of the guys made a picture of the sky and three dots appeared in the picture. He was convinced these were aliens. I was convinced his camera was dirty ;-) Next stop Amazone Manuas!
p.s. When I told the Hostel owner about my trip to Amazone and my dislike of Tarantula’s he told me that Jericoacoara is famous for having a lot of tarantula’s, they love Jeri. Luckily he told me this on my departure ;-)