Practical travel advice on visiting Jericoacoara, one of Brazil’s most unique beach destinations. Where to stay, what to do, and how to travel there.
Visited: May 21-22 2008
Driving to Jericoacoara
From Mundau it was a four hour drive West along Brazil’s coast to the village of Jericoacoara. The road is well signposted, however scheming locals have taken it upon themselves to grafiti over many of the signs to Jericoacoara so that independent drivers get confused and subsequently pay them for their totally unnecessary services as a guide. Our experience was one of locals following us, hassling us, mis-informing us and generally being f***ing tw$ts. There’s signposts that have been designed pointing you to Jericoacoara via Prea - my confused understanding is that this is the best route if driving to Jericoacoara, though all the locals seemed to have a different opinion on which was the most suitable road for a non 4WD vehicle. This is a scenic route was Prea, but not 100% suitable unless you’ve a 4wd, though we did manage it without too much difficulty by letting our tyres down to drive along the beach. There’s an alternative road via Jijoca, though whether it’s an easier drive I’m unsure…
Advice on driving to Jericoacoara - many of the signs have been erased by the scheming idiots who pose as guides. Please do ignore everything and anything they say. These supposed guides will tell you that you’re not allowed to enter the Jericoacoara National Park without a guide - this is a lie, and all they want is your money. Just ignore all those ‘guides’ who’ll be hassling you en route. Of course, if you take a bus - there’s a few a day from Fortaleza - you’ll avoid all these complexities.
The village of Jericoacoara
Jericoacoara is a very beautifully set village. The coastline here is one of large, shining white sand dunes backed by crystal clear freshwater lakes meeting huge, beautiful long beaches and a calm sea of almost green colour. Windsurfing, kite surfing, beach buggy tours or walking for miles along truely stunning beaches are all popular activities in Jericoacoara.
Beaches of Jericoacoara, Brazil
The village is very popular with well off Brazilian tourists and international travellers looking for a resort in Brazil that’s a little different. When we visited in May, the low season, it was busy but never felt at all overwhelmed by visitors. While Jericoacoara used to be a fishing village, it’s now almost completely tourism orientated. Before I visited, I was concerned that it might have become a little spoilt, but it isn’t just yet. Although almost every building a visitor sees is either a pousada, hotel, restaurant, tour operator or boutique style shop, Jericoacoara remains a laid back, charming village of sandy streets.
I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere in South America with such a high concentration of boutique style pousadas. All the hotels in Jericoacoara are charming - every single pousada I saw I’d have been delighted to stay in, or book for my mum, or even my granny. Jericoacoara is just that kind of place - a really unique beach destination in Brazil. There’s about five of the more expensive pousadas on the beach itself, but as the village is essentially in the middle of the sand dunes, one feels as if you’re on the beach whichever pousada you select. There must be over 30 pousadas to choose from - having looked around various ones, we selected Pousada Atlanta as it was just as good as most, but only cost $30 for a night. There were many more expensive, upmarket boutique hotels in Jericoacoara, but I couldn’t see how anyone could dislike Pousada Atlanta, and the price was very reasonable.
My advice for anyone looking for a pousada in Jericoacoara - just pick one - they’re all great. There’s so many to choose from it’s mind boggling, but as there are so many, competition is fierce - it’s therefore very much a case of what you get depends on what you’re prepared to pay. Consider this - you’re only likely to be dissapointed with your pousada if you select one of the most expensive options, then later discover alternatives that are just as good but cost much less.
My Jericoacoara travel tips
- don’t pay over the odds, and try to choose a small hotel if you want a more personalized experience.
- bring plenty of sun cream, and a parasol as there’s almost no shade on the beaches.
- Remember that those dune buggy tours aren’t really necessary, and they’re bad for Jericoacoara’s environment.
- 3 to 4 nights will be plenty for most visitors.
- Ignore those scheming guides that try to confuse drivers driving to Jericoacoara. If you do drive via Prea without a 4wd vehicle, be sure to deflate you’re tyres before hitting the sandy road along the coast - it’s easy, and great fun, if you’re adventurous!