Affectionately referred to as ‘Jeri’, Jericoacoara first was discovered in the 80s by windsurfers and hippie travellers. In 1987, author Cal Fussman branded Jeri as the most beautiful beach in Brazil in his “Beauty and the Beach” travel story in the Washington Post. Since then, tourism development ran rampant and Jericoacoara has undergone various cycles of growth. Nowadays, the village is closed to private traffic; like in Zermatt/Switzerland tourists need to leave their cars at the village gates, a great relief to getting along in the sandy tracks of Jeri. The village features a tremendous selection of hotels for every budget, chic restaurants, street hawker food stands, cool bars, cute little boutiques, and the biggest choice of song and dance along these shores. The daily highlight includes marvelling at the sunset from the aptly named Sunset Dune. Preá can be considered somewhat of a little sibling to Jeri. It has a quieter vibe and is almost exclusively geared towards Kitesurfing.
Due to its northerly pointing land tip Jeri (and Preá) are considered the strongest wind spots in the Northeast.
Jeri and Preá feature probably the strongest wind conditions you’ll find in Brazil. Don’t be surprised by 40knots hitting you during peak season October/November. Starting east to west, the first spot would be the beach of Preá and neighbouring Barrinha which stretches a nimble 15km - plenty of space to spread out. At low tide, conditions are flat and ideal for beginners, at high tide the kitesurfers step up to the waves (1-2m). Also not to be missed is the 15km downwinder from Preá to Jeri. You’ll pass by the famous Pedra Furada, a famous sight along Jeri’s coastline, and the finish takes you to the spectacular Sunset Dune on the western outskirts of Jeri.
Whilst the beach in the village of Jeri is exclusively reserved to windsurfers, the stretch in front and west of Sunset Dune belongs to the kite folk. Things can be a little gutsy here due to the dune and the wind tends to be offshore, but the water is flat as butter. As you go further west the wind conditions get more stable. From here, another downwind option could lead you to the next spot, Guriú. A perfectly flat lagoon awaits you in this river mouth, a mere 30 minutes from Jeri.
Jericoacoara Airport (JJD) opened in 2017. Currently, it is only being served from Belo Horizonte (Azul) and São Paulo (Gol), but schedules and connections can change rapidly in Brazil.
From Fortaleza International Airport to Jijoca, it’s approximately a four hour drive covering the 280km distance. From Jijoca to Jericoacoara you’ll have to count another 50 minutes or so, and depending on the season and condition of the sand trails you may not make it in a regular car. Since you’ll have to leave your car at a paid parking spot outside Jeri, you’ll have to opt for public transport or a private driver instead. There is a bus service by Guanabara which services nearby Jijoca and Jericoacoara. There are also countless minibus and 4x4 private car services to choose from. If you already have a hotel reservation, ask your hotel to arrange a private transfer for you.
As for most of the more remote places along the coast, make sure to bring some reais (BRL), as there are no cash machines or money exchanges to be found in Jeri, even though most places accept card payment these days.
In the extremely unlikely case of a no-wind day in Jeri and Preá, or if you simply require an off-day, there are plenty of options to entertain yourself to choose from.
You could, for instance, endeavour on a tour by buggy, quad-bike or 4x4, on either a westwards or eastwards route. On your westward trip you can discover a field of mangroves (Mangue Seco), enter a little creek to chase seahorses in their natural habitat, enjoy a waterslide and zip line and explore the dunes and lagoon of Tatajuba.
On the eastwards route you can check out the famous declining tree, the beach of Preá, the Blue Hole and Paradise Lagoon.
There are dozens of other activities you can indulge in Jeri, just keep your eyes open and check out some of the local agencies who will be more than pleased to help with advice and propose some options.