A string of bad luck, poor timing and late decision making resulted in a pretty turbulent few weeks for us in Northern Brazil. These past two weeks saw us leaving Taiba and heading north still, all the way to Jericoacoara (Jeri).
Let me backtrack a touch, Moo and I split for two weeks while he went kitesurfing along the coast and I stayed put, surfing in Taiba. Moo joined me for one week here before we shuttled ourselves up to Jeri. After a total of three weeks in tiny Taiba, I was ready to leave. Two weeks was perfect, three was trying. Made harder by the fact that we were staying a way out of town, couldn’t cook our own meals and the closest surf beach was 3km walk away. Sure, we could have rented everything – car, buggy, surf board etc but it all seemed too hard.
Our days in Taiba were spent like this:
- Wake up – find breakfast – EXTREMELY difficult when the BEST coffee shop in town opens at 4pm (except on weekends).
- Activity time (surf, involving a 6km turn around walk to the surf beach).
- Açaí or shrimp for lunch (those were literally the options).
- The afternoon brought more fresh air, a run along the beach before the torturous decision of choosing where to eat dinner.
- The BEST place to eat was only open for lunch. And thus, Petit Bistro was our go-to for dinner, not because it was the best, but simply because it was the only place with other people.
The tumultuous two weeks began in Taiba with: Kite hire – Moo got completely ripped off! While prices varied along the coast, the quality of gear and service offered were all seemingly identical.
The next hurdle came when we realised we needed to change our flights to Rio. We were facing some outrageous prices for new tickets and were offered no refund or helpful advice on changing our existing ticket – cheers Expedia. Never again!
By this point, we joined a shared transfer from Taiba to Jeri. But luck wasn’t on our side just yet. Then!
Our airbnb host double booked our room in Jeri, meaning we needed to find an alternative, on a Brazilian public holiday, at the last minute. Shit. With only two options left on airbnb in the entire town, we managed to secure a private room nearby – perhaps our luck was turning?
After walking the streets of Jeri, we were excited to book our first ‘tour’ of the North. In Jeri there are two options, East or West of the lagoon/dunes. We were keen for the East but sadly, we were met with unscrupulous touts giving us a ‘discounted’ rate when it was more expensive than the official agents. Luckily by this stage we had our wits about us, dodging the tout and booking direct with the agent.
It turned around after that really.
Our luck changed when we found 200 Reals ($70AUD) on the street and treated ourselves to the best caipirinha in Jeri at Loco Beach and some succulent lobster at Bistro Caiçara ($30 AUD).
Our lucky streak continued with the delicious food scene. We found the best açaí was at Naturalmente, best lunch was at Granola. Best grilled fish was at Pimenta Verde. Best unexpected (non Brazilian) meal at Kaze for excellent sushi (they also serve delicious wine: HALLELUJAH!). Best breakfast at Tapioca (on Rua Principal) or the buffet at Jeri Ju. Best vegetarian fare can be found at Comida Consciente.
For the most part, you can expect one thing when it comes to dining in Northern Brazil – a lot of shrimp. Shrimp everything. Finding Bubba Gump shrimp on a menu wouldn’t surprise me (any Forest Gump fans out there?).
After three weeks of surfing daily in Taiba, I decided to give wind surfing a go, at Bob’s Wind School. As it turned out, learning to windsurf was MUCH easier than learning to kite surf, but still took a little getting used to. Catching my first wave was a serious feeling. I could get into this!
After all that windy work, I was missing surfing already, Moo and I hired a surfboard ($10AUD/hour). There’s just something about surfing in Jeri, at sunset – bath water temperatures, light breeze in the air, palm trees swaying, blazing red sun dipping below the horizon and waves lapping under board. The beat of samba music richotechts off the surface of the water, bouncing off neighbouring sand dunes and filling the remaining silence.
I should probably mention, Jeri is an oasis, lodged between a National Park and the sea, surrounded by sand dunes. Given it’s hard-to-reach location, expect; unpaved streets, limited vehicle access and a million miles away from traffic jams, sirens and the rush of modern life.
We eventually did go on the East tour and it was actually pretty great. Getting around meant hopping in the back of a 4 X 4 and bumping over the corrugated sand along the coast to the Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon), Lagoa Paraíso (Paradise Lagoon) and some pretty breathtaking vistas of the dunes along the way. Ever laid in a hammock, on the shore of a white sand beach surrounded by turquoise waters? Well, me neither, until now!
Our final sight to see was the Pedra Furada (Arched Rock), a short thirty minute walk from town. Thanks to our modern obsession with having our photo taken in front of things, the Arched Rock was no exception. On arrival we shared the rock with about thirty others, by the time it took us to walk to the end of the beach and back again, that number had almost tripled. It was too much for Moo’s instinctual love of queuing to bare (there was no queue).
Another thing we loved about Jeri was the music scene. Jeri hosts some seriously good live music, whether it was dance, rock, samba, jazz or acoustic folk you can get it all! Simply walk along the beach and choose the beach bar playing your favoured beat. If you are heading to Jeri, make sure you visit on a Friday, when the whole town heads to ‘Church Street’ for the best live samba party. The band kicks off just before 11pm – it was the latest we’d stayed up in weeks – but totally worth it.
Despite our initial losses and setbacks, we really couldn’t complain. The sun was shining, the water sublime, the food delicious and the locals jovial.
We fell head over heels in love with Northern Brazil, and our time didn’t stop here. Next week’s blog continues on.
Until then xo