After a month in the windy North of Brazil, a week of which was spent in Jericoacoara we aimed to travel as ethically as possible throughout the region. Read on to find out how we went about that!
While most travellers fly in/out of the North for a week at a time, Moo and I were determined to get to know the state of Ceara as best we could. We ended up spending a month in the tropical north, splitting our time between Taiba and Jericoacoara.
By slowing down we were able to use less energy fleeting from one place to the next, but most importantly, by staying in one place for so long we were able to contribute and get to know the small community more than if we were speeding through.
Buy your water in bulk
Unfortunately for us, as ethical travellers, poor water quality meant we couldn’t drink from the tap. And while we have previously used water purifying devices before, we regretfully didn’t have one with us for this trip, which meant: buying bottled water. It meant that when we did buy water, we bought in bulk. Large 10L and 5L bottles are widely available and we’d buy those and decanter water into our reusable bottles throughout the day. The objective being: buying less single-use-plastic.
Take away with dine in!
Okay – let me explain. I had a regular açaí place I’d frequent in Taiba, in order to get a lift back to my surf retreat I’d need to get my açaí to take away. But! I’d figured out pretty quick I could take the bowl and spoon with me, and they didn’t mind if I brought it back the next day. Win win! No plastic waste and a cute little relationship with my favourite snack bar. By the end of my stay, I didn’t even need to ask for the bowl to take away, they knew the drill.
Support social projects
During my time up North, I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Erico and Suzie from Casa de PAS, a social project in the small community of Taibinha. The crew are well known in the area for helping underprivileged kids learn to surf by offering group classes and board use for youngsters, all donning their vibrant yellow rash vests.
You can’t spend more than an hour in the water without seeing groms paddle out and enjoying everything Taiba has to offer! More than once, I saw the crew attempting to pick up as much oil as they could (an impossible task) along the coast, after the spill. Moo and I chose to rent boards from these guys, utilise their surf-photography service and enjoy their tasty food and drink selection.
Overall, our time spent as slow travellers meant we got to know the community and contribute to projects that are helping the environment, which made for a deeper travel experience. I highly recommend giving this style of travel a go!
Oops! Before you leave! Here are a few others things I thought you should know!
Some things you should know about Northern Brazil.
The most popular food you will find in Northern Brazil: Shrimp. We found shrimp EVERYWHERE.
It’s consistently windy for three months of the year. Whether you’re interested in kitesurfing or windsurfing or both, rest assured you can master the skill in Northern Brazil.
Liquor cart bars line the streets in Jericoacoara. The national drink of cachaça is free poured from great heights to create the traditional caipirinha. By the way, I highly recommend the maracuja (passion fruit) caipirinha. Particularly when they’re $5 AUD a throw!
99% of venues we visited in Northern Brazil had ditched the plastic straw in favour of paper, bamboo, pasta or stainless steel ones. Bravo!! Now – if they would only reconsider the plastic bag!!
Açaí is an anytime snack. Breakfast, lunch, dessert – you need it? – You can have it! Açaí can be served with muesli, banana, condensed milk, sweets and honey.
Which reminds me! In Brazil, sugar is added to everything! Açaí, bread, juice, sauces, cocktails. I’m sure there are many dentist’s doing well in Brazil!
You will likely be eating this on repeat: A prato feito (dish of the day) with rice, beans, salad, and farofa (toasted manioc flour). After a month of it, we were seriously fatigued.
The good news is – it’s totally acceptable to where your swimmers at all times of the day and in all dining situations. It took me a while to get used to this one. But after a few days I completely embraced it and left the house in nothing but a bikini for breakfast, lunch and cocktails – and for a swim (obviously, I’m not completely uncouth).
Given the streets in Jericoacoara are made from sand, you can ride a buggy (pronounced: boogie) everywhere!
Wild donkeys roam the streets, sand dunes and beach throughout the north. I liked that the locals couldn’t care less about them. They blended into the scenery.
Women crochet on the street and every restaurant is supporting them by using their place mats, coasters, napkin holders. You name it – it can be crocheted.
Women will wear G-string bottoms without a care – but bathing topless is frowned upon. I’d never witnessed so much flesh (well, except for the liberal Spaniards) before coming to Brazil. The tooth floss style bikini bottoms leave little to the imagination. But surprisingly, Brazilians are rather prude when it comes to skimpy bathing tops. Not for lack of gloating (there are many plastic surgeons in Brazil who are doing well for themselves), they’re seemingly modest compared to the derrière.
The weather was bright and sunny every.single.day. That said, be prepared to seek a cold shower rather than the beach to cool down. Water temperatures in the sea were a consistent 26-28 degrees celsius.
Oooft! That was a lot to take in, thanks for sticking round! We absolutely loved Northern Brazil, so hopefully you will to and I hope these little tips help you acclimatise a little quicker than us (although it didn’t really take that long.)
Join us next week as we made our way down south to the state of Rio de Janeiro.
Until then xo