12 Reasons to Run Away to Jericoacoara, Brazil
Jericoacoara, Brazil is hands down one of the most unique and special places I have ever visited. Also, if you’re wondering how in the world to pronounce Jericoacoara, you’re not alone. Stick with “Jeri” and you’ll be able to get by just fine.
Located in the eastern Brazilian state of Ceará, this secluded and magical beach town (and National Park!) should be high on your Brazilian bucket list. If you want to get away from it all, yet still have everything you need at your fingertips, this is a great place to escape. I don’t know how I’d never heard of it before I got to Brazil- it’s the best kind of paradise and I don’t think the world has even realized it yet. It shouldn’t take too much convincing, but I’d like to offer 12 very good reasons why you should visit at least once in your life.
1. It’s a remote paradise
Jeri is only accessible by 4x4 vehicles, dune buggies, and really ambitious motorbikes. Why? Because it is completely surrounded by sand dunes and the sea. Normal cars can’t handle the terrain and would end up deserted in the desert if they tried. Due to this wonderful seclusion, the town is extremely safe. Visitors pay a tourist tax of R$5.00 ($1.34 USD) per day to stay in Jeri, and it’s not an easy place to get to. This keeps most of the riff raff out.
2. It’s a pedestrian town
Wondering how you’re going to get around? Fear not. Jeri is extremely small, and the entire place is walkable. You’ll quickly find that you’re always shuffling through sand because that is what the entire town is built upon. Even many of the stores and restaurants don’t bother with flooring, saving themselves the hassle of constant sweeping. Flip flops all day, every day.
3. The Food is Delicious
I didn’t have one bad meal in Jericoacoara, and became particularly obsessed with two popular Brazilian foods: tapioca and açaí. If you’ve never had tapioca, imagine something similar to a taco- a circular flour folded and filled with the contents of your choice. The flour is made from the starch extracted from cassava root, and while it’s not particularly flavorful and a little chewy, when it’s packed with eggs, cheese, ham and oregano- it’s delicious. While this is my favorite combination, they’re made both sweet or savory, and you can put whatever you want in it. Açaí on the other hand is a Brazilian staple made from the açaí berry that is rich in antioxidants. The cold, smoothie-like creation is best when topped with granola and fruit. If you want to try a great tapioca, go to Casa de Pedra located on Jeri’s main street. For the prettiest (and tastiest) açaí bowl in town, try one at the Hurricane Jeri pool bar. For a delicious seafood restaurant (they also have meat, pasta and more) with the BEST ambiance, check out Pescador Jeri.
4. It’s Affordable
Accommodation, day trips, food…it’s all pretty affordable by US standards, even in the high season. As of this post, 1 Brazilian Real = 0.27 USD. I visited in December, right before Christmas and the New Year, which happens to be one of the town’s busiest times. I’m sure it is less expensive at other times of the year (prices are said to quadruple if not more between Christmas and the New Year), but to give you an idea of what to expect: a one bedroom apartment that sleeps 4 cost us around $70/night. We had a bedroom with a queen bed and a single bed, a well as a sofa bed in the living area. A fully equipped kitchen and a balcony with a view (pictured) made it the perfect place to chill out for 10 days. You can find the listing on Booking.com here.
If you’re traveling solo or would like to spend a bit less, a bed in a hostel will set you back around $15 (give or take). A 45 minute transfer from Jeri to Paradise Lagoon is $5. Depending on the restaurant, you can get a tapioca for around $3. A main course at a nicer restaurant like Pescador Jeri could be anywhere from $10-$20. A cocktail might cost you $3-$6 depending on your poison, and caipirinhas are by far the cheapest (and possibly strongest…watch out!)
5. it has Stunning beaches
The landscapes of Jeri are something else. Think desert meets tropical oasis. The beaches near the town are nice and full of people, but the real gems are the quiet ones that you’ll find if you take a little hike along the coast towards my next suggestion, Pedra Furada. The ocean is like bath water, everything is clean, and you probably won’t run into anyone else.
6. you can visit an epic rock
Pedra Furada, meaning “holed stone”, is one of Jeri’s most iconic attractions. If you want the scene to look like the one in the picture below, GO EARLY. Around 9 AM people on tours will show up out of nowhere and start lining up for photos with the arch. There is a trail that you can follow from the outskirts of Jeri to the rock (just pop it into Google maps) and while it will probably be hot as hell, you’ll stroll through a pretty amazing desert landscape where you’ll likely run into some donkeys.
7. you’ll find hammocks in a beautiful lagoon
Lagoa do Paraiso, or Paradise Lagoon, is located outside of Jeri town and you’ll have to arrange a transfer to get there (there are signs all over Jeri.) Known for its beautiful waters and plethora of hammocks, it’s about $5 each way and the bumpy ride takes approximately 45 minutes.. There are several places you can get dropped off at to enjoy the lagoon, including the fancy Alchymist Beach Club. You have to purchase a ticket to enter this way, or you can get dropped off at Nova Esperança, which is free to enter and you can choose whether or not you want to buy food from the restaurant. We opted for the latter location, pictured below, however it does seem that the Alchymist has a much more beautiful setup.
8. the wifi is up to par
If you’re a digital nomad like me, you’ll be happy to know that despite its remote location, Jeri has super fast internet and plenty of places to hunker down and get some work done. The Wifi at our accommodation could be spotty at times, so we heavily relied on restaurants and hotels in the area. Casa de Pedra (the great tapioca place!) had good Wifi, but Cafe Jeri and Hurricane Jeri were the real MVPs. We would post up all day there, ordering food and drinks to avoid being moochers, and I’ve honestly never had a better office view.
9. you can go to sunset circus parties
While Cafe Jeri is someplace you can work and eat, it’s also someplace you can get your drink on. The sunset parties are AH-MAZING. It’s basically a rooftop party and a circus in one. There’s even a mermaid there. A REAL LIFE MERMAID. Excuse this low quality compilation from my Instagram stories, but you get the idea.
10. kite surfing conditions are ideal
Although not an interest of mine, one major reason that people go to Jeri is for the kite surfing. The wind conditions are optimal for it, and you’ll find plenty of companies offering lessons. If you’re interested, be sure you have enough time and a few days to commit to the course, as it is quite intensive!
11. you can go Horseback riding
Scenic horseback ride through the sand dunes at sunset? Yes, please. We booked a tour through Terra Dos Cowboys and it was absolutely wonderful. The horses are well cared for and very well behaved- and the scenery is just unbelievable. Highly recommend.
12. Cute Animals are everywhere
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- no place is perfect in my book unless there are animals running amuck. Jeri has resident dogs, cats, donkeys, horses and even cows that you may or may not find wandering the streets at odd hours. It’s a real zoo out there, and I loved it.
So how’d I do? Does Jeri look like someplace you’d want to spend some time? I still wish I’d never left!