Icaraizinho, Brazil

Icaraizinho is a very tranquil fishing village located just two hours from Fortaleza. Sounds like Jeri? Think again, Icaraizinho is still a growing destination very much in its youth. The windsurfing is idyllic and un-crowded with an extremely relaxed atmosphere. You find yourself living in an almost perfect cycle of the sun – windsurfing all day and passing out exhausted at 9.30.

Fact File

Windy Season June- December
Water Temp In Summer 27°C
Air Temp In Summer 28-35°C
Wet Suit? Leave your wetsuits at home
Average Wind Speed Starboard tack (right to left) Slightly less than Jeri (normally 4.5- 5.3)
Flight Time (From UK) 11 hours from London to Fortaleza £895 – £1295
How To Get There

Fortaleza is the closest airport – only two hours away. We flew with TAM Brazilian airlines via Sao Paulo. TAP Air Portugal also has regular flights from Europe to Fortaleza International Airport via Lisbon.

The transfer is two hours in a 4WD with the last part of the journey being slightly off road! There is no point hiring a car, as the roads are extremely hard to navigate.

If travelling from Jericoacoara the best and most scenic option is to take the “Buggy Adventure” provided by Club Ventos. In true beach-search style, the journey takes you in dune buggies right down the coast, passing some truly deserted locations. Our buggy journey was with Carlos who must have been an ex Formula 1 mechanic . He already had the bonnet up just outside Jeri and then went on to navigate through some seriously tricky river marshes. At one point we went ploughing into what looked like a puddle. We all jumped out while the engine was still running. Luckily, we managed to lift the buggy to safety!

The journey also includes two river crossings. The road appears to end; after a few beeps from the driver, a guy and his son either punt or drive a wooden raft across the river for the buggy to travel on. A truly Brazilian experience!

How The Wind Works

The Conditions

Due to the large tidal range, Icaraizinho offers a massive range of conditions and generally you don’t have to share them with many people.

At low tide, the reef is revealed creating what we called “ the swimming pool” – perfect flat water with a nice sandy bottom at just over waist depth – freestyle heaven! The reef is just flat rock – we sat on it most days to film. If you want, there is a small pathway through the reef to get you to the open ocean.

As the tide rises, the reef creates some gentle waves pushing all the way into the beach. There are plenty of markers to see that the reef is deep enough to sail over.

It is best at high tide with nice, organised chop and small waves flattening off at the inside. Unlike Jeri there is no wind shadow on the inside at high tide making Icaraizinho one of the most perfect all round locations.

There are also lagoons about 45 minutes by buggy offering even more perfect flat water conditions.

The Wind

North Eastern Brazil is one of the most reliably windy places in the world. If you go between June and December and want to take time off the water, you will miss a windy day!

In Icaraizinho, it is windy from first thing in the morning, building until lunch time and staying until well after sunset. The wind is side-shore and is generally considered to be a little lighter than Jeri, making it ideal for all levels of windsurfing.

During 10 days in Icaraizinho, I sailed my 4.5 most of the time and my 5.1 and 3.9 just once.

Instruction And Kit Hire

Club Ventos Icaraizinho

Club Ventos is situated right in the perfect launch location and stacked with all the latest kit from JP and Neil Pryde. They also have a range of Starboard stand up paddle boards to use. They have a fully qualified English-speaking instructor who you can book on-site. The centre also provides kit storage for anyone travelling with their own gear.

COMBO Vacation

Being only 2 hours apart, Icaraizinho and Jeri are perfect for a combined holiday. Icaraizinho is a lot more chilled than Jeri with less people on the water and easier conditions. However, Jeri is great because of the general upbeat vibe of the town – bustling but still chilled. They both compliment each other well and it would definitely be a shame not to make the most out of the combo option. The “Buggy Adventure” is the way to do it and is a hell of an adventure that’s for sure! It can be tailored to your exact needs by Club Ventos so you can spend as long as you like in each place.

Accommodation

In terms of staying right on the beachfront, the Club Ventos resort is perfect. The rooms are mainly separated into different sections on the grounds giving you a private feel.

There is also a five star pousada further down the beach: Villa Mango has hot tubs in many of the rooms and has an absolutely stunning view.

If you are on a budget, there are small rooms in town that can be rented on arrival.

Food

Icaraizinho is still a very small town with only four main streets. There are enough restaurants to keep you well fed, however.

For those on a tight budget, you can always grab a “prato feito” – chicken / fish, beans and rice for 6 reais (just over £2). If you have a bit more to spend, there is a great choice of European-style restaurants that offer a range of dishes from meat and fish to pizza and pasta. A particular favourite, nearby Club Ventos offers fresh fish or filet mignon cooked on a hot stone.

There is an amazing selection of tree-ripened exotic fruit available that is incomparable to what you can pick up in Tescos. Club Ventos Hotel offers it for breakfast everyday.

Also worth a mention is fresh Acai. Only available in Europe in the form of supplements that claim to help you with anything from weight loss to sluggishness. It is the perfect lunch snack to get you back out on the water fast. Acai is served frozen, mixed with banana and topped with granola.

There is one supermarket in the town so you can stock up with water, beer and other essentials. You can self cater but you would be hard pushed to beat the restaurant prices!

Nightlife

Pretty much non-existent. There is a small bar at the end of the beach where you can grab a Caiprinha but you will probably be so knackered from all the sailing that you won’t get past 10pm!

Bored Of Windsurfing

Apart from the obvious sun bathing by the pool or chilling under the trees reading a book, there is also a kayak tour through the mangroves, which can be organised through Club Ventos and is well worth experiencing. The tour lasts three hours and takes you through the Mangue Seco River allowing you to peek into the peaceful lives of the inland natives.

Hot Tips

Off the water

  • Take a torch or headlight with you, as there are no street lamps on the main road leading into the town.
  • Take plenty of cash. There is no ATM and getting money out is a pain. There is an exchange desk and cash machine at Fortaleza airport.
  • Pack lots of reading material
  • Don’t drink the tap water!
  • Wear loads of sun cream if you do the buggy adventure.

On the water

  • Make sure you are 100% sure where the reef is and at what state of tide it is deep enough to sail across!! Club Ventos have pictures and a map available.
  • There is a set of red flags indicating where a group of posts are that can be concealed at high tide. It’s a good idea to have a good look around at low tide for peace of mind though.
  • It’s more than likely that it will be windy everyday so take it easy on your first day.
  • The water is warm so your hands will get soft and fall apart – take some electrical tape or gloves with you if this concerns you.
Conclusion

To book off-road transfers, Club Ventos kit rental, accommodation and the combo package, get in touch with Sportif (www.sportif.travel). Icaraizinho is an absolutely amazing location. I was actually considering writing a bad review to keep it secret!

Tourist

Max Rowe K448 ( www.maxrowe.co.uk )
Bryan Metcalfe Perez
Alistair Nichol

X
jericoacoara-brazil-travel-guide

Also in World Travel

Jericoacoara (Jeri), Brazil

Read More