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Jericoacoara (Jeri), Brazil

10:50 21st February 2012 by Letitia Hristodorescu
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Two years ago Tanya and Louise reported on a small fishing village in Brazil which had the potential to become an amazing winter windsurfing destination. Guess what? It did!

The rise of Jeri has been phenoemal but has it spolit the once peaceful village and quiet waters? We asked Chris Woottonwho visited Jeri in September to report back.

Chris: If you want time on the water, then Jeri is the place to go! It’s still got warm water, it’s still got wind EVERY DAY from June to December and variety of conditions for beginners to pros. I has not yet been ruined by commercialisation or mass tourism. It’s still fairly isolated and this may put people off, particularly the big holiday companies so I don’t think it’s going to change that much.

Fact File

Windy Season June – December
Wet Suit? Warm, no need for a wetsuit.
Flight Time (From UK) 11 hours
How To Get There

You’ve got to fly! The destination airport isFortaleza, and it cost Chris £680 return in Sept 08 with TAP air compared to £650 paid two years ago.

Don’t also forget the Fortaleza to Jericoacoara Bus & a 4WD vehicle; £7 each way.

www.TAP.com

Or try London to Sao Paulo/Rio and then a Brazilian internal flight to Fortaleza.

Transfer to Jericoacoara is 4hours in a 4WD, the last 45minutes off-road through the sand. If you book your holiday through Sportif, ( www.sportif.travel ) they will sort out the transfer.

A local company called Koala also runs transfers,www.koalapasseios.com.br or emailkoalajeri@yahoo.com.br Tel: 55 88 621 6666

The good thing about Jeri is that once you are there you don’t need to hire a car, so you save costs that way compared to somewhere like the Canaries or Cape Town.

Taking your own kit

Board volume should be between 75-90L depending on your weight. A ‘pocket wave’ board would suit better than a traditional down-the-line shape. Sail sizes between 5m to a 3.5m for the autumn and maybe chuck in a 5.4m if going in early summer.

Excess Baggage

This entirely depends on who you are travelling with. Make sure you check it out and if needs be, book it on before you fly.

Chris: With TAP air, they work on a piece baggage system, rather than weight. You are allowed two pieces of baggage with a max weight of 32kg each, but they can only be a max length of 158cm. TAP run a sporting goods allowance, which is 100 euros for a surf board, or 160 euros for windsurf kit. I got round this by having a double board bag with 2 boards, and masts in, and then putting booms and sails into a quiver bag and strapping it up so it was about 158cm long. I told them that the board bag was a surf board, and the quiver bag was small enough to go as one of the bags in the free allowance. So all the windsurf kit only cost me 100 euros each way! This price was only because I had insurance. They do a discount if you have it, but make sure you have the certificate on you as they need a copy.

How The Wind Works

The wind is both Trade and Thermal with the windy season running from June until December.

In the original Jeri report two years ago Tanya sailed 30 out of the 33 days in August/Sept on a 4.0 or 4.6.

During Lou’s 17 day trip (in November) the winds were strong with Lou on a 4.4m her husband, Bill, on a 4.7m. Some days were 3.3m weather.

No surprise to find that in the six weeks that Chriswent to Jeri he sailed every day but for three and that was to give his body a rest!

In Jeri the wind increase during the morning and peaks around mid-day to early afternoon. The wind became gusty at high tide due to the wind shadow caused by the headland and the new apartments being built by Club dos Ventos.

The Sailing Spots

NEW Lagoons!

Chris: I visited two lagoons whilst I was there: Tatajuba, and Lagos Azul. To do this you need to hire a buggy for a day, at around 150rais. These can be found all along the main street. Tip: take some roof rack straps with you as usually the buggy drivers only have string to tie it on the roof.

Lagoa Azul: About 30 mins from Jeri, Azul is perhaps the smallest lagoon. The wind blows down the length of the lagoon, which means the runs from side to side are pretty short. It’s amazingly flat; this is a must for any freestyler. There is a restaurant and bar there, and when we visited we were the only ones on the water!

Lagoa Tatajuba: About an hour from Jeri, Tatajuba is much, much bigger. The journey there is interesting, as you have to take the buggy on a raft over a river. The wind blows across the lagoon, so you don’t run out of room on your runs. Because it’s bigger than Azul, it gets quite choppy in the middle, but this lagoon does get windier than Jeri. I was overpowered on a 4.2 and freestyle board. There is a bar there, but the only food is fish from a bbq. There is also kit hire. Again, we were the only ones on the water.

Tip: because the only way here is mainly along the beach, the buggy’s can only get there and back at low tides. It’s a good idea to plan your trip when it is low tide for most of the day.

Water State

The water state is very much dependant on the time of year and the tide. Summer-time sees smaller waves than the autumn months. The swell increases from September on wards, and the biggest waves you will ever get are around November time, when you can get the odd mast high day. At any time of year spring tides seem to noticeably increase the wave height.

Jeri is perfect for jumping and a good introduction to waves. When the tide is out there are no waves at all, just chop. When the tide is high, it becomes even flatter on the inside, but out back there are lots of ramps and big swell.

On a spring tide Tanya noticed that the waves did get bigger; but when we were there in August, they were never more than a couple of feet.

There is another small beach a few minutes sail upwind where the waves break bigger, but be sure to check it out at low tide first so that you know where the rocks are. Chris agrees as the rocks outside Club Ventos do move. Better to walk kit down the point and launch away from the rocks in clean wind.

During Louise’s November stay they experienced every size from a foot or two to mast high on a big spring tide with outside rolling swell of up to 1-2m, again depending on the tide and wind strength.

The beach is sandy at low and mid tide. At high tide there are small rocks and pebbles and the water breaks right up to the steps of the hire centre.

Watch out for the constant rip running left to right. This is strongest during spring tides and can be up to 6 knots.

Instruction And Kit Hire

Chris: The main windsurf centre is still Clube Dos Ventos, (also known as Vela) and they have a huge range of the latest JP/Neil Pryde kit hired out on a ‘pool system’. You can hire kit and also store your own kit there. They run lessons from beginners to freestyle and wave if you specify. All the prices can be found at www.clubedosventos.com

You can now also hire surf boards and SUP’s from Clube Dos Ventos.

There are also some NEW places around the corner from the club that rent Tabou and Simmer:

Brazil Windsurf

Accommodation

Anywhere you stay will be close to the beach because the village is so small. Since Jeri is a National Park they cannot build buildings above a certain height, and there is a restriction on hotels, therefore there are none as such. Accommodation comes in the form of Pousadas (meaning guesthouse in Portuguese) and they come in all different shapes and sizes!

The cheapest you can find will be around 10 Reais (£2) a night.

Chris: I stayed at CASA Do JOHN
It is a complex of 4 apartments, two up two down, with a pool and BBQ. The apartments are capable of sleeping 6, have a fully furnished kitchen/lounge, sky TV, DVD player, and 2 double rooms with en-suite. They are also cleaned every other day. From our experience, the apartments are some of the nicest in Jeri. John was very helpful during our stay, and helped us with the transfer and kit storage. His wife Leticia also gives Portuguese lessons. These apartments are obviously a bit more expensive than some pousadas, but it was definatly worth paying extra for a bit of luxury! For prices, check out the website.

You can also book your Jeri hotel through UK operator Sportif (www.sportif.travel)

Other Pousadas

You can book a Pousada through your travel agent, or get on the internet and contact them directly. Or you can just turn up to the village. People swarm each bus of new arrivals to sell ‘their’ Pousada to you.

Please note: no camping allowed as it is in a National Park.

Kit storage

If you are taking your own kit then Clube dos Ventos store kit at a price, but there are other smaller places which do it as well.

Tanya stored hers at Carla’s which is next to Naturalmente (on the beach with a Naish flag on the deck outside) There are also a couple of pousadas on the beach who store kit.

Lou stored hers at Ou Guarderio do Lado next to Clube dos Ventos. Email:artesyanapraia@hotmail.com

It costs between £25-£100 per week to store your kit depending on the time of year and where you store it.

Food

Chris: Look for the words Preito Feito if you want a cheap meal. This means handmade dish, and usually you can have either fish, beef or chicken, with rice beans and salad. If you fancy pizza, look out for quero pizza on main street. They also do takeaways.Jeripan is a bakery/grocery over on the 3rd street. This is open 24 hrs a day, and sells fresh bread. You can buy a meat pastry here too, for about 40p. Perfect place on the way home from a night out! There is also another bakery right at the top of 3rd street called san antonio. This is only open from 2am till 8am, and sells fresh bread with different fillings. I recommend the banana bread!

Tanya: Self-catering does not really work in Jeri, nor would you want it to once you’ve tried a few of the restaurants! Although it is a tiny village, there are around 20-30 restaurants to choose from. You can eat like a king for about £3.50. The most expensive restaurant is Chocolate, and we had 4 courses for the equivalent of £10 each. There is a huge range of restaurants, and we did not get bored once in 5 weeks. You can have pizza, steaks, fresh fish, Italian, Sushi, Mediterranean, and I recommend it all. Our favourite restaurant was Todo na Brasa, located on the main street. Also try Casa das Trufas for your desert. They serve huge truffles in a variety of flavours for 70p each. This can be found on the main street by the beach opposite the sushi restaurant.

Lou: There are a variety of restaurants in Jeri for all budgets; here are a few we tried:

Todo Na Brasa: Very popular with windsurfers, the choice is good, and either rice or chips and beans accompany meals. Good portions and cost per person including drinks was 30 Reals (£6)

Del Casa (just up the road from the Todo Na Brasa): You won’t get a better pizza in town, also plenty of pasta dishes.

Sabor Da Terra: An excellent seafood restaurant where the locals eat too. Still cheap, even the fresh lobster.

The Sabor d’labor: It serves local cuisine with pizza, chicken and fish.

Leonardo De Vinci: Avoid this one. It is a pasta and pizza place that seems too expensive for what it is.

There is also a variety of small restaurants which locals have set up from their houses. They look basic, but they were always busy and are the cheapest places to eat.

There are a few local supermarkets where you can get some supplies, but shop around as they do vary in price. There are also various Internet cafés serving snacks.

The windsurf center provides a help-yourself buffet from midday until 5pm. You just weigh your plate and put it on your tab (if you are hiring or storing you kit at the centre).

Happy hour is from 5-6pm each night, where you can enjoy a cocktail and / or beer, and watch the sunset – a perfect end to the sailing day.

Note: Do not drink the tap water.

Nightlife

Chris: You wouldn’t think it at first, but Jeri has a busy nightlife. If you want a big night out, then don’t head out till around midnight. Nowhere gets busy until then and the party’s go on until morning, so you’ll hit the wall too early! Everyone seems to head down the beach where there are loads of cocktail stands. Look out for this kid, making cocktails (picture) he makes them pretty strong, and cheap! There are 2 clubs in Jeri, and one is a salsa club. Can be funny after a few drinks! The biggest party’s are at full moons, where they have capoeira displays and live music on the beach.

The national drink is Caiprinha. It is recommended to take it slow and build up your tolerance to them. They are simply fresh lime juice, sugar, and Brazilian rum. At the stalls on the beach they cost 50p, but in the most expensive bar they charge about £2.

A beer at most bars and restaurants costs 30p.

Bored Of Windsurfing

Other than windsurfing there are a range of activities you can do….

  • FOOTBALL!! Be warned, as soon as you place a ball in the public eye, within around 15 minutes, you will have three full teams of Brazilians strutting their stuff. So if you are after a quiet kick around then find a secluded area within the dunes!
  • Hire sand boards and hike up the sand dunes for £1 an hour. (Tip: do NOT go anytime near midday, you’ll fry)
  • Hire a buggy for the day and see the local landscape and chill out at some of the lagoons.
  • Gohorse riding
  • Tanya: We took our surf boards, but you can also hire them. If you have a mini mal or a long board and enjoy a bit of a sunset surf when the tide is high, then it’s worth chucking it in the bag. We mainly surfed around at the smaller wave beach.(Steve: you can now hire them from Clube Dos Ventos)
  • Kayaking: Club Ventos surf kayaks are great fun in the small waves
  • Just chill out in a hammockwith a cold beer and watch the locals rip!

As you can tell, it’s not quite the same as being on a big island or near a city, so you do have to entertain yourself if you don’t windsurf and don’t like sun bathing!

Hot Tips

OFF the WATER:

MONEY:

Lou: We arrived late into Lisbon and had no time to go through to the main airport and buy currency. On arriving at Fortaleza 19:15 hrs, there was no foreign exchange open. On arrival to Jeri, we were told there were no banks! Doh!

Tanya: Yes, there are no banks so calculate how much money you are going to need and take it all with you in Brazilian Reals. However, most restaurants and shops accept credit card, as do Clube dos Ventos. A few places also accept US Dollars, but you have been warned!

Chris: Take a phrase book as English is hardly spoken, unless you like charades!

————–

Lou: Avoid booking your trip around any Brazilian holidays; especially carnival time as we have been told it gets very busy.

Tanya: Check your feet every day. There is a type of worm which lives in the sand and occasionally may burrow into your feet. There are 2 types: one type will enter your foot and stay there. It will look like a black spot only the size of a pin. To remove it simply pierce the skin and squish it out (make sure you get everything out). The second kind is slightly trickier. It burrows into your foot and carries on slithering around. You will see a red trail and it will get itchy and a bit painful. To get rid of this one you need antibiotics. One of our party did get ‘type one’ but it was easy to get out.

Chris: Keep you’re receipts for the excess baggage, so you can show them if they try and charge you more on the return flight.

Lou: Take a torch as you may experience power cuts, and there are no streetlights or emergency generators for the hotels.

Chris: TAKE SPARES!! There isn’t really anywhere to buy kit, and the kit there is, is stupidly expensive! You’re talking £100 for a UJ, and £200 for a harness. Don’t worry too much if you rip a sail, or break a board, (I did a lot of this), there are places that can repair them.

ON the WATER:

Lou: If the morning starts cloudy, you will be in for a windy day.

Tanya: If you are a kitesurfer, do not under any circumstances try and launch off the beach at Jeri. Someone tried this in our presence and within 10 minutes, eight of the locals had ripped him and his kit off the water! It is a safety factor, but not to worry, the kiters have their own beach called Prea and they all congregate down there every day. It is 20 minutes by buggy and there is far more of an onshore breeze there.

Lou: If the water gets crowded, either sail upwind to a small beach, (the waves are cross-onshore and no one ventures there), or sail downwind past the large sand dune to a place called ‘Heaven’. You will have this pretty much to yourself but it will take a couple of tacks upwind to get back to the main beach.

On high spring tides, don’t come in too far as you hit a big wind shadow.

Tanya: Make sure you know who has right of way and watch out for the Italians. Once or twice it got really crowded on the water, and they aren’t the nicest of windsurfers!

Check out the beach at low tide so that you know where the rocks are when you come in. (Most sensible people wear booties, but I just can’t stand them!)

Conclusion

Chris: I had an amazing time in Jeri. The place is full of windsurfers so it’s not hard to meet like minded people! It was just crazy that there was wind every single day. I learnt loads, and because of the standard of sailors it really helped me push myself. The atmosphere, combined with the amount of windsurfing you can do and the nightlife, makes Jeri one of the most enjoyable places for a windsurfing holiday.

If you want an easy life with travel, then use Sportif (www.sportif-uk.com). They were very good and took the hassle out of the holiday. You can book direct, but we found there was not much difference in the costs.

Pictures and video were taken by Chris Hughes, Lou & Bill Mason and Chris Wootton.

Tourist

Your NEW September Tourist was…

Name: Chris Wootton
Local beach in UK: Hill Head
Years sailing: 5 years
Last windsurf moved cracked: one-handed ponch

Your August tourists were…

Name: Tanya Saleh & Chris Hughes
Tanya’s sponsors: Fat Face, JP, NeilPryde
Local beach in the UK: Southsea, Portsmouth
How many years sailing: Tanya: 6 yrs, Chris: Total beginner before trip

Your November tourists were…

Name: Lou & Bill Mason
Local beach in the UK: Hayling Island
How many years sailing: Plenty but never enough!

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