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Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara

Listed under Kitesurfing in Bahia North East, Brazil.

  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
  • Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
Photo of Kitesurfing Travel trip to Jericoacoara
Photo by Adam Jones
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Cumbuco in the North East of Brazil has become one of the world’s hot spots for kiting. As soon as you step off the plane in Fortaleza you start to see signs with pictures of kiters on them and the well worn board bags that litter the airports arrival gates give you a hint that you may be somewhere a bit special.

We had arrived through the craze of Sao Paulo airport with its insane queuing systems and tropical heat to the relatively small airport of Fortaleza. Brazil is a country with phenomenal contrasts of rich and poor and we were all a little unsure of what to expect. Disappointingly the airports are just like any other but the heat that greets you is striking.

We saw glimpses of the city as the taxi shot us to our hotel. Snapshots of dirt streets and run down houses, groups sat on the street and cars that shouldn’t be running.

After a brief 3 hours sleep we headed out into the glittering sunshine to be smacked in the face by the outstanding beauty and breathtaking beach in front of The Sunset Beach hotel.

Sand is the only way to describe it. Stunning yellow and white sand lapped by the deep azure blue sea for as far as you can look.

After a huge breakfast we headed out on the water . The wind blew crossshore, the waves and shore break varied every day. We did long downwinders, had epic “lets get barrelled” shore break sessions, trips to the infamous Caiipi lagoon with its insane local kids who are unable to do a jump without putting at least one handle pass in. We ate and drank ourselves silly every night for next to no money. Our brief had been to come to Brazil to test and help develop some of Flexifoil’s new kite designs. The consistent conditions of Cumbuco were exactly what was required to test all the new toys and designs. This just about sums up our first 3 weeks in Brazil.

After 3 weeks we were all starting to get a bit stir crazy of Cumbuco. We had eaten at all the restaurants, got drunk in all the bars, knew most of the taxi drivers and had seen all 5 streets (2 with tarmac, 3 without) so we decided to take a little trip further North. Henry and the rest of the Flexi team had headed off to China with all the developed kites, so that left Team Turbulence and Belgum and now local Cumbuco Flexi rider Bjorn Viane to do some looking around.

After renting a 4x4 and loading up our kit we set off. The Turbulence/Flexi team were in one vehicle and the ever growing group had expanded to 2 vehicles with Simon(UK), Vanda (BR) and Frederick (Swiss living Frenchman) in the second vehicle.We travelled North through ever changing countryside from palm forests to open plains and blue lagoons. The temperature just constantly increased and our old Mitsubishi L200 was struggling with the heat. It topped out at 38 degrees and the Mitsubishis temp gauge gave up from there and just showed a random set of numbers.

After 3 hours of crazy Brazilian drivers and even crazier roads we finally arrived at the gate way to the Jericoacoara National Park. Jericoacoara is pretty much on the equator and was one of the first ever world heritage sites some 20 years ago. It is a heavily protected area of natural beauty and you need to get yourself a guide before entering the park, otherwise you will get stuck and lost.

Entering the park we drove on red dust streets through tiny villages, where everyone waves. The poverty is immense but the people are so happy. The red dirt streets soon give way to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. The vast sand dunes appear in your vision as the guide deftly points your way through the trees and shifting sand mountains. The guides know exactly where you can drive and where not to drive, they know the quickest and safest routes and will keep you moving when everyone else would have stopped in the sand long before.

The sand soon became forest again when suddenly we reached the wooden bridge. Just wide enough for the 4x4, it crossed some dangerous stretches of water and sand. We trundled over in the mitsubishi and arrived at the edge of the forest on the other side. Out of the trees we stumbled onto a pure white beach with the wind howling along it. (It is worth mentioning that in typical Brazilian style the middle of wooden bridge featured a bus stop, only in Brazil!)

We blasted along the waters edge marvelling at the colours and beauty of this place. The twinkling lights of Jericoacoara sat before us and we eventually made it into town.

Jericoacoara is a town of lost souls. A more eclectic mix of shops, hotels, people and animals than you would ever expect to find in the middle of nowhere next to a giant sand dune!

The town itself features a huge number of Pousadas (little hotels) which are cheap and cheerful. They are in fact a way higher standard than any b&b at home with wonderfully friendly staff, clean rooms, excellent service and for next to no money. Your guide is usually able to advise you of one to stay at for all budgets. There are also a number of bigger hotels that feature all the usual home comforts and many more.

The streets are sand, the shops are everywhere, and the town meanders its way through day and night. In the evening it is a full on party town and in the day it is a shopper and sight see’ers paradise.

Our first morning in Jericoacoara dawned late with breakfast for the intrepid team at the Pousada. The breakfast was the usual excellently high standard and again made me wonder why I eat such rubbish for breakfast at home when I could have mango and orange juice, omelettes, toasties, cereal and bread, all washed down with more coffee than you can shake a stick at. The breakfast is usually included in the price of your Pousada for the evening, just ask when you get there.

We travelled to Tatajaba lagoon some 35km from Jericoacoara across astounding terrain. A completely mind blowing experience including river crossings with man powered rafts, huge sugar white sand dunes, open plains, mangrove forests and some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen. It really was an unbelievable experience that pictures and video can only translate a tenth of. The colours, smells, tranquillity, people and stunning beauty of this raw and yet vibrant country is breathtaking.

The lagoon at Tatajaba was flat, huge and with 7m weather we spent all day tearing it up. An awesome day and a phenomenal adventure. The drive to the lagoon was an unreal experience and worthy of a days trip in itself, however when the end of your journey is a butter flat lagoon surrounded by crystal white sand dunes it makes it an awe inspiring opportunity. Whilst the Flexifoil team riders Johara, Hoggy and Bjorn ripped the flat water apart with all the latest pass combinations the learners in our party were also loving the flat water experience with big Simon deciding it was time he started to get his 110kg frame jumping, and Frederick finally getting some time stood up on his board in the flat lagoon.

After running out of water and food we reluctantly called time on Tatajaba and headed on back to Jericoacoara. The journey back was in a way more amazing than our journey to the lagoon. We saw at first hand the value of our guide. With the tide having retreated we were now faced with large mud flat areas before reaching the ferries. Kiko (our guide) carefully plotted his way through the ever changing channels and tidal pools, deftly leading us to the ferry and the easy route back.

Getting back to Jericoacoara, we celebrated Simon’s first jumps with a bottle of rose champagne in the giant Jacuzzi at the Mosquito Blue hotel over looking the bay. We then couldn’t resist the opportunity of another session so headed to the bottom of the huge sunset and sunrise sand dune and had an awesome cross off session in the small kickers and ramps. At around 5 o’clock daily you will find an exodus of hundreds of people climb the dune to watch the sunset and sand board down the steep face to the water. We really meant to do it on one of our 2 days but it was windy so we kited in the fading sunlight beneath the sand dune instead and made the most of more of Jericoacoara‘s 7m weather.

Our second morning in Jericoacoara was a slow start due to a Saturday night our on the town! As I have said Jericoacoara is a party town and the street cocktail vendors will break most heads somewhere along the line. They do some of the best Mojitos ever tasted. So with fuzzy heads we headed with our guide down the beach for a crazy trip along 200km’s of coast line. We drove past perfect spot after perfect spot. Miles and miles of astounding empty beaches with headland after headland holding more beautiful sand mountains and glorious lagoons.

We eventually reached the river mouth near Flexieras where we did our last river crossing and found a Pousada for the night. The next morning was an early start to Munhou to a river mouth we had seen the day before. The local kids were extremely interested to see the crazy kiters and eagerly borrowed our surfboards and headed out into the small breakers in front of the river mouth.

We rigged 9m kites and headed out after them. It was super gusty but the waves led you nicely into the butter flat river. With an amazing backdrop of white and red sand dunes we had a short but eventful session.

After getting all our kit back and paying the local kids off with stickers and surf wax, we headed back down the beach and made our way to Lagouinia. We arrived at a seaside town with little cafés, a small beach break and pretty flukey wind. Our guide was convinced we were in the right spot, when suddenly Bjorn remembered he had been here before and we headed off down the beach until we finally saw a kite in the distance. Out of the sand came a total flat water lagoon with 9m weather blowing right across. There were 4 kiters our so we quickly rigged up and Bjorn was once again first on the water. He was particularly fired up as an Italian guy had advised him he would be way too small to hold down a 9m, talk about red rag and bull. Bjorn proceeded to pull kiteloop after kiteloop high above the lagoon and even landed a couple of mobe7’s just to show the Italian guys what a world class kiter can do. He put on a great show and cleared large sections of the small lagoon every time he jumped.

We kited the lagoon till dark and eventually dragged our weary butts off the sand and onto the road for the drive back to Cumbucco. After an hour drive in the dark on Brazilian roads we were all pretty fried but a couple of beers soon restored the spirit.

We reflected on our trip as an amazing experience with each of us taking away precious moments and memories that will stay with us all for a long time.

Personally I got to share some great spots with some great friends and managed to bag an awesome 7m wave session on my own to finish the whole trip off, but I wont tell you where that was you will just have to go find out for yourself.

We all had different travel times and dates on the way back and I spent my last 2 days in Cumbuco in a wonderful room at Sunset Beach with a balcony overlooking what can only be described as a screensaver view. It was so good I spent one of the nights sleeping on the balcony in the huge hammock.

Extra notes: On the way back my TAM flight was delayed by 1.5 hours. This made me miss my connection to Germany and left me stranded in Sao Paulo airport for 24 hours. I queued for 3 hours at the TAM customer service desk and got absolutely nowhere. I was carting around 95kgs of luggage and it doesn’t really fit in the gaps at the check in desk. The TAM area was surrounded by pissed off Brazilians who were in the same situation as me. Eventually at midnight TAM offered me a voucher for a hotel in the city centre. I really couldn’t face it so I found myself stood outside the Fast Sleep hotel, one of the new style POD hotels inside the airport, where you have a train style cabin to stay in and you pay by the hour. I have had 12 hours in the Fast Sleep with net access, a great shower and clean good quality room and service. It was a little strange cramming all my kit in the room (as it filled the bottom bunk and the floor) but it worked and I feel refreshed and have done some work before flying home. It is the first one of these hotels I have stayed in and they are so useful if you have a few hours to kill at an airport. The UK versions are YO hotel and are available at Gatwick and Heathrow currently.

So I am now sat in the “on the rocks” bar in the airport with 5 hours before my long flight home reflecting on my time in this amazing country.

I find myself happy to be going home to see my wife and my dog but sad to be leaving Brazil. It is a truly magical country with passion and vibrancy in every area. The people have a chat and it sounds like a full blown argument, they have a fire and passion for life that is rarely seen. I have visited some beautiful areas and seen some outstanding poverty but each one is kissed by the Brazilian smile and twinkling eyes. Sao Paulo is a true big city with everything you would expect of a location with 11million residents. The most striking thing for me about Brazil is the work ethic. Everyone wants to work, not necessarily hard, but they do want to work and they take pride in their jobs. Most of the country doesn’t speak any English and I have struggled through with my 5 words of Portugese. But the people actually want to help you and are prepared to put up with the stupid gringo that arrives in their country and doesn’t know any of the language and customs.

I will hold one memory of Brazil with me for a long time. We stopped at a fuel station on a Sunday afternoon. Sunday is a party day in Brazil and the usual Toyota Hi Lux with huge speakers was parked across the road from the fuel pumps. A little old brazilian guy who was no more that 5ft1” was dancing around in the bar. He was at least 60 years old and stopped in his tracks when he saw us. His face broke into an even bigger smile and he waved us over to dance with him and his friends. Now I am no dancer but how can you resist an old mans smile and a firey twinkle in his eyes. The bar was going off and was full of people from about 4 years old upwards, all enjoying themselves, sharing beers, sharing food and loving life. There was no ounce of pomp, performance or anything other than sheer fun. Thank you Brazil for helping me remember how much fun visiting a country can be.

Hasta Luego Amigo

Written by  Adam Jones.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Jericoacoara

Locals say this is one of the worlds best beaches. I haven’t seen enough to know if that’s true but its pretty great. It’s only 10k from Prea, so conditions are similar, but probably better for windsurfers than kiters. The nightlife is better though, so if that’s what you care about come here its more of a city. If you’re into both you can stay here and buggy down to Prea. You can only buggy around here, its mostly sand dunes, palm trees, lagoons, beach and caprihinias. Best between Jun and Jan when the wind is solid, but it’s probably pretty good out of season.

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