At 6 a.m. the sun is rising rapidly above the horizon, yet not burning fiercely as it will in a couple of hours. I stroll over the sandy plain dotted with shrubs that feed the local horses and donkeys. Behind me is the village of Jericoacoara, along Brazil’s northeast coast. In front of me are only dunes. They attract like a magnet.
I take off my flip-flops and feel the yellow, soft sand under my feet and between my toes. Steadily I climb one dune, and another and another. There is no one but me. The last dune offers me a view of the ocean: blue, vast, empty except for a couple of early morning walkers along the shore. I sit down and absorb this extraordinary landscape.
My stomach has other ideas and after a while I follow its need for breakfast and return to Pousada Vila Bela Vista, whose horses I saw grazing freely on the plains an hour earlier. Patricia, the owner of the guesthouse, suggests we take a ride on horseback into the dunes, which sounds like a plan to me. She and her husband Marcio have 14 horses, all adopted or bought because they were in a neglected state. Patricia and Marcio nursed them back to health and now use them to take tourists into the dunes, which form a national park.
Beach Town of Jericoacoara
Jericoacoara is a remote town in Brazil’s northeastern state of Ceará, some 250 kilometers west of Fortaleza. It can only be reached by 4WD or buggy as it is hemmed in by ocean and a national park. Nevertheless, its attractive geographic location amid sea, beaches, dunes and sweet water lakes has drawn so many visitors that it has become a tourist town bursting with guesthouses, restaurants, souvenir shops and tour agencies.
The sandy streets, the low and brightly painted buildings and shady trees make it a welcoming place. Travelers mostly come for windsurfing, kitesurfing or buggy rides in the dunes, and Pousada Vila Bela Vista can organize all of those for you.
Personal Touch of Pousada Vila Bela Vista
I feel immediately at home, as if I have known Patricia and Marcio for ages. This personal relationship makes many guests return year after year. Behind the gate overhung with bright pink bougainvillea is a well-kept garden with two-story guest rooms alongside. “Each room is unique,” Patricia comments. “We started building from scratch.
Twelve years ago we felt attracted to this place, bought some land and little by little have transformed it into what you see now. We had no architects but constructed new rooms as the need arose and each has its own size, decoration and level of comfort.”
Ins and outs of the Pousada Vila Bela Vista
On the right side of the garden are the open dining room and the kitchen-cum-bar-cum-buffet. In the middle is a shady garden, characterized by tall palm trees and other vegetation, a swimming pool and a hot whirlpool which I try out that same evening (a hot whirlpool may sound odd in the tropics but in fact is great during the cool evening hours).
Among the amenities are:
- Each room has aircon, a mini fridge, a private veranda with hammocks, box-spring beds and a safe.
- Extensive, international book exchange.
- Great for kids: tree house, climbing wall, trampoline and play area.
Outdoor Activities in and around Jericoacoara
Many visitors come to Jericoacoara for kitesurfing or windsurfing (avg 20-30 knots from July-Dec). However, Patricia and Mario offer other activities as well:
- Yoga, samba and capoeira classes
- Massage, manicures and pedicures
- Horseback rides
- Buggy tours
- For more stories on Brazil, see here or find them on our Landcruisingadventure website.
- For tips on other mind-blowing places in Brazil, check out Insight Guides; find their Brazil guidebook here. Or use the excellent Unibanco Brazil Travel guidebooks.