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Kite surfing in Jericoacoara
Ben, the founder of Imagine Travel, is kite surfing obsessed. To indulge his passion, he headed to Ceara State in northern Brazil, which for 6 months of the year has arguably the most dependable wind in the world (excluding the poles).
Brazil is such a spectacular country and one of the fastest growing destinations in the world for UK holidaymakers, and kite surfing is an increasingly popular activity, for both professional sports personalities and beach bums alike. So, as an already fairly well seasoned kite surfer, I ventured to Jericoacoara to experience some of the world’s best kite surfing…
The holiday had two parts. The plan was to fly to Fortaleza International Airport (direct from Europe), transfer thirty minutes to the coast at Cumbuco, and then kite surf downwind for 350km to Jericoacoara. Yes you read that right, 350km in four days using only the power of the wind and our kites. I had read that this was possible, and so as you do we decided to give it a go. Once at Jericoacoara, we were to set up base in a hotel called the Mosquito Blue, and stay for a week, plenty of time to see all the sights, as well as PLENTY more kite surfing.
Downwind from Cumbuco to Jericoacoara (Jeri) by kite can only be summed up in one word... AMAZING!! One of the best things I’ve done in years. We hired an amazing guide called Daniel and his beach modified (big fat tyres) land rover – who acted as our mobile base. Daniel had arranged Pousadas (guest houses) for us to stay in at various fishing villages along the way, so after meeting him, he took us straight to the beach and in less than thirty minutes (no time to waste when you have this far to cover) we were in the sea, kite surfing down the coast. Daniel and his assistant Newt (a very small man who didn’t speak for the entire time, although he was very helpful) drove along the beach shadowing us all the way, helping us launch and land our kites, taking photos and making sure we came to no harm.
During this first part of our trip, we would start the day with a map drawn on the sand by Daniel illustrating rocks, boats and any other hazards that we needed to avoid. Daniel only spoke Portuguese and a tiny bit of Spanish, so maximum attention to the map was vital. Then, we were off kiting for a couple of hours, before stopping for a quick break for water, suntan lotion top up and mandatory blister care, followed by a couple more hours on the water. At lunch we were treated to a delicious meal in a local restaurant in one of the many isolated fishing villages we were passing. Back on the water, just as the sun was lower down on the horizon (making for some beautiful light for photos), the afternoon session would only be about 15 or 20kms before we’d arrive into yet another sleeping fishing village, for an overnight in our pre-arranged Pousada.
The places we stopped along the way were Icaraizinho, Fleixeras, Mundau and Lagoinha. This is rural and off-the-beaten-track Brazil – we didn’t see any Europeans at all until we got to Jeri. Portuguese is the only language 99% of people speak – don’t expect Pidgin English to get you anywhere. If you don’t speak Portuguese, then make sure you take a pocket phrase book (or a Portuguese/English iPhone App); it will make a big difference to your trip.
When we eventually arrived in Jericoacoara it was a truly remarkable place… a fishing village about the size of ten football pitches, located right on the beach within a National Park area that is comprised mainly of sand dunes. At high tide the sea is 20m from the end of the main street. All the streets are bare sand, there’s a beguiling mix of local shops, pousadas, and restaurants – all with a strong dash of surf culture. The highlight of Jeri was the daily tradition that takes place every day in the late afternoon, where half the town empties onto the beach and walks up the big sand dune to see the sun set over the Atlantic. By the time you get back it’s getting dark, Caipirinha stalls line the beach and the sound of live music can be heard from almost every restaurant.
I urge people to embark on a similar trip. If you are an intermediate kite surfer this will be the best thing you’ve ever done… waves, flat water and guaranteed wind (one of the places we stayed at had a totally serious “no wind and you stay for free” guarantee). The few days spent in Jeri at the end of your trip will be some of the most well-earned r&r you’ve ever had!
Has this whet your appetite to try kite surfing or to simply relax on some of Brazil’s beautiful beaches?
Check out our website for more information on Brazil’s North East Coast, then get in touch with our specialists on 020 7622 1116 to let us help you plan a tailor-made trip.