Hidden Beach

jericoacoara beach, brazil beach

Hidden Beach: Jericoacoara, Brazil

July 20, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
Far removed from the sultry scene on many of Brazil’s beaches near Rio de Janeiro, Jericoacoara is a slow-moving, old-fashioned idyll on the South American country’s northeastern coast. Jeri, as locals affectionately know the beach, did not have electricity until about 20 years ago, and the village still experiences the occasional power outage. Visitors must endure an eight-hour bus ride, followed by a scenic off-road trek before finally arriving at Jeri’s sandy streets. Yes, the village streets are sand.

How Jericoacoara Hooks Visitors

Jeri receives strong winds from Africa, making it a favorite destination of wind surfers, and the beach also features a giant dune, from which sunsets are particularly striking. The village of Jericoacoara has long subsisted on fishing, and fishermen still go about their work today. The origin of the name Jericoacoara, according to Jericoacoara.com, comes either from the combination of indigenous words “yuruco” and “cuara” referring to the sea turtles that lay eggs there or from the shape of a prominent hill that looks like an alligator (or “jacarequara”). Although Jeri has been slowly changing since modern amenities were introduced, the village has not yet been overrun by tourist buses or luxury hotels.

In 1999, Diana Jean Schemo of The New York Times featured Jeri in the travel section, with detailed observations of the town, “a smattering of about a dozen streets … surrounded by green hills and vast sand dunes.” The locals are soccer-obsessed, the dishes are simply rice, beans and fish, the skies are clear and starry and the streets are all sand. “Wherever you are in Jericoacoara, you never really leave the beach,” said the author.

The Views in Jeri

Jeri has some quirky natural features, such as the Rock with a Hole and the Sunset Dune. PanMap advises how to plan your days in the village and at the beach, and which daytrips are worthwhile, including Blue Lake and Tatajuba Beach. View several 360-degree panoramic images of Jeri’s aquamarine waters, terra cotta colored sands and bright yellow dwellings.

Trek Earth has photos of Jeri’s stunning rocks, dunes, waves and rippled sands, as well as images of local fishermen at work.

A YouTube video depicts Jeri’s serene expanse of shoreline.

How to Get to Jericoacoara

Getting to Jeri is not exactly easy, but its “attraction is partially its isolation,” according to Frommer’s. The travel guidebook’s Brazil edition features this chapter on Jeri, with details on how to get there (via a long bus ride followed by miles of travel over sand dunes) required documents and recommended accommodations.

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