Jericoacoara is among the most desired beach destinations in Brazil. Because it is a National Park, Jeri has some particularities that need to be taken into account when planning the trip. We traveled to Jeri in January 2016 with our nephews, aged 10 and 13, and I share with you some tips to organize a trip there, with or without children, our budget and some suggestions for a 3-day itinerary.
How to get there
Jericoacoara is 300 km away from Fortaleza. The village is in an area of dunes and therefore you can get there only by buggy or a 4-wheel drive car. All of you who aren’t traveling with a 4-wheel drive, it is possible to park your car in Jijoca (there are several parking lots) and from there to take a truck (called Jardineira D-20) to Jericoacoara. Take the route CE-085 from Fortaleza to Jijoca as it is in better conditions than the BR 222. It takes about 4h30. From Jijoca to Jericoacoara you will need another 40 minutes on the truck D-20.
Parking in Jijoca costs between R$ 10 and R$ 15 a day. The drive Jijoca – Jericoacoara on D-20 costs about R$ 15 per person. Anyone who wants to go Jijoca – Jericoacoara in a private Hilux for up to 4 people will pay around R$ 100. There is also the option to hire a guide to take your own travel car to Jeri. In that case, they flatten a little the tires and charge around R$ 80 to drive the car. I don’t recommend this option, as in addition of a risk to dammage the car, in several areas of the national park it isn’t allowed to drive around in ordinary cars.
For those arriving by plane in Fortaleza and don’t want to rent a car, you have the following options Fortaleza => Jericoacoara:
Option 1 – shared transfer in a Hilux (up to 4 people) where you can go all the way from Fortaleza to Jeri without changing cars. Costs around R$ 150 per person, leaving you at the hotel’s door or hostel (you can ask the directions to your hotel in advance). About 4 hours of driving.
Option 2 – go with a tourist agency which makes the stretch Fortaleza => Jijoca by bus or van, changing to a D-20 vehicle in Jijoca (the guest has to take his/her luggage from the bus to the truck). From Jijoca to Jeri on a D-20 truck, leaving you at the hotel’s door or hostel. About R$ 80,00 per person. Departure from Fortaleza airport daily at 6 am and hotels in Beira-Mar around 7 am. About 6 hours of traveling.
Option 3 – by Fretcar bus that offers the stretch Fortaleza => Jijoca in executive buses, changing for a truck D-20 in Jijoca (the guest has to take his/her luggage from the bus to the truck). Route Jijoca to Jeri in a truck D-20. Descent at the Fretcar agency in Jeri and walking on your own to the hotel or hostel. About R$ 76,00 per person. Purchase through the internet at www.fretcar.com.br (website in Portuguese). Departures from the airport at 7 am, 15 pm and 18 pm. About 7 hours of traveling.
The same options are valid for return.
In our case, we went in our car, leaving from Natal. If we would have went straight it would have been almost 12 hours. As we were with two children, we made the trip in two days. The first night we slept in Mossoró and the following day we went from Mossoró to Jericoacora. On the way back, we slept one night in Fortaleza, and the following day we drove from Fortaleza to Natal. For those who have more time, you can divide the trip into 3 days.
Where to stay
Jericoacoara is very visited all year round. There are several accommodation options, from hostels to luxury hotels. Prices are often high compared to other national destinations. Therefore, it is very important to make the reservation in advance. Some people stay in Jijoca. But I recommend staying in Jericoacoara, because Jijoca doesn’t have such a nice charm of the village.
The prices in Jeri vary a lot depending on the type of accommodation. But one bed in a hostel costs around R$ 50 a night. We stayed at a hostel on Rua Principal (the main street) and paid R$ 260 a night for a couple and 2 children.
What to do – our 3-day itinerary
We arrived in Jeri around 3 pm (check-in was from 2 pm). We had lunch and afterwards spent the afternoon at the beach. As it was cloudy, the sunset wasn’t too beautiful which we saw from the beach itself. In the evening, we went out for dinner and strolled along Rua Principal (the main street) and Forró Street, getting to know the village.
As the weather was sunny, we went on the buggy ride (East), which included the famous Lagoas do Paraíso e Azul (lagoons of Paradise and Blue), the beach of Preá, the Sloth Tree (Árvore da Preguiça) and Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone).
The tour is about 5 hours long, from 9 am to 2 pm, and you will get to know the main attractions of Jeri. We paid R$ 280 for the 4 of us. But prices range from R$ 250 to R$ 300 depending if it is low or high season.
On our way back, we spent some time on the beach. And at night we had dinner on Rua Principal (the main street).
If you want, you can do that day the other buggy ride (West) which goes to Tatajuba village, passes through Mangue Seco beach and crosses Guriú River. On this route, an extra ride is offered to see seahorses and it is possible to rent a surfboard to go surfing. The buggy ride to Tatajuba costs around R$ 250 for 4 people. We didn’t do this tour, so I can’t give you more details on it.
On that day, we rented a Stand-Up Paddle board, for R$ 40 (1 hour), which we split between the four of us.
In the afternoon, we finally got to see the famous sunset of Jericoacoara. We climbed the Sunset Dune (Duna do Pôr do Sol) 1h 30 earlier and the kids had fun playing on the dune.
On our way back from the dune, we stopped at Rua Principal (the main street) for dinner. At night there was a blackout (a common problem when the village is crowded), but luckily we were already in our hotel.
Even during a blackout, Jeri’s restaurants continue to function with candlelights.
On the fourth day, we left after breakfast to get the truck D-20 back to Jijoca. The trick is to look for one of the trucks leaving from Rua Sao Francisco (but we got from Rua Principal) and ask the driver to stop at your hotel to pick up the luggage.
As you know, we usually travel economically, but with children it is more difficult… The main costs of our trip:
Private Hilux for 4 people Jijoca – Jericoacoara: R$ 100
Parking Jijoca: 3 days x R$ 10 = R$ 30
Accommodation (with a private room and bathroom for a couple + 2 children, tv, air-conditioning and frigobar, breakfast): 3 days x R$ 260 = R $ 780
Meals: between R$ 70 and R$ 120 each meal for the 4 (self-services, a la carte restaurants, pizzerias)
Buggy ride: R$ 280 for the 4 (price ranges from R$ 250 to R$ 300, depending on the season)
Stand-Up Paddle Rentals: R$ 40 (1 hour)
Truck D-20 Jericoacoara – Jijoca: R$ 15 per person
I didn’t include expenses for the petrol from Natal to Jijoca, nor other expenses, such as snacks and water.
Prices are from January 2016.
Written in Portuguese by Karla Larissa
Translation by Juliane Boll