In Jericoacoara, Ceará, the best way to get to know the main attractions is by going on a buggy tour. The most known is the tour of the East, which includes 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). We did the tour with our nephews in January 2016, and they loved it. I will tell you all about it in this post.
The tour can be pre-booked the day before, at your hotel or at one of Jericoacoara’s various agencies. But as the weather was rainy, we preferred not to make any reservation, and the day we wanted to do the tour, we went to Rua Sao Francisco (San Francisco Street), from where the buggies leave, to find a bugueiro (a buggy driver) and to negotiate. The ride costs between R$ 250 and R$ 300 for 5 hours for up to 4 people, depending on your negotiation skills. Buggies usually leave at 9 am and return around 2 pm.
As we were there during high season, a week after New Year’s Eve, with some negotiation, we got a deal at R$ 280.
The normal route of the bugueiros starts in the National Park, goes to Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone), then Sloth Tree (Árvore da Preguiça), then the beach of Preá, Lagoa Azul and the grand finale is Lagoa do Paraíso. When we left it was still sunny, but the black clouds already appeared at the horizon, so we decided to make the route backwards to start with the best part.
The great advantage of doing the reverse route was that we arrived at the places while they were less crowded. For example, at Lagoa do Paraíso (Paradise Lagoon), when we arrived there were very few people and we could find empty hammocks. When we left, 2 hours later, it was already full and people had to wait in order to get a free hammock.
Another positive point of doing the reverse route was that normally you stop for lunch at Lagoa do Paraíso, where the food prices are pretty touristy, so they are expensive. And the way we did it, we had lunch at a hut on Preá Beach where we ate very well and probably paid half of the prices at Lagoon of Paradise.
Jeri’s buggy ride, unlike the Genipabu dunes in Natal, doesn’t give the option of “with or without emotion” because buggies can’t drive on Jeri’s dunes. The tour is very relaxed so you can go with children. Our nephews loved it, one of them never went on a buggy ride before, so it was a lot of fun.
As soon as the bugueiro left Jeri, when he enters the area of the National Park, he stopped for taking pictures in the dunes. Then we continued to Lagoa do Paraíso. We got there at 9:30 am and as I said, there were just a few people at that time.
The entrance to the Lagoon is free and there is a bar service and restaurants. You also don’t pay anything to use the hammocks. But be careful, you pay a lot of money to lie down on the sun beds. Therefore, they are usually empty.
The stop at Lagoa do Paraíso is for 2 hours and then we went to Lagoa Azul which had a low water level and very dark water due to the lack of rainfall in previous months. So, we took some photos and didn’t stay for long.
The next stop was Preá Beach, which is very beautiful, with a calm ocean and many kite and wind surfers. We ate lunch at Monica’s which offered good service, a tasty and well-served meal and also well-priced by Jeri standards. This beach is already outside of the municipality of Jijoca. It belongs to the municipality of Cruz.
After lunch, we stopped at Árvore da Preguiça (Sloth Tree) for photos and then continued to the Pedra Furada trail. The buggy can’t drive until the stone which is a typical postcard motive of Jeri. From the place where the buggy parks until there it is a very easy walk down to the waterfront of about 20-30 minutes walking. For those who go on the trail leaving from the village of Jericoacoara, the trail takes around 1h30 and it is only possible to go along the beach at low tide.
The stone is very crowded, so taking a photo just itself is very difficult. The natural formation became famous because, at a certain time of the year, it is possible to see the sun set through the hole. But in my opinion, the beach itself and the other natural formations are prettier than the stone Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone).
Early in the afternoon, we returned to Jeri. We asked the bugueiro to drop us off at the beach and we stayed there enjoying the afternoon to rest. Our bugueiro was called Manoel and he was very friendly and made us feel comfortable throughout the tour.
Buggy ride – R$ 250 to R$ 300 for 4 people
Coconut Water in Paradise Lagoon – R$ 6 each coconut
Lunch at Preá Beach – R$ 114,40 for 2 adults and 2 children (shrimps in a pineapple, portion of French fries, 2 mugs of juice)
For those who want to economize
The buggy ride is well worth it for anyone who is in 4-person group. But for those traveling alone or as a couple it can get expensive. A more economical option to get to know the famous Lagoa do Paraíso (Paradise Lagoon) is to go on a truck D-20. The stretch costs R$ 15 per person.
To get to Pedra Furada (Perforated Stone) it is possible to go on a trail from the village which takes about 1h30.
Written in Portuguese by Karla Larissa
Translation by Juliane Boll