Gliding and bouncing over undulating dunes in 4x4s, a convoy of travel specialists on last week’s UK-based fam trip to the coast of northeast Brazil, covered over 600km of tropical terrain and all its treasures whilst passing through three states of gloriously rewarding landscape and activities on the “Route of Emotions” tour.
Embarking from the popular resort city of Fortaleza with its urban beaches and tall beachfront hotels, the trajectory of the trip took in such diverse delights as laid-back kite-surfing hangout, Jericoacoara, before moving on to the Preguiças River to cruise the delta and its mangroves in speedboats.
The latter part of the week saw the scene shift to the pristine beauty of the beguiling lagoons and dunes of the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, before culminating in historic São Luís with its copious collection of colonial buildings.
Rolling into the sand-strewn lanes of Jericoacoara, lined with boutique shops, busy restaurants and colourful music bars, visitors immediately sense that this is a place to relax and enjoy a slower pace of life. A fishing village turned traveller hangout, ‘Jeri’ as it is affectionately (and helpfully) known, possesses an ambience that means travellers are often reluctant to leave.
Upon arriving at the My Blue Hotel and walking down to its beach bar and restaurant, being greeted by the classic Brazilian scene of lithe locals gracefully leaping around a beach volleyball net, sets the tone for a stay in this special village.
As night falls, the athleticism segues into a more exotic performance when the capoeira dancers take to the sands to enact their agile martial art – an acrobatic discipline acted out to the sounds of chanting, clapping and tribal percussion. The ‘capoeiristas’, as practitioners of the art are known, perform an array of energetic, choreographed contortions and routines to the delight of the crowds that encircle them. Spectators move to the rhythm of the music and delight in this most enchanting welcome to northern Brazil.
With the spirit of the dance coursing through the veins, evenings in Jeri can be concluded at the beachfront party spot where a DJ plays Brazilian beats to a buoyant crowd; although those who prefer something a little more relaxed can chill and people-watch in one of Jeri’s music bars whilst poring over the extensive caipirinha menus – glasses of which can be crammed with an array of unusual local fruits. The visible presence of local tourist police ensures that Jeri remains welcoming to the visitor.
When asked about her impressions of Jeri, Jennifer Cox, product manager at Exodus Travels, was lyrical:
“Jeri has a charm of its own – like no other town I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit. Sand paves the way instead of tarmac, dune buggies are the transport of choice, and beach stalls sell the widest array of Caipirinha’s imaginable. The fast footwork at the Friday night Samba sessions is mesmerising and the vibe of this place is so laid-back that extending your stay is almost inevitable.”
Come daytime, the essential excursion is to take a joyous, exhilarating buggy tour of the dunes that surround Jeri; the pure whiteness of the numerous sandy banks creating a magical lunar landscape. Reassuringly, these delightful dunes are designated as a National Park and Environmental Protection Area (APA) to preserve the area’s immaculate beauty. Keen photographers should have cameras at the ready when the sky darkens at dusk to produce a spellbinding contrast with the white mounds.
Finally, it would be unforgivably remiss to depart Jericoacoara without embarking on the short trek across the red soil pathways that take you to the natural wonder that is the arched rock of Pedra Furada – reminiscent of Dorset’s Durdle Door.
During their time in Jericoacoara, the travel specialists stayed at the My Blue Hotel Jericoacoara, a four-star hotel with beach access. This 80-room property has rooms with sea views and amenities such as two large swimming pools, two whirlpools, spa facilities, sauna, gym, beach bar with chair and towel service as well as a restaurant.
The TAP/Del Bianco fam trip took place 23-30 March 2017, with eight UK-based product managers, product executives and sales consultants visiting Fortaleza, Jericoacoara, Delta das Américas, Lençóis and São Luís.