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Jericoacoara, Brazil

Jericoacoara, Brazil
Region: South America
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If you’re bored with the northern hemisphere and want to switch things up a bit, watch water go down the drain in the other direction, see how it feels to call December summer, then you need to go to the southern hemisphere. That’s how things are there – the water flows down the drain in the opposite direction and the seasons are switched around (December is summer while June is winter).

If you are a passionate windsurfer and you’re looking for a great windsurfing destination in the southern hemisphere, look no further than Jijoca de Jericoacoara, the northernmost city in the Brazilian state of Ceará, known as Jericoacoara or Jeri.

Fun fact: the name Jericoacoara, as translated from the indigenous Tupi language, means “house of turtles.” About 16,000 people call Jericoacoara home, according to the latest statistics we could get our hands on.

Putting the spotlight on windsurfing, here are the main bits and pieces you need to know about Jericoacoara:

The best months to go to Jericoacoara for wind are from June till December. Let me try to put that in perspective for you: for half a year Jericoacoara has favorable winds. That’s every day (pretty much) for half a year.

Jericoacoara features trade winds and thermal winds. The wind starts to blow in the morning and by noon/early afternoon it peaks out. During high tide the wind can get gusty. If it’s cloudy in the morning, it is definitely going to be a windy day.

All types of windsurfers can ride here. Jericoacoara offers something for every level of rider, from the novice who is just now picking up the basics up to the expert rider who wants to have tons of fun.

The best months to go to Jericoacoara for swell are September, October, November and December. The water temperature in Jericoacoara is high enough so you do not need a wetsuit.

Two factors influence the water state:
1. The time of the year – smaller waves in the summer months, bigger swell in the winter months. Keep in mind that in the southern hemisphere the seasons are switched around. This means Jericoacoara gets the biggest waves around November.
2. The tide – as mentioned above, the wind gets gusty during high tide. At high tide you get flat water on the inside and lots of ramps and big swell out back. When the tide is out there are no waves at all, just chop.

Other useful information
There are windsurfing centers that offer gear for rent, let you store your gear there, and offer instruction to novices. The main center is Clube Dos Ventos.

Jericoacoara is a fairly isolated location that has not fallen pray to commercialization or mass tourism. As far as I see it, this is good news. It means the people who go to Jericoacoara care about the same thing you do – windsurfing.

You will not need to rent a car while in Jericoacoara. This means you will save the money you would have spent on renting a car if you went to Cape Town for example. Jericoacoara is so small that no matter where you find lodging, you will be quite close to the beach. Speaking of lodging, there are various pousadas (that’s Portuguese for guest house) that you can rent and they are reasonably priced. A word of warning for would-be campers: Jericoacoara is classified as a national park, which means there’s no camping. The fact that Jericoacoara is a national park also means buildings cannot exceed a certain height.

Finding food will not be a problem since there are plenty of restaurants in Jericoacoara and they all offer good food at an affordable price. There are so many places to eat and they are so cheap that you will not feel the need to self-cater.

For a small town, Jericoacoara has a busy nightlife. The parties start at about midnight and draw to a close early in the morning.

Here are some other activities you can try out: sand boarding, hire a buggy, horse riding, play football, kayaking, and kiteboarding. A word or warning for kiteboarders: there’s no kiteboarding in Jericoacoara. If you try to fly your kite here you will be escorted off the beach. To fly your kite you’ll need to go to another beach, mainly to Prea. It’s about 20 minutes away by buggy.

There are no banks in Jericoacoara, so make sure to get all the local currency you need at the airport.

Few locals speak English, so bring a phrase book with you, or brush up on your Portuguese before you go to Jericoacoara.

During Brazilian holidays (carnivals and such), it can get a bit crowded. It’s best to double check and make sure you’re not going to Jericoacoara during a holiday.

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