The most beautiful beach in Ceará is also one of the most ten beautiful beaches in the world. The title, given by the The New York Times, gives a sample of what the tourist will find in Jericoacoara. Dunes that move from place to place, mangroves, areas filled with coconut-trees and the beautiful sea with warm and quiet water gives to “Jeri,” as it is called by the locals, an air of earthly paradise. Jericoacoara is also an environmental protected area by law.
It was, but about 15 years ago, an isolated fishing village, without any contact with modern civilization. There were no roads, no electricity, no phones, no TV’s, no newspapers, and money was something almost useless, since deals were based on trading fish for goods. In 1984 the place was declared as an “Environmental Protection Area” by federal law. Although tourism has reached the place, because of it’s extraordinary beauty, it still keeps the unhurried and peaceful way of life. Because of the EPA law, it is forbidden to hunt, pollute, open new roads, and buildings are limited to the village area (the EPA has 200 sq. km, and the village is 1 sq. km big) having to follow the same architectural style. Lodging facilities had their construction forbidden in 1992, in order to limit the quantity of tourists in the place.
The last 15 km on the way to Jericoacoara is on soft sand, so you need a 4WD vehicle to get there. Until the beginning of 1998, electricity was supplied by diesel generators. Today, there is an underground power supply, only for the houses. Street illumination still comes from the moon and the stars. In 1994, the “Washington Post Magazine” chose Jericoacoara as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches of the world, in a special holiday issue,and so did “The New York Times” in 1999.
But what makes the place so special? Jericoacoara has more than one reason to be considered a paradise. The place is a set of several different sceneries, altogether in a very beautiful and harmonic combination. And not only to be seen, but to be felt. The intense contact with nature, and the sensation of freedom that the place transmits, where every place is so wide and no kind of behavior is restricted, will mark Jericoacoara forever in your memories. What is there to see and do in Jericoacoara? There are several activities for the visitor in Jericoacoara, to satisfy every taste. From calm hikes and horseback rides to radical sports, such as windsurf or sandboard. There are countless touristic interest sceneries, that sometimes it is hard to believe that they can be so different and be so close to each other.
What to expect from Jericoacoara? If you are the kind of person used to traveling to developed places, with comfort and several services for the tourist, then Jericoacoara is not the place for you. Until a few years ago, there were no lodges, restaurants, bars or shops. The several restrictions imposed by the EPA law for new buildings preserved several original characteristics of the place. In Jericoacoara you will not find luxury, but there are already a few lodges capable of receiving you in a clean and pleasant room, as well as some restaurants with delicious food. But if you are more concerned about knowing a very beautiful place, with intense contact with nature, then this is your paradise. Book more days than you think are necessary to get to know the place: the great majority of travelers end up delaying their departure, either because they feel that there is still a lot to be seen or because they want to enjoy more days in this unique and fantastic place.
Jericoacoara offers countless points of touristic interest, spread out over the EPA(Environment Protection Area) that together make an impressive set of harmonic sceneries.
Among the several attractions, the most famous is the Arched Rock, a huge gate of stone sculpted by the waves, situated in the Rocky Region of Jericoacoara. This part of the beach starts after the Malhada Beach, the first beach on the east side of the village, already outside the bay. The Malhada beach is small, with waves, good for surfing and wave windsurfing. It is also a place where naturists go topless and practice nudism. The Rocky Region stretches over 2 km of coast, ending up at the Frade Rock.
Besides the famous Arched Rock, there is an infinity of other rocks with curious shapes, as well as caves and natural pools. The hike though the rocky region is something not to be missed, but you must go at low tide, since when the tide is high there will be no passage between the sea and the Serrote, a small hill (about 100m altitude) of rock and sand covered by low vegetation, where the Lighthouse of Jericoacoara is situated. This lighthouse is nowadays a modern piece of electronic equipment, powered by solar energy, that has no need of operators, even the burned light bulbs are automatically changed. Each lighthouse cycle is 10 seconds, with 2 lit and 8 off. The lighthouse is the best place to observe sunrise and moonrise, since it offers the best possible view of the sea to the east.