February 26, 2007
The used Brazil guidebook I was lucky to pick up from a lady in Belem lists Jericoacoara as one of the highlights of the entire country, and for that very reason, I wasn't planning to go there. As soon as a remote, little-known place like Jeri makes it into the guidebooks, it tends to become overcrowded with tourists and the prices triple. In a sense, the guidebooks can actually ruin the little gems that were previously the tightly-kept secrets of a few seasoned travelers. But that's just the nature of the beast, and given that I myself am in fact a tourist, there's not much I can do but move on and search for some other unknown place.
But in the case of Jericoacoara, as soon as I got in the town's general vicinity, all of the local people I met started talking about it. They said sure it's crowded with tourists, but it's also one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Brazil. I found a few pictures of the place online and was convinced that I had to check it out personally.
The bus to get to Jeri took most of the day. I thought we had arrived when everyone exited the bus, but I was explained that we were in fact only in the town of Jijoca, and from there we'd have to transfer to another bus for the rest of the trip. Soon a rugged bus/truck with wooden bench seats and no doors pulled up. We threw our luggage on the roof and started down the road. We passed through a few small towns and the road ended. From then on, there was only sand. That explained the transfer to a different bus. The rest of the trip was along the shore through an amazingly beautiful area. The sun was setting over the sand dunes just as we saw a few houses in the distance.
I found a place in Jeri that had camping and set up my tent in the yard. I figured it would be an expensive town so I brought a bunch of food and my tent with me. The town was built directly out of the sand with no paved, or even gravel, roads. There was only a patch of sand between a row of houses. Still, the house I was camping at was modern with electricity, running water, and a television set. We'll see tomorrow just how great the beach really is.