According to written records, the Portuguese “discovered” the area in the 17th century. At that time the region was populated by the Tremembes Indians. The Portuguese came from the East (around the Fortaleza area) as they were looking to set up a small fort between them and the French, whom controlled the state of Maranhao. The Serrote mountain surrounded by sand dunes turned out to be the perfect lookout point, so they setup base in 1614. Sure enough, a few months later, they were attacked by the “Du Prat” French pirates whom were defeated thanks to the tactical location. During the following centuries, Jericoacoara returned to being a deserted point on the coast of Ceará and only started ‘happening’ again in the 1970’s.
70It wasn´t until the late 1970´s that hippies ‘re-disovered’ Jericoacoara, back then it was only a tiny fishing village on the Northeastern coast of Brazil with very few inhabitants, mostly living off fish & seafood and manioc flower from the inland regions.
80Backpackers start visiting Jeri in the 80’s, they trade t-shirts and camping tools for food & a spot to hang a hammock. In 1984, the Government calls the Jericoacoara region an “Environmentaly Protected Area” (APA) preventing the building of high-rises and disorganized development.
90After hearing stories of “endless months of howling winds between sand dunes and coconut trees”, windsurfers make their first trips to Jeri. They go home telling their friends and soon after that Jeri becomes the best windsurfing destination in Brazil. Nicer pousadas and rental shops develop in the 90´s.
2000The arrival of power in 1998 changed everything for Jericoacoara, from refrigerators to telephones, air conditionning to internet, the hip village is transformed into a bustling tourist town, fulfilling all the needs of the modern man!
The tipping point for Jeri was in March of 1987, when an article in the Washington Post Sunday edition mentionned Jeri as one of the world’s best beaches beckon, from then on the village hit the international main stream.
In 2002, the Protected Area was increased and turned into an official National Parc which extended all the way to Preá. Adding this fact to the windsurfing frenzy, Jericoacoara slowly turned into the touristy yet quaint little town it is today.
Jeri’s sandy street are still unpaved and although electricity reached the village in 1998, there are no electric poles and therefor no light pollution which gives Jeri a nice feeling when walking down the streets at night. During the day, the hot sun and light breeze invite you to relax in a hammock, take a dune buggy trip to a fresh water lagoon or go practice any kind of water sports!
The origin of the name Jericoacoara most probably comes from the Tupi (an indian dialect) words “yurucuá” (turtle) – “quara” (burrow), in other words, a place where turtles lay eggs, for more info, read the article regarding the latest hatchling of the hawksbill turtles monitored by the National Park rangers.
Jeri´s night life can get pretty interesting if you´re up to it! The little town offers every kind of food you can imagine, from typical grilled fish with rice & beans to fresh sushi or Lebanese cuisine, there are well over 50 restaurants to choose from. Prices range from R$ 10 per person for native restaurants to R$ 50 (or more) for the fancier places.
If you are up for some real night-life, remember that Wednesdays and Saturdays are “Forró nights” when both natives and tourists go out to party. Forró is a popular music from Northeast Brazil using 3 popular instruments, an accordion, a metal triangle and a drum. The party-goers will start hitting the main street towards 1 am and usually return just before dawn. Buggies are available at any time of the day or night to do the return trip from Preá. The drivers will wait for you in Jeri until you are ready to get back to the hotel!
Tip: avoid getting your Caipirinhas and other evil cocktails from the carts on the main street as the ice used may not be the best. Also, book your buggy early to avoid having to wait.
The village of Preá is located 12 km East of Jeri. The access is done by dune buggy along the beach & between sand dunes. It´s a pleasurable 15 to 20 minute ride through the National Parc (view more details below map).
A simple return trip to Jeri is R$ 200 for up to 4 people. In between 24 pm and 7 am they will ask for R$ 300.
The driver picks you up from the front desk at Vila Preá and drives you straight to Jeri.
Please remember to pay the buggy drivers directly, upon return to Vila Preá.