Where streets are paved with sand
Though sunsets in Jeri are hard to miss, I made sure I caught one at the Sunset Dune, a short walk west of the village. Here, people gather to watch the sun fall off the ocean’s edge, with the few remaining windsurfers silhouetted against the horizon. Once the sun has gone, a free nightly capoeira show begins on the beach, taking advantage of the last bits of light. Nothing compares to watching experienced practitioners flip, fight and thrill with their athletic prowess.
For dinner the options are endless, from the multiple inexpensive eateries that line the streets to the expensive restaurants aimed at honeymooners. A prato feito (dish of the day) is served most everywhere, pairing an entree of either grilled chicken, beef or fish, with rice, beans, salad, and farofa (toasted manioc flour). At casual fish joint Peixaria Peixe Brasileiro (Beco do Guaxeló), fishermen deposit their catch early in the day and patrons choose their dinner, from red snapper to grouper to lobster, to be grilled. The restaurant is often busy, so chances are you’ll have to wander and return in a couple hours when your feast is ready.
At night, the main beach turns into a bar, with 20 or so stands serving cocktails. Try a caipirinha – Brazil’s national drink of cachaca (an alcohol made of sugar cane), sugar and lime – and personalise your beverage by adding anything from cacao to maracuja (passion fruit). Walk away from the beach along Rua Nova Jeri, and you’ll find Mama África, which always has live music and as much as a party scene as you’ll find anywhere in town– predominantly reggae merged with rock, electronic and more traditional Brazilian sounds.
People have been bemoaning Jericoacoara’s expansion for nearly a decade now, upset that their tropical idyll may become a smaller version of Rio de Janeiro. Regardless, in my memory it will always be a sort of paradise that forces visitors to embrace letting go and having fun outside their cultural norms. Had I not had a ticket home, I might still be there, content but bemoaning the visitors fresher than I, a caipirinha in hand.