Monday, October 31, 2011
Jericoacoara is in an area of environmental protection, and a road to it will hopefully never be built. It's the village's isolation and beauty that draw the tourists that drive the local economy. Jeri is so isolated that it didn't have electricity until 1989, and even today there are no streetlights at night - just the lanterns and lamps of small shops, bars, restaurants and inns to brighten the darkness a bit.
Today Jeri has sophisticated boutique hotels and gourmet restaurants, but it hasn't lost its hippie past - most of the accommodation in the village is in small inns and pousadas, and most of the restaurants serve basic local fare, with emphasis on seafood. At night, many of the bars have live music and all serve cheap and potent cocktails, most of them based on cachaça and local fruit juices. Local "herbal" intoxicants remain popular too - another vestige of Jeri's hippie era.
Because of its location on the northernmost stretches of Ceará coastline, Jeri is one of the very few places in Brazil where it's possible to see the sun set into the sea. A popular ritual, for locals and visitors alike is to climb the 200 foot high sand dune that dominates the village at about 5 pm and watch the sun set in the sea from the dune's windy heights.
Jericoacoara is a popular weekend get-away for residents of Fortaleza, but because of the travel time involved isn't really worth visiting unless you can afford to spend at least two nights there - any shorter amount of time and you'll spend more time traveling to and from Jeri than you will relaxing and enjoying it.
Our next few posts on Flavors of Brazil will feature a couple of local signature dishes from Jericoacoara. A taste of Jeri, as it were.