Kiteboarding Travel Guide: Jericoacoara - Destinations Ep12
Welcome to Destinations your one stop kiteboarding video travel guide. If you have any questions when planning your trip, don't hesitate to reach out.
On Brazil’s endless coast, there are more kite beaches than one could count. But we went in search of a beach with that perfect combination of ripping wind, a vibrant community, and breathtaking sunsets. We couldn't quite settle on a favorite, so in this edition we're covering the kiteboarding beaches of Prea and Jericoacoara
Last time, we covered the Brazil downwinder experience with Surfin Sem Fim. After exploring 200km of Brazil’s northeast coast on a big downwind adventure, we needed to park our kite bags in one spot for a while! So we settled into beachfront bungalow at Rancho do Peixe where we could have some kite sessions right out front on the ocean or take a short buggy ride to that famous Brazil flatwater.
Here's the low down on the kite spots in the Prea and Jericoacoara area followed by everything else you need to know to plan your trip.
Luke McGillewie & Mitu Monteiro putting on a show.
Prime wind season in Brazil goes from July until January, with potential for wind throughout the year. Outside of the main windy season, you may encounter less reliable wind and rain. When the wind blows in this area, it nukes. Bring your smallest kites - wind typically blows from 16-35 knots on the beaches of Prea.
During my trip to Prea, I rode on a 6m every day. The average kite sizers in use here are 5m to 9m, though it never hurts to bring a bigger kite so you never miss a session. You can catch lighter wind conditions as the wind builds in the morning and as it is dropping towards the end of the day. Some of the lagoon spots also experience lighter winds than the ocean. You can expect wind to blow until the sun goes down here, so you can get as much time on the water as you want.
Weather / Temperature
Weather in Brazil is hot and sunny - bring your beach clothes! The water is just as welcoming as the weather. Leave your wetsuits at home, all you need here is a bikini or board shorts and some sunscreen. If you plan to do a lot of kiting, bring a 1mm layer to avoid any sunburns or rashes.
Here on Brazil’s northeastern coast, the kite spots are virtually limitless. For those based in Prea or Jericoacoara, here's an introduction to the kite spots nearby.
Prea: Here in Prea, we were based at Rancho do Peixe, where there’s a kite school and center right on the beach where guests and students can store gear, pump up with a compressor, and launch right in front of the facility. The beach here is wide with plenty of room to set up and launch. The beach in front of Rancho do Kite is divided so independent kiteboarders and those doing lessons are launching and riding in separate areas.
All along the beachfront in Prea you can find your own private section of beach or water to session, even on a busy day. If you’re staying in or near Prea, you can find launch spots all along the beach. Closer to town the beach is quite small and there are obstacles in the water including fishing boats and rocks. Most beachfront hotels and kite guest houses have plenty of space on the beach. Wind on Prea's ocean spots can be absolutely lit and the water is ocean chop with some waves breaking near the beach.
Downwinder to Jericoacoara/Jeri: One of the favourite experiences of kiteboarders visiting this area is the downwinder from Prea to Jericoacoara, which is a fairly short and easy downwinder good for any independent kiteboarder. You can downwind all the way to Jeri, but the exit in Jericoacoara is not beginner friendly. The landing spot is by the sand dune where the wind is offshore. For those that are not confident in these conditions, you can exit the downwinder before arriving in Jericoacoara.
You can organize a buggy to accompany you on the beach on this downwinder. Those that want support on the beach, the option of taking time to ride in their favorite sections, or the ability to exit the downwinder early and catch a ride into town should explore this option.
If you are staying in Jeri, you cannot kite or land on the main beach - this is reserved for windsurfers only. The only kite spot in Jericoacoara is the offshore spot where you can launch and ride by the dunes, but the spot here is super gusty and not beginner friendly. For kiting from Jeri, you'll have to get on a kite buggy or take a taxi to one of the ocean spots or lagoons.
Barra Grande Lagoon: The Barra Grande lagoon is a favorite for kiteboarders and works best in a low tide. These butter flat conditions are perfect for those looking at trick progression. The shallow, easy to manage water will make beginners feel totally at ease. Barra Grande/Barrinha is approximately 15 minutes by buggy from Prea. There is a kite center and restaurant on site so you can spend the day kiting and chilling!
Guriu Lagoon: About 15 minutes from Jericoacoara is the Guriu lagoon. This is a lagoon that can work anywhere from a medium to higher tide. If you like a bit of adventure or want to save money on buggies, you can get to Guriu on a downwinder from Jeri. You'll find a great little wave spot along the way. In Guriu, you'll beautiful beginner and freestyle friendly flatwater conditions with steady, side onshore wind.
Tatajuba Lagoon: If you're willing to go a bit further from home base, you'll be rewarded with peaceful vibes and perfect flatwater at Tatajuba. This spot is nearly an hour away from Jericoacoara, and also can be reached on a longer downwinder from Jeri. The river mouth here creates epic freestyle conditions on medium to high tide. Hop out to the ocean side for some nice little waves and kickers.
Riding level & Style
Level: All levels of kiters are welcome in these spots, especially on the big beginner friendly beaches of Prea or at the lagoons. Kiteboarders come to session in Brazil for several weeks at a time because the progression possible here is incredible. Independent kiteboarders who are working on learning tricks and skills love the non-stop wind.
Brazil has delivered us some of the best kiteboarders in the world, including Carlos Mario, Bruna Kajiya, and young shredder Mikaili Sol. When you’re surrounded by other kiters who have such a high level and a drive for improvement, it’s impossible not to take it to the next level!
Style: Riding Style in this part of Brazil is primarily freestyle, wave, and freeride. The wind is strong, so foiling friendly conditions do not come often. The strong wind does deliver great big air conditions, whether it's twin tip big ear or strapless big air.
On the lagoons, freestylers come in droves to lock down their next trick. Strapless riders froth for downwind ocean sessions. Freeriders that just want to stack some time on the water will get more than they can handle here in Brazil!
Facilities & Cautions
Facilities: At Rancho do Peixe, the kite facilities at Rancho do Kite include everything a kiter might want to stay comfortable on a holiday. Whether you’re a guest of the hotel or not, you can book lessons or get training at this kite center. They have a great team of instructors and support staff, a compressor, showers, bathrooms, storage, and a shop in case you’ve left anything at home. If you need refreshments during your session, there is a beachfront restaurant and lounging space so you can kick back and watch the action.
If you’re kiting along the coast or taking buggies to the kite spots, bring what you’ll need for the day. Some of the lagoons have restaurants or snack carts selling drinks and snacks, but many of the ocean spots are low on facilities unless you’re riding in front of a hotel or kite center.
Cautions: With so many different spots to ride, they all come with their own set of cautions. We recommend checking with local riders or the local kite center before you set up and launch at a new spot.
In the lagoons, the tide level usually determines when it’s safe to ride. If you're not sure about the tide level, you can check with other kiteboarders on the spot or just watch to see if other riders are kiting comfortably. In a new lagoon spot, do a couple passes and stop to see how deep the water is before you try any tricks.
In the ocean, most of the cautions will be visible. Boats, rocks, and buildings close to the beach can be hazardous in some spots - though you'll definitely see them before you run into them. If you’re a less experienced kiteboarder going for an ocean session or downwinder, it's worth going with a group or an organized kite buggy that can keep an eye on you!
Brazil seems like a world away, but the effort it takes to get there is well worth the reward of getting to kitesurf in this awesome spot. Whether you’re traveling as a group of kiters, flying solo, or going on a family holiday... There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this spot.
Before you go
If you’re traveling as an American or Canadian, you will need a valid passport and a visa to enter Brazil. This is a simple process that should be completed a few weeks in advance. Here are links to the online applications: USA | CANADA. Visitors from some other countries like the UK do not need a visa. It’s important to double check this information online in advance of your trip. For more information, you can check out the USA and Canada government provided travel information. There are travel advisories in place for some of Brazil’s major cities including Rio de Janeiro, but this is far, far away from the beautiful kite beaches! All foreign travel should be done with extra awareness and caution in mind, but we had a stress fee experience on our trip.
How to get there
The closest major airport is Fortaleza and this is where most kiters fly into to kite in Prea and Jeri. There is a much closer airport in Jericoacoara for those that want to get on the spot fast. Prea and Jeri are approximately 4 hours away from Fortaleza in a private vehicle or airport transfer. Public transportation options are available but can take up to 8 hours. Wherever you fly into, your hotel or accommodation can help you organize your transfer from the airport.
On the spot, a vehicle is not recommended or necessary. If you can't get by without a vehicle, you'll need some sand driving skills and will find your trip much easier with a 4x4. The roads in Prea and Jericoacoara are mainly soft sand. The best bet is to skip the vehicle and just walk or take buggies to the kite spots if needed.
Guests of Rancho do Peixe in Prea or Vila Kalango in Jericoacoara can take free transfers between the two hotels so you can kite at the beaches in Prea and enjoy the nightlife and vibes in the town of Jericoacoara.
Where to stay
Whether you’re a kitesurfer that’s flying solo or coming with a crew of family or friends, there are plenty of options for accommodations. Kite hostels, guest houses, AirBNBs, hotels, and high end hotels and resorts are all available.If you're going with your partner or a mix of kiting and non-kiting friends, both Prea and Jericoacoara will have enough to do to keep the crew entertained.
If you’re traveling on your own or wanting to enjoy some nightlife, Jericoacoara is the place to be. You can mix it up and make new friends in a kite house or hostel or find a beautiful beachfront hotel like Vila Kalango so you can be close to the action but still have your own quite oasis.
If you’re with a family or group and would rather have a laid back beach holiday that is family friendly, Prea is the spot! At Rancho do Peixe, you can go for an epic session while the babysitters on staff keep an eye on the little ones. Or you can organize lessons so they can keep you company out on the water!
Expect to spend as low as $10 per night for a dorm bed in a hostel or as high as $200-300 a night for a private bungalow for your family.
What to eat
Expect food and drink to cost you around half of what it would in the US. The costs will vary depending on if you're eating at a local restaurant or at a higher end hotel or resort. Food in Brazil is delicious, fresh, and local. It's hard to go wrong here! We recommend trying those juicy steaks and the freshest of the fresh seafood. You can't go wrong with a Cairpirinha - the local cocktail - to celebrate an awesome day on the water.
There’s plenty to do and see in this part of Brazil, whether it’s windy or not. Chances are, it will always be windy. When you're ready for a break from kiting, you'll have plenty of options.
The sunset on the dunes at Jericoacoara is something worth seeing. This is the most popular activity in Jeri, and you'll be one of hundreds or even thousands of people walking up to the dune to watch sunset. It is quite an experience and definitely worth doing once. If you want to take sunset to another level, you can go horseback riding on the dunes.
Jericoacoara is famous for it's after-dark scene. After sunset, grab some dinner from one of the many local eateries in the city center and go for a walk after. You'll likely run into a live show, a capioera or jujitsu display, or end up in a club where the party will go all night.
For a relaxing beach day out of the wind, leave your kites at home and head to Paradise Lagoon. This is about an hour by buggy from Prea and Jericoacoara, and you'll find perfect, clear fresh water, hammocks, shade, and a restaurant and bar scene that will keep you fed, watered, and entertained.
There’s plenty to do while you’re here - everything that you would typically expect on a tropical vacation is possible here. This is the sort of spot that you just show up to and play it by ear. You could spend your whole trip kiting and still leave stoked! But don't forget to set aside a bit of time to explore the local culture off the water.
A kiteboarding trip to Brazil is one that will be etched in your memory forever. You may find yourself planning your next trip back as soon as possible! My first experience in Brazil was better than I could have ever hoped for, and I’m already planning my next visit for next year.
We'll be back in Brazil visiting the hotspot of Cumbuco later this year, but we've got a lot of other incredible kite spots to cover! Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don't miss out on an episode! You can reach out to us on social media or to Crystalon Facebook or Instagram with any other questions about your trip.
See you next time on Destinations!
North Kites USA team rider and a MACkite team rider. Originally from Canada, she now calls the entire world her home, playground, and her workplace. She goes where the wind blows - so if you see her at a kite beach somewhere in the world, say hello! Her primary goal is to share her love of kiteboarding and travel and all the lessons learned along the way with the world.
Facebook: Crystal Veness
Written and produced by Ryan (Rygo) Goloversic and Crystal Veness
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