From Fortaleza to Sao Luis whilst passing through the charming town of Jericoacoara or the splendid Lençois du Maranhao, the touristic appeal of the Northern coast of the Northeast region still remains largely unexploited. Indeed, a semi-arid climate with an average temperature of 28°C and the sea at 26°C all year round, as well as a shortened rainy season from just April to June, means that this is a choice destination for vacationers.
There is also an amazing coastline of deserted sandy beaches lined with dunes as far as the eye can see, and along which you can drive in a 4×4 or a buggy leaving from Fortaleza. In this region, we have chosen Jericoacoara, and also the fabulous Lencois du Maranhao 4hrs drive from Sao Luis. This desert of dunes, that you can discover barefoot, has the unique feature of being dotted with freshwater lagoons created by the rains between May and October.
If you travel to this part of the Northeast you will enjoy exceptional weather conditions in a dream setting still totally untouched by mass tourism. These are off the beaten track trips for new emotions and sensations!
Discover our tour packages
From Fortaleza to Jericoacoara, set off on an adventure along the deserted beaches of Ceara
We suggest setting of from Fortaleza to discover the exceptional village of Jericoacoara. The trip is in two stages stopping in the small fishing village of Guajiru.
You can either go by road with a driver or along the beach in a self drive buggy or in a 4×4 with a driver.
Kite surfers can extend the pleasure by doing a few « downwinds» along the way, an unforgettable experience.
Before leaving Fortaleza, you can stroll along the avenue de la Beira Mar that follows the coastline and where you won’t be able to resist tasting a fresh langouste, shrimps or a delicious freshly grilled fish in one of the restaurants or at the fish market.
Welcome to the land of light-Fortaleza
Thanks to a daily direct flight with the TAP (7 hrs from Lisbon), to Fortaleza, the 5th largest town in Brazil, is easy to get to for European vacationers.
The exceptional sunshine in this region makes Fortaleza a choice destination almost all year round, either for a few days in the sun or just for one night. For party goers the Dragao do Mar is the quarter to be in and it’s also the cultural centre of the town. It is near the Praia de Iracema and the Mereiles quarter and where the hotels we have chosen are located.
Visit one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil-Jericoacoara
Jericoacoara, what does this indigenous sounding name represent ? Imagine a fishing village sitting in a little bay with calm and clear waters, near an enormous sand dune that changes colour in the sunset.
You get around on foot or by buggy in the sandy streets with no public lighting. Indeed, standard vehicles can’t drive the last few sandy kms. that seperate this little bay from the rest of the world.
« Discovered » in the 1970s, this idyllic village located 300km from the regional capital has contained its tourist activity all these years so as to retain its characteristic charm and authenticity. There are lots of different activities here, buggy excursions or horseback riding in the dunes or to the freshwater lagoons, kite surfing, stand-up paddle and windsurfing of course but also sand boarding, lots of fun and excitement ! There are also local craft shops to visit and samba or capoeira dance lessons for those interested. There is something for everyone here, lots of sports or just relaxation.
Explore the authentic fishing village Guajiru with a dream beach
Even less known than the larger town of Jericoacoara, this little fishing village seems frozen in time where traditional life continues unchanged.
Lost in the coconut trees 120 km from Fortaleza, this rather exclusive little place has awoken our curiosity. Even though the nearby village of Fleixeiras has been discovered for quite a while, Guajiru still isolated, facing the ocean, a few kms away. This relative isolation gives all the charm to this magnificent beach and it’s also what attracted the first kite-surfers. The geographical situation is perfect for kite-surfing and it is the surfers who helped launch tourism in Guajiru. It’s an ideal opportunity to stop for a couple of days and learn how to kite-surf.
The locals continue to live and work in their traditional ways alongside the high-tech kites floating in the sky. Subsistence fishing and agriculture are still the main activities here and you only have to wander the sandy streets to discover this seemingly eternal way of life. Guajiru is a genuine traditional village but for several years now it offers quality hotels. The mix of traditional life and quality services attracts travelers looking for an authentic, calm but quality stay.
Explore the fascinating cultural heritage of Sao Luis
Sao Luis is the capital of the state of Maranhao, the Northern part of the Northeast region which forms the boundary with Amazonia.
Originally founded by French colonials who made their base here called the equinoctial France in 1612, this town has known glory and the hard times of colonization, and then was forgotten. It has only just started recovering over the last 10-20 years. However it hides an amazing treasure.
Looking over the bay you will find one of the biggest Portuguese colonial quarters still standing (partly) in the world. It is thanks to this treasure that Sao Luis is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO.
You will discover a whole treasure of local history while visiting these restored houses and museums and the ruins that show the true structure of the buildings. If you are interested in history, and want to know more about Brazil you can go on a guided visit for a couple of hours which takes you back in time and captivates you in these surroundings.
Visit the natural spectacle Lencois desert
Visiting the National Lencois Maranhenses Park is a highlight in any trip around the Brazilian Northeast. This park of 156,584 hectares (roughly 30 x 50 km) is a wonder of nature and is becoming one of the “must-see” destinations in Brazil.
It’s a 4hr. drive from the Maranhense capital. Come and discover one of the most magnificent and amazing deserts in the world ! With white, fine sandy dunes, the Lencois has the unique feature of being covered by small lagoons each rainy season. It is the layer of clay under the sand that keeps the rain water from draining away for months. The wind is constant from July to November and so brings the sand in from the sea, constantly changing the face of the dunes, an enchanting spectacle that never stops !
To reach the Lencois desert, you first have to get to Barreirinhas, by road from Sao Luis. Then from Barreirinhas, you enter the park in a 4×4 vehicle that takes you along the track for about 45 min. This track can be flooded and bumpy depending on the season.
Apart from the first two lagoons (Azul & Peixe) where most tourists stop, you will be alone in this park and this adds to the magic of the place. You just have to pass a few dunes to find yourself in this immense magical place….When the lagoons are full of water, which is not always the case, the spectacle is incredible. (the best time to visit is definitely from June to the end of the rainy season). You can wander barefoot and bathe in the freshwater lagoons whenever you wish. No other desert in the world can offer such an amazing pleasure !