We drove from Belem down as far as Pipa on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. After spending almost a week on the Amazon barge, we decided to take the slower but more beautiful route down the coast, following the beach towns and sandy tracks as much as we could. North East Brazil is famous for it’s beaches, and we thought we would like to take a look. In the amazon we were really hit by the heat and humidity, and were wondering what the coast would bring. We found great onshore breezes which were most welcome when camping.
We had visited Brazil very briefly once before in early 2012, when we visited Iguassu falls. But, that was a good few thousand kilometers from this part of Brazil. That’s right – Thousands of Kilometers away. Probably about 5000 by a direct route, maybe 8000 to follow the coast. This is one seriously large country!
Our route brought us over a few small bridges. Luckily none that even creaked or groaned, so I’d be happy to say that anyone who wanted to drive this route could do it. We’re probably just over 7 ton and were fine.
We were heading for the town of Barreirinhas. We had heard they had some great dunes with super clear pools for swimming in. We did find it, and while it’s a small sleepy little place, we stayed there for 2 nights. We parked up where you get the ferry to the dunes area, and we went with a 4×4 tour to the actual dunes. The camping trucks were spared this one
From here, we took a great wild 4×4 route to the town of Paulino Neves. We did it this way as it was about 100km on the sand instead of 500km+ by tarmacadam. No contest!
Unimogs, contrary to popular opinion, do not really love deep soft sand.
We did meet a little traffic on this route, a guy on a tractor towing a jeep of some kind. He was a bit surprised to see trucks out there. Once he dropped of his “client”, we followed him back to town. He gave us a tip for a space to park with just some light traffic.
Within 20 minutes wading on foot through these lagoons, we were in some wonderful wild dunes with an impromptu dune bar that arrived at the weekend! The dunes are a great hangout place for people during the day, and strangely, for goats during the night!
We ended up staying there for 4 days, but that’s mainly because the next bridge on our route was closed for repair! This is a small fishing and farming community, and tourism is a pretty new thing for them. Well worth a stop if you have our own facilities. Once the bridge was fixed we were off again.
In the town of Jericoacoara , or simply Jeri, we got directed to the short route back to the coast, and we took it. It was fine, but as we discovered later it is not allowed to take that road in a truck in case they get stuck! No signs, no warnings – nothing. When we arrived at the coastal town of Jeri (yes, the same name – a bit confusing), the car park attendants told us the police wanted to see us for driving that route. We waited for them for a while, but they never showed up. We are suspicious they got stuck on the road we had just traveled, and never had the nerve to tell us we might have gotten stuck
Jeri was a nice spot to stay, we camped in the car park as no cars were allowed into town, just beach buggies. At night the atmosphere was superb, live music, great shopping and cool spots just to hang out and have a beer. The central streets are still just sand, even some shops and pubs. They got it right!
We moved on from Jeri along the coast to Pipa, stopping off here and there. Some of the little spots did not have vehicle access, you had to take a bus, hike, horse and cart or even a boat in the case of Galinhos. You do not see to many foreign tourists in a lot of these places. Definitly they get Brazian visitors, but they are not on the main backpackers or “must do” circuits. That made them nice, and they were all very welcoming to us. All along here we were made to feel very welcome, and very safe.
This route brought us all the way to Pipa, a really cool surfers town, and a great place to watch the World Cup! More next time!