Kitesurfing in Brasil: A Windswept Kitesurfing Heaven-on-Earth
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
The northern coast of Brazil, spanning east to west just below the equator line, is a kitesurfer's paradise. Endless stretches of sandy beaches and strong, constant wind with nearly 100% statistics (in season) make for an "I-want-to-go-there-again-ASAP" kitesurfing experience. The high season is between September and December, when the wind is almost guaranteed. All the time. I mean like day and night. It just never stops. You can wake up early in the morning and go for a pre-breakfast session - the wind is there. Or you can have a night session after dinner, because the wind is still there. It is pure wind porn, ranging between 20 to +30 knots. Not to mention delicious food - fresh tropical fruit, juicy picanhas and steaks, and of course the daily dose of antioxidants and pure health: savory bowls of açai berry with granola, banana (or other fruit) and cacao powder. Your taste buds will orgasm from pleasure.
The entry point to kitesurfing in Brasil is usually the city of Fortaleza, in the Ceara state. From there, kitesurfing spots are lined up like pearls on the beach, one after the other up north-west or down south-east from Fortaleza. There are many of them and everyone has their favourite. Of course I haven't seen all of them, but I will mention three of my favourites, all of them north of Fortaleza, in the order of distance.
This surfer town is a must-see in Brazil. It seduces you with a super-relaxed vibe, just enough nightlife and partying to make it interesting, delicious food and cocktails, and stunning sunset watching from the "Sunset Dune" just out of town. Not to mention great kitesurfing. Jeri is accessible only via a long drive on the beach with 4X4 vehicles, so getting there is already an adventure. We were arriving by night and we were following the tire tracks of vehicles that have driven there before us. The tracks get erased each day at high tide, thus if there are none, you have to follow the row of poles which indicate the direction and keep you from driving into the soft sand and getting stuck.
You can kitesurf immediately next to Jeri, but a couple of better spots including a lagoon with flat water can be found a short drive further west, passing over a canal between two peninsulas with small rafts - just big enough to hold one car and its passengers - and driving through a mangrove forest. There are no real roads to speak of. Speeding alongside the endless sandy beaches with 4x4 pick-up trucks, blasting over the sand dunes and drifting in the sand is great fun, so much that going to the spot is an experience almost as exhilarating as kitesurfing itself! The waves break nicely on the beach, so they are perfect for a downwind session from Jeri to the lagoon - just make sure someone gets there with a car, otherwise it is a long upwind battle (or walk) back.
Barra Grande is a small, sleepy village a few hours drive from Jericoacoara. Some nice pousadas and restaurants, nothing special. What is great about Barra Grande is its kite spot, just a short downwind and a stroll over the beach and you find yourself in a large lagoon with shallow, butter flat water and plenty of small bushes sticking out from the surface, just waiting to be played among and jumped over. It is a fantastic kite playground, although it is not super spacious, so it can get crowded if there are too many kiters.
Another couple of hours drive from Barra Grande, plus a boat ride (it is not accessible by cars), brings you to the remote and forgotten village of Atins. Hands down one of the most magical kite spots I've seen so far. The small village is half-buried in ever-shifting sand dunes and looks like a forgotten place, something completely out of this world. The pousada we stayed in was a small oasis of greenery, with comfortable bungalows and rooms. The spot is a large, varied lagoon that constantly changes shape as the tide goes up and down. Small islets protrude out of the water as the tide goes down, and new bays and smaller lagoons are formed where there was dry land before as the tide goes up. It offers ample opportunity to play and explore - butter flat water for breaking your speed records or practicing freestyle, as well as waves out in the open if you wish to go ride them. Atins is not easy to reach and the journey there is time-consuming. An advantage of this is that very few kiters venture so far to the northwest, thus there are no crowds and plenty of space. It has one or two beach bars to relax in between sessions and eat the best Açai-granola bowl I've ever tasted.
In Atins, life is simple and enjoyable. You are swept into this mesmerizing feeling of being blissfully ignorant of the passage of time. The wind, water and sand caress your body and nurture your soul. And that is all you need. Your mind wanders freely and you feel like being forgotten from the world, yet completely content with it. It is difficult to describe, but amazing to feel.
If you make it all the way to Atins, an additional treat and not-to-miss experience is a trip to Lençois Maranhenses national park, just a short drive from Atins. Covering over 155,000 hectares, it is an endless area of white, tall sand dunes with fresh water lakes hiding between them. The lakes are formed by rain and many of the smaller ones completely evaporate and disappear in autumn, only to be replenished on the next rainy season. It is truly a spectacular sight to behold and it genuinely feels like being on another planet. A cherry on the top of the cake is of course bringing your kite gear with you and kitesurfing on one of the lakes. A unique experience.
Brasil, the windswept heaven - awaits! You simply can't get enough of it.