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Embraced by the sun, the ocean and the winds - Icaraí de Amontada

As a child, I went on countless buggy rides over the sand dunes of the Northeastern Brazil coastline. From East to West, I’m pretty sure we covered every beach in Ceará. In Northeast Brazil, small shops used to manufacture dune buggies out of a Volkswagen Beetle’s engine and platform chassis, adapting it with a fiberglass roofless body. Many families owned one and used it for recreational rides along the many beaches and sand dunes in Northeast Brazil.

Thinking back to those times, when we would ride without seatbelts in a roofless vehicle, going up and down over sand dunes, I sometimes wonder how we all managed to survive unscathed. But I also realize I’ve been trying to relive this experience for a while. There is nothing like having the salty breeze blowing on your face, admiring the ocean, burying your bare feet in the sand and swimming in the salty, wavy and warm waters of Ceará’s ocean, among miles of deserted beaches.

In a way, it is fair to say that I went as far as Thailand to try to go back to my careless childhood days by the beach, to no avail. Years of pollution and the high population density in Asia mean that Thai beaches, despite being beautiful, are crowded and have far more trash than I expected. Frustrating, to be honest.

The upside of this story, however, is that I was recently able to recover many, if not all, of those experiences at Icaraí de Amontada. Despite the pandemic, I was able to escape there for a couple of days. It’s located 210 km (130 miles) away from the capital, Fortaleza, which amounts to a three-hour drive, considering the state of local roads. Despite the intrusive presence of the wind turbines on the landscape (what’s good for the environment does not always improve the view), the scenery is still beautiful. It’s not a new spot and it has been well-known by kitesurfing tourists around the world for over a decade, but it’s still charming, beautiful and not crowded.

This was our second foray out of the home during this pandemic. We visited the Berkshires, and now Icaraí de Amontada. I have to admit I was appalled by the lack of care towards preventing Covid. Despite good cleaning measures in place at the Inn, room occupancy was 100%. Since the Inn was relatively small (only 18 rooms) but with a large common area, we didn’t feel at risk, but I would like to see lodging establishments taking the need to reduce occupancy seriously.

Now onto the main question: how to pick a beach to go to? First, what kind of ocean and sand are you looking for? Wide or short sandy beaches? What activities do you intend to do? Swimming, playing sports, relaxing and reading? What is the tide like? For this specific question, you can find free apps and sites, like Tides near me and Tabuas de Mares (PT-BR). For those who like stargazing, you can just sit outside and try to identify planets, stars and constellations. If you are a bit more enthusiastic about it, like myself, you can bring your own telescope (like this one).

But why Icaraí de Amontada? Because it’s secluded and you will have the beach all to yourself. Because ocean waters are warm, because you can take a boat ride through the mangroves and, last but not least, because of the wind.

The wind makes Icaraizinho an international meca for kitesurfing: strong winds, soft waves, perfect Summer temperatures all year round. You don’t have to be an enthusiast of the sport, you can try some lessons in one of the numerous kitesurfing schools in the area or you can just settle down in a hammock and watch the colorful sails while you sip cold coconut water.

How to get there? By car, if you are in Ceará or one of the neighboring states. By plane through Fortaleza or Jericoacoara, once the pandemic is over.

Photos by Rebeca Cavalcante

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