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Redonda, where life slows down

We were frequent visitors. Every year, at least once, we would take the road towards the West coast of Ceará, Brazil. Not to the famous Canoa Quebrada beach, though. We would drive 25 miles further to Redonda beach (about 120 miles from Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará).

Redonda and the other beaches around the town of Icapuí, on the border of Ceará with the state of Rio Grande do Norte, still hold the charm of the fishermen villages of yonder years, just like Jericoacoara used to be.

You won’t find trendy inns, fancy resorts, or hot nightlife. Life seems to follow the rhythm of the sun and evenings are quiet. The day also starts as soon as the sun “wakes up”, as my goddaughter Sophia likes to put it.

But I digress. Let’s focus on the more relevant information. What has changed in the last 15 years? Fortunately, not much, the brave local residents won the fight and Redonda remains almost unchanged. Predatory tourism hasn’t defaced it, Redonda is still the place to sink down in a hammock and calmly watch life go by. The ocean sparks green and wild, just like the famous writer José de Alencar described, and is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

The “jangadas”, rafts traditionally used by the fishermen, are sprawled on the entire extension of the beach and add to the enchantment. In Redonda, life revolves around fishing, family farming and keeping the environment safe.

Redonda, as many other beaches in Ceará, is marked by the clay cliffs by the oceanside, called “falésias”. That means you get to take advantage of great views from pretty much everywhere and hiking trails abound. Stop, take pictures and, most importantly, give yourself time to breathe all the magic in. Redonda and the nearby beaches like Picos, Ponta Grossa, Peroba and Tremembé, also offer opportunities for “jangada” rides and scuba diving. There are plenty of options at a good price. Still, trust me: the main goals of your trip should be to smell the ocean breeze and to realize most of your deadlines are not that urgent.

Where to stay?

If you want to stay right by the ocean, try the inn “Pousada O Pescador”. I’ve stayed there several times but have only lately discovered its official name. The inn is better known as Wanderlei’s Inn or, if you’re a local, Wanwan’s Inn.

I stayed at Vila Manzuá on my last trip. It’s not as close to the beach, but since it sits atop the cliffs, the view is breathtaking. Another big plus, if you need to work remotely, is that the wi-fi there works really well. Be advised: you won’t find any 3G or 4G in the area.

Where to eat?

At the beach, you will find Carlinhos. Their strength lies on lobster dishes and quality has been maintained over the years.

I also tried a new beach shack restaurant at Ponta Grossa beach, “Barraca do Sidrack”. For those of you who have never been to Ceará, beach shack restaurants under thatched roofs are a trademark of the beach experience there. The menu is usually based on seafood and local dishes and they’re called “Barracas”. They can range from fancy (high prices and celebrated chefs) to really simple (run by the wife of a fisherman cooking whatever her husband caught the day before over a wood fire). But let’s go back to Sidrack’s: you can dine on a platform sitting on stilts over the mangrove and enjoy an amazing view while you eat. I haven’t been there on weekends, but on weekdays it’s simply peaceful.

Photos: personal archive.

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