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  • Writer's pictureDelphine

Discover and Travel in the Brazilian Nordeste, from South to North, from Pipa to Sao Luis, through Beaches, Cliffs, and Dunes. Our Recommendations:


Les falaises autour de Parajuru ceara nordeste brésil
Parajuru Beaches Photo©MikaelTeneur

The southern part of Fortaleza remains largely unknown to foreign travelers, yet it is a popular destination for Brazilians from the states of Rio Grande do Norte and southern Ceará. Meanwhile, the North, with Jericoacoara and the Lençóis, has become a highly touristic and international spot.


Having traveled extensively in the region for the past twelve years and following requests from my favorite clients, I decided to share my travel experiences in this area with you. Indeed, there are many things to know and understand.

My experience has taught me that organizing a trip to these remote areas requires a lot of patience and persistence. Professionals like drivers, guides, and pousada managers are not very administratively efficient. Many struggle with writing, so planning an itinerary in writing is challenging... Mandatory schooling is quite recent in Brazil, and small villages lack resources in this regard.

Moreover, the preferred mode of communication is oral via WhatsApp. I recommend having this application on your phone in Brazil; without it, almost nothing is possible.


Regarding time, it is very relative here. A month may pass, and despite numerous follow-ups, you might not get a clear and definite response. And yet, I know the people involved and speak Brazilian Portuguese (from the Nordeste).


Mind you, I am not criticizing; on the contrary, it is all part of the charm of this region. Time flows gently here, allowing for conversations, encounters, and unforgettable moments. Brazilians are attentive to others, especially in these remote areas. We enjoy the beautiful weather, breathtaking landscapes, their smiles, and their kindness. And that is priceless!

We are far, very far, from the Westernized lifestyle where everything is a race, with heads bowed. This is what I love. Take a bus or enter a shop, smile, and immediately a conversation starts. I have often experienced this evident mutual aid here. As a buggy driver, it is not uncommon for them to break down, but it is even rarer to be left stranded for long.



How Travel Agencies Operate


Given the slow passage of time, it becomes clear why travel agencies might take significant commissions to handle unexpected situations, especially since prices are not always stable. Not to mention the exchange fees and related taxes between intermediaries. Indeed, French agencies often work through Brazilian or French agencies based in Brazil to design these itineraries, ultimately multiplying intermediaries and taxes.

This is why I decided to offer my services, eliminating all intermediaries by working directly with the different parties and bypassing the 20% French VAT. Here, we operate at 8% within my Brazilian business.

In short, you will save money.

We will build your itinerary together, in a personalized manner, hand in hand.



Understanding Pricing in the Nordeste


Aside from major cities like Natal, Fortaleza, and Sao Luis, and somewhat more developed towns like Pipa, Aracati, and Jijoca, the villages in the region remain mostly isolated and underdeveloped, which adds to their charm.


Dune des Lençois Marenhense Nordeste Brésil
Dune of Lençóis Maranhenses Photo©DelphineGamblin

However, isolated villages also mean less Western comfort, more difficulty reaching them, and less choice, often resulting in higher prices.

Think of the entire Lençóis region, where the supply is limited despite high demand, and pousada and transport prices are often "exorbitant." This is due to high demand and the difficulty of bringing in materials for construction, food, essential goods, fuel, and qualified staff to host you.


Voyage 4x4 nordeste Brésil

This region also has very few public transport options, making private transportation more sought after and thus more expensive than elsewhere. Moreover, there are few drivers and well-maintained vehicles of this price. Note that a new 4x4 in Brazil costs around 300,000 reais.



Expect to pay between 1,300 and 1,500 reais for a day of private transport, plus potential ferry crossings and specific visits.

Consider that your driver also needs to eat, pay for fuel, vehicle maintenance (which deteriorates quickly due to sand, salt, humidity, and lack of roads), and return to their starting point. When following you for several days, they also need to book their hotels and return to their starting point.

Traveling in the Nordeste is not "cheap," but it remains very affordable compared to European prices.


Admit that discovering the Brazilian Nordeste by 4x4 is the best way, considering the often very damaged roads and the lack of public transport, like trains.

Buses are starting to develop and modernize. For long journeys between major cities, they can be very interesting.

These states are also preserved from mass construction and tourism, unlike southern Brazil. Their beaches are still wild; it would be a shame not to enjoy these majestic panoramas that resemble the beginning of the world, and this, before it develops too much.



We have created several itineraries between beaches, cliffs, dunes, mangroves, and crystal-clear waters, each of which can be personalized.

Les falaises proche de Sao Miguel de Gostoso à marée basse dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The cliffs near São Miguel do Gostoso Photo©DelphineGamblin

Accommodation


This will depend entirely on you. In Brazil, there are all possible price ranges with a choice of comfort that ranges from very simple to grand luxury, often forgetting the intermediate option, which we Europeans can appreciate: the small charming hotel where you are received in a personalized manner and where you eat well. There are few in this region, unfortunately. But, we have a few addresses to share with you.


Pousada Casa Santa Maria Tatajuba Nordeste Brésil
Pousada Casa Santa Maria Tatajuba

You will more easily find Brazilian-style pousadas, which are naturally the majority, where comfort and decoration are not a priority, but they often offer advantageous rates around 400 reais.

You are very well received; Brazilians are proud to host foreigners.

It is in the 600 to 800 reais range that you will find charming small hotels.


From 1,500 reais, you will find rather flashy, comfortable hotels, often lacking authenticity but very popular with the new Brazilian bourgeoisie. Regarding Brazilian hotel clients, expect animation. Brazilians are extremely warm, they easily invite you to share their meal. They are also very family-oriented, most having at least four children. They love music, and it is not uncommon to share their musical enthusiasm. This is Brazil, as we imagine it, centered around the party.

Note, the more remote the village, the harder it is to find reasonably priced accommodation for the comfort offered.

Therefore, it is often difficult to choose for you, but among those we know, we can offer smart choices.



Food


Langoustes frites à l'ail plage du Nordeste Parajuru
Garlic fried lobsters

Brazil is not historically a country where gastronomy is emphasized, even less so in the Nordeste. Partly because the Portuguese colonists had limited gastronomy initially, and the natives had little dietary variety. Brazil is thus a very young culinary country, although in the South and major cities, you can start to truly enjoy it.

However, since you will mainly travel along the Nordeste beaches, you will find delicious fresh fish from the day's catch.

It is advisable to ask for it grilled (na brasa or grelhado), without salt (sem sal), and not overcooked (mal passado).

Brazilians have the unfortunate tendency to heavily salt and overcook meats to a cardboard taste. Fried fish is not a good idea either. Historically, and until recently, there were no refrigerators in these small villages. Meat was preserved in salt and cooked thoroughly to avoid poisoning. This cultural trait remains. We recommend grilled fish if possible, with regular cooking checks.

In the southern Nordeste, you will find many shrimp and delicious lobsters.

Pour les végétariens, c'est un peu difficile. Il vaudra mieux être flexivore lors de votre voyage.

La viande brésilienne est très présente, mais nous vous recommandons celle venant d'Argentine qui est excellente. Les restaurants qui la servent, font souvent plus attention à se cuisson.


petit déjeuner au Castelo Vendom parajuru nordeste brésil
Breakfast at Castelo Vendom

For vegetarians, it is challenging. Flexitarianism is advisable during your trip.


Brazilian meat is prevalent, but we recommend Argentinian meat, which is excellent. Restaurants serving it often pay more attention to cooking.

To compensate for the lack of balanced meals, Brazilian breakfasts offer a multitude of exotic fruits. You will also find eggs and tapioca, a small manioc and coconut pancake similar to a Breton crepe, but richer. Ask for it without sugar, if possible.

One thing to note: desserts are very, very sweet. You really have to like sugar! No bread either. Well, there is "pao frances," which is just a ball of air.

That said, a few villages have hotels and restaurants emphasizing gastronomic food. Considering the number of Europeans opening establishments in the region in recent years, the culinary scene is improving. However, sourcing ingredients (some are still unavailable) and creating refined recipes is no small feat. You will need to be fair.

That said, traveling to other countries is not about finding the same as at home.

Prices range from 40 to 180 reais per person per dish.



Guides and Drivers


They are mostly Brazilian. You will find French guides, but at French prices.

Of course, not speaking Portuguese, you might lose in exchanges with your companions, but you will gain in discovery and authenticity. Moreover, with automatic translation apps, communication is easy.

And then, the landscapes speak for themselves. Sometimes, it's better to stay silent, just contemplate, fill your eyes, and return with all that beneficial energy.

Because the Nordeste is above all that: incredible energy that will not leave you indifferent!



History


History is very limited in the Nordeste. Its largest city, Fortaleza, is very recent. I invite you to read this article on its history in french.

However, you will find old colonial towns like Aracati and Sao Luis and former hippie villages like Canoa Quebrada.

You will find more to know and share with French guides in Rio, where history is richer.



Must-See Places


It’s best to let the images speak.


Les falaises du Ceara entre Parajuru et Redonda. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The cliffs of Ponta Grossa in Ceará Photo©DelphineGamblin
Passage dans les dunes de Rosado dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The Rosado dunes
La plage de Soledade à marée basse dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The lagoon of Soledade Photo©DelphineGamblin
La plage de Sao Miguel de Gostoso dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The vast beach of São Miguel do Gostoso Photo©DelphineGamblin
La plage de Soledade en arrivant par la rivière dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The translucent waters of Galinhos Photo©DelphineGamblin
La plage de Tibau à marée basse dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
The beach of Tibau do Sul Photo©DelphineGamblin
Le débarquadère de Galinhos dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
Arriving by river in Galinhos Photo©DelphineGamblin
Rio Preguiças vers Atins. Le Castelo Vendom organise votre séjour au Brésil
Rio Preguiças towards Atins Photo©DelphineGamblin
Delta de Parnaiba, envol des ibis . Le Castelo Vendom organise votre séjour au Brési
Parnaíba Delta. Flight of the Ibis Photo©DelphineGamblin
Les dunes de Camocim. Le Castelo Vendom organise votre séjour au Brési
The dunes of Camocim Photo©DelphineGamblin
Sur les falaises de Pipa Nordeste Brésil
The cliffs of Pipa photo@DelphineGamblin

Parc des Lençois Maranhenses. Le Castelo Vendom organise votre séjour au Brésil
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park. Photo©DelphineGamblin
Entre lagon et mer Parajuru ceara brésil
Voici la traduction en anglais : Walks on the beaches of Parajuru Photo©DelphineGamblin
Les eaux trasnslucide de Maracajau dans le Rio Grande do Norte. Le Castelo Vendom vous organise votre séjour
Swimming in the crystal-clear waters of Maracajaú

Discover and travel in the Brazilian Nordeste.


We organize your personalized itinerary from South to North.

Feel free to contact me by email or on my WhatsApp (phone number displayed below).



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