Well folks, this is it! The big grand finale! So what will this last post cover? It will be about several beaches to the north of Fortaleza in Brazil such as Cumbuco, Taiba, and the best of the best which is my favorite, Paracuru.
After you pass Icarai heading north, the next large town you will come to is Cumbuco. Cumbuco is very different from Icarai. Surfers from the city bought houses and apartments around Icarai and sadly, not a lot of money has been pumped into the economy in Icarai. On the other hand, many Europeans and especially Europeans associated with kiteboarding have bought homes in Cumbuco and they have opened restaurants and other shops in the town. The houses are a far cry from Icarai as well. As you drive through the town, you immediately start to check out the large homes that remain partially hidden behind the tall walls that surround them. As for the waves, they are fun but they break very close to the shoreline. Thankfully, as I stated before about the swell direction, the angle of the coast in town allows the waves to peel off along the shoreline. This transforms the waves from a potential close out into a wave that reels off by the shore. If you drive through the town and before you reach a large hill, on the right there is a resort with a large parking lot. This resort is a good place to catch some waves and also enjoy the perks of the resort and that would be a decent barraca, restrooms, and a pool.
As you head north past Cumbuco, you will run into another town named Taiba. Taiba is also a very popular spot with the windsurfers and kiteboarders. But if you check around, there is a popular surf spot here as well with a decent left.
I saved all of this room to talk up my favorite beach in this region and that is Paracuru. Paracuru is a small town and it has a nice square with a scenic church, shops, restaurants, and a few surf shops. The town is very laid back and relaxing. But for the surfers, a trip through the square reveals two very fun breaks.
As I have written in the previous entries, the time of day you arrive will dictate what will happen during your day at the beach at Paracuru. There are many sections to surf here and they pop up and disappear as the tide rises and falls but two main breaks dominate this area regardless of the tide. The first is Gringos and the second is Ronco do Mar. At low tide, Gringos is really the only game in town. It reminds me of a little Snapper Rocks because the area between Gringos and Ronco do Mar are separated by a field of rocks. The end of the rocks at Gringos turns the lineup into a little faux headland and a cove that the wave peels along. As the tide fattens up, Gringos changes once again. What was once a steep wall becomes a slow, lazy wave that is fun for kids and longboarders. This is when the far section comes to life. This section is called Ronco do Mar. Ronco do Mar is where the surf contests are normally held at and it is a fun wave that peels around the rocky headland section. The interesting thing about this whole area is that when the tide fully fills up; I have seen people surf the rocky section between Gringos and Ronco do Mar. Further into the bay as the tide comes up; small peaks begin to come to life deep within the bay. Many are just small bowls that peel along the shore and the kids take full advantage of these breaks.
One Last Note
Brazil is a great country to visit and the city of Fortaleza has a lot to offer. Some “tourists” sadly will never see what this area offers. That is because they are visiting Brazil not to enjoy the beaches but to exploit the poor women of the area. Sadly they will never see the small simple things that make the people of this country so worth knowing.
What do I like about Brazil? I like that the people in the neighborhood can sit around tables on the side of the street or gather just to drink a few beers in front of the neighborhood bar. The sense of community is huge in Brazil. I also have found that if you are cool and get to know someone, soon you will be introduced to a few more of their friends and your social network will grow and grow. You will never experience this when you are only paying for companionship.
So if you want a different surf trip and you know some basic Portuguese, a visit to the north of Brazil is a great way to spend a vacation. Check out airlines such as TAM or Copa for the best deals!