Friday, December 9, 2011

On the Road - Jericoacoara (Pt. 1)

bougainvilla at Pousada Papaya
We've talked about Jericoacoara before on Flavors of Brazil, but we've just returned from a long weekend at the idyllic beach resort with the long, long name (official name: Jijoca de Jericoacoara) and thought the an update and review was in order. Previous posts about Jeri (unofficial name) can be found here and here and here.
The last hour's transportation to Jericoacoara

It was a three-day trip getaway Flavors of Brazil's home in Fortaleza, a perfect amount of time for Jeri. Getting to Jericoacoara is a two-step process - first four hours in a normal, comfortable bus on well-maintained roads, followed by an hour in an open bus/truck with zero suspension and with modified transmission and tires to make its away across the dunes and down the beach to Jeri. Once that vehicle arrives in "downtown" Jeri, it's just a short five to ten minute walk along streets made of sand to any of Jeri's hotels and pousadas (inns).

We stayed at an absolutely charming small pousada called Pousada Papaya, run by an ex-carioca (resident of Rio de Janeiro) who has traded the bustle of that metropolis for Jeri's tranquility. The pousada has six or seven rooms on two levels, a beautiful small garden with a small but wonderfully refreshing fresh-water pool and a breezy open verandah where breakfast was served.
Pousada Papaya

Breakfast is invariably included in the price of accommodation in Brazil, whether the accommodation in question is a five-star business hotel, a luxury resort, a simple inn, or even a roadside overnight stop. And although it's not 100% assured, in almost all cases the breakfast will be well-prepared and offer a huge number of choices and options - enough to keep one full all day if one desires. There's coffee and tea of course, and always a choice of fresh fruit juices. Fresh fruit is also available - at minimum something like papaya and pineapple, but often including five or six different tropical fruits. Cereals, granolas and yogurts are on offer as well. Bread options include sandwich-style bread, usually white and wholewheat, and crusty French rolls. Butter and margarine are available for the rolls as well as one or two types of sliced cheeses and cured meats. Hot dishes often include scrambled eggs and a bizarre mixture of chunks of mystery-meat hot dogs in a ketchup and mustard sauce. In fancier hotels there are often egg and tapioca stations where these ingredients are cooked to order. On the sweet pastry side there are always a variety of cakes and tortes - coffee cakes for sure, but also such non-breakfast cakes as chocolate cake or carrot cake. Sometimes cookies can be found too - the only problem is finding the room for a cookie or two at the end of breakfast. All these items are served buffet-style and repeat visits to the buffet are usual.

Pousada Payapa's breakfast buffet was more limited than in some bigger hotels, but that's only because with a small number of rooms, it's impossible to cook or serve huge numbers of options. The food was very fresh, the cakes were inventive and included a savory custard-cake with hearts of palm and raisins that was scrumptions, and the coffee was just the way Brazilians like it - very hot and very strong. As always, there was hot milk available to make cafe au lait, which is the common breakfast coffee drink in Brazil.

For the quality of the accommodation, the friendliness of the staff and the high standards of the breakfast buffet the price of Pousada Papaya was surprisingly reasonable. Including tax and service charge the price was R$115 per day for a double air-conditioned room for two. At current exchange rates that's about USD $64.00.

In upcoming posts, we'll focus on the food and drink scene in Jericoacoara.

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