Brazil has this awesome northern coastal line with fantastic waves, consistent full-on blowing wind, that a downwind trip along it would definitely be on the bucket list for any kitesurfer.
- How to do this?
Some people would DIY, where they hire local drivers that would follow you with a 4WD along the whole trip. I have friends who have driver contacts, but I figured with this you’ll still need to find the pousadas, pre-book them, which might be a too much of a headache for a first-timer so I thought I would just go with some companies.
There are a bunch of companies out there, with a simple ‘Brazil downwinder kitesurfing’ keyword search would give you good results.
They usually all start from Cumbuco, easily accesible from the nearby international airport Fortaleza (also LATAM has a lot of domestic flights that goes from Rio or Sao Paulo). Trips usually start from pre-set dates (from September to December, the wind season), and typically last for 10-14 days if it goes all the way to Atins, or 5-7 days that ends up in Jericoacoara, which is about half way.
As I was taking a long holiday so time wasn’t a constrain. A seemingly very reputable company does a IronMan route all the way to Atins in 7 days, I thought it was a bit full-on, so I ended up choosing KiteActive, which aim to cover the whole 750km distance in 14 days, with day 7 and day 14 as down days.
- The group
KiteActive is a Dutch company and without surprise, I found myself the only non-Dutch speaker in our 10+ people crew. But they are extremely friendly and made the whole journey so much fun and enjoyable.
- The itinerary
Each day we start with a briefing shortly after breakfast, then either get going straight from the beach, or hop on the 4WD to the cloest acessible one.
- The highlights
The great thing about doing such a downwind is that from time to time we were able to find flat spots, just a take a break from the huge waves 😉
Crossing the Panaiba river delta was absolutely one of the hightlights aside from the amazing waves that we ride through every day.
On the day we were to do this, the captain in the prep talk went, ‘Eat breakfast like there is no tomorrow, because there are crocodiles in the river’.
I was happy I’m still here writing this… XD
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park
Many articles on kitesurfing destinations would list ‘Brazil Downwinder’ and ‘Lençóis Maranhenses National Park’ as the top X destinations. So since Lençóis Maranhenses is so close to Atins, on our last day (Day 14) we decided to try our luck even though we were told that there might not be much water because it hadn’t been a lot of rain to accumlate the water in those tiny lakes.
On our way there, I checked the local report on precipation and was told that it was the relative dry season and perhaps we would not see any ‘lakes’. We were, however, not disappointed at all.
- The accommodation
Most of the pousadas we used are super nice with pools!
Portuguese is the official language. I tried to pick up as much as I could as I started, but later I realized that you don’t need a lot at all – apart from abogado (Thank you), the most useful ones get down to abacaxi (pineapple) and maracujá (passion fruit). Because, after all, after a few cups of Caipirinha (the national drink), who doesn’t speak Portuguese?
See you next year Brasil!
Picture cred: Simon THE photographer from the most epic team KiteActive.