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Travel report from NE-Brazil, Cabedelo/Jacaré

By doina — last modified Apr 19, 2007 01:46 PM

Published: 2007-04-19 13:46:58
Countries: Brazil

If one comes first time to Brazil and Jacaré is the first stop, we found it very impressive just to start with the local transport to go to see the nearby places.

Jacaré itself of course you can discover by foot from the rio to the sea on the other side of the dam. First days it's nice to see the sunset with the band playing the bolero but soon one gets quite sick of the cacophony since every restaurant plays its own sunset-music instead to agree to one good music for all. The small fishermen's village west of the Marina along the river has one mainstreet, here you find also small supermarkets, baker (in front of the church), kiosk for cigarettes, only 1R$ the pack and if you keep going you come out at the train-station too.

Take the train for only 0,50 R$ to Cabedelo and enjoy the market with all the tropical fruit and vegetables, many unknown to us, since not imported to Europe. One can also visit the old fort Catalina.

Same train other direction to Jao Pessoa, same price, visit the small historic center with its monastery, see the lake downtown and have a snack in one of the pavilons in the park there. Walk from the lake direction TV-Tour to the Botanic-and Zoologic-Garden, entrance-fee 1R$. Is a real jungle. Savage Macaco-monkeys are jumping in the trees (they do so in Jacaré too), little cutias run wild around and the cages and animals are well kept, surprising for a poor country.

Ride the same train to its last station Santa Rita also only 0,50R$ but just stand up in the train, so you can look out of the window and discover how people live along the paraiba river and enjoy the scenery of the vegetation. Santa Rita is a small town with no special attraction but one nice church.

Take the bus from Jacaré (bus stop near supermarket Litoral) to Tambau Touristresor, there is a Tourist office, Car-Rental, small Shopping-Center, Bars/Restaurants, Hotel, Beach. Bus cost 1,75R$. From there goes another bus to Cabo Branco (Lighthouse) and further on to other nice beaches out of the city area or take a collective taxi (private drivers, car has no taxi sign, they stop also at bus stations and take the same fee as the bus).

Another nice trip is to go to Forto Velho in the rio Paraiba, go by train to Cabedelo and then by "Bus-Ferry" to the island. There are two ferry stations in Cabedelo the big one with the car ferry and the small one with an recycled bus put on a wooden boat converted to a Ferry. Both ferries you find easy by leaving the train-station on the far end when you arrive and walk along the wall to your left and houses to your right till you find the sign for the ferry between the houses. The big car-ferry comes after the row of houses at the end. Ferry fee about 2,50R$ one way. To Forto Velho goes only the bus-ferry.

Another day go to Costinha. 0,80 R$ pp one way with the car - or bus-ferry, 1,50R$ with the "bus"-ferry. There is a whale museum which is closed! But the beach and the little village is worth seeing. If you are good on foot keep walking about 45 min. to the church Nstr. Senora da Guia, you see the sign, follow it. Stop on the way and talk to the friendly village people (if you know the language a bit helps) it's pleasant. Make sure you arrive at 11.00h in the morning at the church, then it will be open, because the big tourist places send their buggy-tours there and the guardian with the key arrives for them to open the church. The church is up hill, but only a short way up hill, don't worry. After the visit with a nice view over the sea come down the hill back in the village to the bar with the billard table and take a bus from there to Lucena 1,50 R$ pp one way and have a nice day on deserted beach or near a beach bar. We also asked for a "private" taxi which took us to the Mantee (Peixe boi)(Seekuh). It takes nearly 1,5h over dirt road but with stunning scenery, jungle, fields, forest, mangrove, herds of bulls as far as you can look, sugarcane and cocos plantatations and at the end the reserve for the Mantee. At time they have 2 animals in captivity to see, they take you with a canoe to them, since they live into the rivermouth of Rio Tinto. Entrence fee 4R$ pp. The privat taxi from Lucena to the peixe boi and back direct to the ferry-boat was 50R$. Needs a bit of dealing. One guy wanted 70R$ start from Costinha Ferry Terminal... But when you see the job the driver had to do plus the fuel and suffering of the car on this road then you will pay easy, it's well worth it. You can go with 4 people in a taxi for this price, the driver makes the 5th person.

It is maybe better to see one day the mantees and come another time to enjoy the beaches and walk to the church, all in one day is a bit hectic, since it is already at 18h dark and by then it's better to be back at the ferry terminal in Costinha. In Lucena we had a nice regional meal in one of the mainstreet restaurants. Selfservice from the buffet, 4R$ p plate, drinks extra. Forgot the name of the restaurant, but it was on corner of a crossroad, righthand if you walk down the street. From the bus stop you turned to your left into this street. The restaurant comes shortly after the bicycle-repair-workshop on your right. The owner of this restaurant helped us to find the private taxi.

Baia da Traiçao, here is an Indian Reservation to visit. It's on the other side of the Rio Tinto, where the mantees were to visit. If you are lucky and in time you may find a canoe which brings you over the river, but the taxi will charge you for waiting for you to come back! Otherwise go another day by train to Joa Pessoa then from the big bus station (long distance buses) you take a bus right down to Traiçao. Bus fee 11R$ pp one way. With more people is worthwhile to rent a private taxi for a day to go there. The normal Taxi asks 100R$ from Jacaré with the private taxi one can do for about half price for 4 Person. Before you go there by bus get from the bus station in Joa Pessoa the actual timetable in advance, it varies. But there is always a bus very very early in the morning to take and late afternoon the last one to come back. One can also plan to stay overnight in a Pausada if one likes (Price ??? I heard prices go up to 180R$ p room... better find out before, see tourist-office, make telefone call, see local internet sites for these matters).

At low tide one can go to the famous red sandbar on Cabedelos-seaside, one set over by local canoe (watertaxi 5R$). On weekends it's a special meetingpoint for the local boats.

With your own dinghy it's nice to discover the river round the Jacaré-anchorage behind the islands Stuart and Restinga. On Restinga they shall do guides tours with a biologist, appointments can be made in Joao Pessoa Travel agencies.

And here what you should not do: In case you took already the bus from Jacaré to the supermarket Carrefour or Bom Preço or Shopping Maneira you will have noticed shortly before Carrefour on the riverside of the road the big portal to the national forest. This is a trap, there is nothing to visit, after ca. 300 m comes prohibited area with no entrance to the public. There is an organisation which takes care of maltreated wild animals and reproduces rare plants. We spoke to the Vet. It's impossible to visit, the animals suffer already too much stress. The forests neighbourhood is concidered most dangerous. The Vet was surprised we arrived unharmed at his station, having passed the 300 m of national forest. He said he will go only by car with all doors well closed. The local responsables are suposed to close the main gatel to the public but nobody moves so the gangsters still hide out in the forest.

General infos: If you get sick and suffer illness like Dengue Fever (from Mosquito bite), diarrhoea, vomiting etc., go to the Cabedelo Hospital do Maternidad, (also for men!) there they help you with free ambulance service, one pays only the medicine at the pharmacy.

Info for all the German-Sailors who are Trans-Ocean-Members: you find our Stützpunktleiter Christoph on the mainstreet going from the restaurants on Jacaré riverside toward the sea after few meters in that house which announces "Ferienwohnung zu vermieten", if you look well, you see the TO-sign on the housewall. His wife Rosa speaks only portugese. If he is not in the house, he will be on his catamaran behind island Stuart, there you go with your dinghy. He owns also land there just in front of his mooring.

Who wants to spend a lot more money, can hire a car, stay overnight out and discover sightseeings in the more far away country. See the tourist office and travel agency for that.

We hope this information is helpful to future visitors and they will enjoy Jacaré and surroundings as much as we did. Shortly we will be off to discover Natal next.

Best regards

Andrea (German)

SY KILMENY Jacaré, Febr./Mar. 2007