There and Back Again: A Visit to Canoa Quebrada

It was around 7:15 am when I caught the first bus heading to the Papicu Terminal near my friend’s place in Fortaleza.  From here it would take 2 more hours to actually get out of the city to a hitchhiking spot.  Bus transport here is as horrible as LA, worse because they’re often jam packed with people.  I barely squeezed onto the final bus I was taking out to Pedras (line 621 from Messejana Terminal), hoping to jump off close to BR-116 to hitch towards Canoa Quebrada, a popular beach village just under 200 km away.

canoa quebrada

Mostly I was interested in hanging out in Canoa Quebrada for the day, but it served as a double test for how to hitchhike out from this end of town, since I’d have to go the same route to get to Natal. Usually you don’t get to test out spots like that, but I thought I’d take advantage of the opportunity without having to lug along my giant backpack.  I had to walk some ways down from where I hopped off the bus and search around a bit for a spot, but once I did find a place a ride appeared quite quickly.

beach umbrellas, canoa quebrada, brazil

Three lifts later and I was heading onto the beach from the cute cobblestoned streeted village.  It was a Tuesday afternoon so naturally the place was fairly empty, though there were still a good number of people to be found on the beachside restaurants and underneath the umbrellas.   This was certainly a much milder version of beach village than Jericoacoara, just a few kitesurfers, some people riding horses, and rickety sailboats heading out for tours in hopes of spotting turtles.

canoa quebrada, barcos, boats

The place is littered with old and picturesque boats — perhaps the broken canoes that give the place its name.

castle beach house, canoa quebrada, brasil

I climbed up into the hills amongst the houses perched overlooking the coean, walking to the far end where a cool red and yellow passarela wound along the cliff’s edge.  Almost all of the houses are super cute, many with palm thatched roofs.  There’s also large pousadas, with people sunbathing beside the pools and sipping drinks from the bar.  This part of Brazil is really perfect for doing nothing but hopping from beach to beach, drinking caipirinhas along the way.

canoa quebrada passarela

On my way out, I decided to check out the center.  There’s a street called Broadway, lined by a stretch of beach souvenir and clothing shops as well as an impressive array of restaurants and bars.  I imagine the place is quite happening in the evening hours when the beach closes down and I mildly regretted that I was planning on heading back to Fortaleza.

canoa quebrada broadway

Having spent absolutely no money to arrive, a savings of at least 50 reais, I rewarded myself by buying an acarajé, a traditional food from Bahia, since I’d been craving something spicy.  I ate it while I walked towards the end of town to catch a ride.  My slight fears of being stuck somewhere in the dark were totally unfounded and I got a lift first to a gas station outside the closest town, Aracati, and within a minute of getting out was already in another vehicle heading to Fortaleza.

acarajé, brazilian food, canoa quebrada

The guy dropped me off right at my friend’s building, saving me the obnoxious bus transfer/ride nightmare I’ve come to associate with all Brazilian cities.  He even offered me a ride to Natal the next day as he was returning directly to Recife — we’ll see if that pans out.

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