My Life in Jericoacoara: Camping do Natureza
Welcome to Camping do Natureza, up the ‘street’ from the church on Rua da Ingreja and just across from the lovely and windy Praia da Malhada. This was my home for the roughly five to six weeks I spent living in Jericoacoara Beach. It’s the probably the cheapest place to live in what is generally a very expensive place. There’s a few rooms available, but most people just throw up a tent (R$ 15) or hang their hammock (R$ 10) in the giant Cajú tree in the middle of the plot.
Unlike the average tourists (what in Jeri I’m going to generalize as fat, rich Brazilians or the posh Europeans and kite athletes) that stay in the more expensive pousadas or the several hundred dollar/night hotels, this is a place where you’ll find an eclectic mix of backpackers. Many are semi-permanent residents, likely Argentinian (though there’s plenty of Brazilians and others as well), and hang out in Jericoacoara for weeks on end selling artesian crafts, playing music, selling sandwiches on the beach, or random jobs in reception or restaurants. There’s also a good number of people just in and out, those visiting just a few days. It’s an eclectic crew and I even got myself a free surf lesson from an instructor that was staying here (yeah, I can surf now–yay me! it’s super fun).
I lucked out when I met my friend D… he was already in a room and after a scare around New Year (an Italian girl got murdered here–didn’t you know?!) I moved in with him. Worked out for both of us and I ended up paying only R$ 200 for the entire month of January. There’s a mini-fridge, AC, and TV. I always slept on the bed and D in the hammock. Even though we try keep it clean, there’s always sand everywhere — but I guess that’s what you have to live with when the ‘streets’ are made of beach sand. A lot of people were in and out of that room, D is on couchsurfing and probably was accepting more people than he should. Also we were a semi-mobile tattoo studio sometimes as well.
Camping do Natureza has a four bathrooms, they are passable, but I’d rather not remember them. There’s also a kitchen that’s always crowded and generally lacking in the supplies I’m used to for cooking, but somehow I managed. Most people are on a steady diet of coffee, bread (R$ 1 for 6-8 rolls), and pasta; it’s a stark contrast to my 60-70% vegetable diet. Sometimes I try to explain nutrition to D… he loves my food which is funny because I’m throwing together the simplest stuff and only have three spices (aside from salt) to work with: curry, cumin, and turmeric + hot sauce.
Internet is a nightmare. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and it’s always slow. Just enough to survive, definitely not living and forget watching basically anything that’s video streaming. Most people here think I’m crazy/angry and always on my laptop — I think many of them don’t realize there’s so much more to the internet than FB and I’ve had to explain repeatedly that I work online writing and I need my laptop + internet for this.
It’s maybe funny to think of living in a campsite, but why not? The theme of this place is preguiça — the Brazilian word for laziness as a state of being — and most people spend their time just laying in the hammocks, playing music, cooking, and smoking weed. Despite the mildly annoying cleanliness issues, the place grows on you. There’s always new people to meet, plenty of young/good looking ones, and you can generally find cool and interesting people.
Though I have to say if you are a single girl (especially of the white/blond/blue-eyed type) be careful because everyone will try and hook up with you! I think in Brazil that is a general rule… my best advice, find yourself a gay friend. That’s what I did.