At the end of a long day of exploring Brazil’s beaches, Coen and I are in search of a place to spend the night. We drive onto Tatajuba Beach and see the sky filled with a dozen colorful kite sails: with wind force six the skillful kitesurfers put on a fantastic show of sailing at enormous speeds including spectacular jumps.
We are in for some weeks of magic!
The Stylishly and Decorative Pousada Portal do Vento
As we chat with the owners of the kitesurf-equipment rental place we meet Marcel and Sandra, and an invitation follows.
“We also have a guesthouse right up the dune, why don’t you come for a drink tonight?”
A full moon lights up our path up the dune. When we walk through the back door we enter a different world. The fierce wind no longer blows sand in my hair or chafes my lower legs; there is just the pleasant rustling of the foliage of palm trees, cashew trees, tamarind trees and other vegetation that characterize this white sand garden.
This is not a guesthouse where everything was bulldozed to erect some boring cement construction. On the contrary, the pousada was designed using the natural surroundings as a base and is constructed with local materials. We fall for it immediately. Some two meters up from the ground is the swimming pool and as it’s lit but nobody is using it, the smooth, clear-blue surface surrounded by a natural stone floor and woodwork, as well as a rustically designed lounge at the back has something magical about it.
As we walk up to the restaurant we notice two cabins on stilts (so-called palafitas) which have the advantage of a great view and a continuous breeze throughout the night. There are two other types of cabins, which we will later learn are called the kite houses and bungalows. In total the guesthouse can accommodate some twenty guests.
Dinner, Lunch and Breakfast
Soft voices lead us to the open restaurant on stilts constructed of Brazil’s massaranduba hardwood and with a roof made of the decorative carnauba palm leaves. A couple of visitors sit in a higher-situated lounge at the back of the restaurant with comfortable sofas, which is the place to socialize or read up on kitesurfing from magazines and books that lie there.
“Dinnertime!” Marcel calls out. “Are you ready for some chicken saté (chicken on skewers) with peanut sauce?” he asks us. We don’t have to think about that one; we’d love some. Marcel varies his menus using recipes from European, Asian, and Latin American cuisines. Dinner is served around eight and is a set meal for all guests. If you have special requests because you are e.g. a vegetarian, Marcel will prepare an alternative.
Lunch, on the other hand, is à la carte. “Kitesurfing is partly related to high tide, especially for beginners, so some days nobody has time for lunch. Others go on day trips to the surrounding villages and will eat there, hence the menu for lunch,” Marcel explains.
What absolutely love extensive, high-quality breakfast buffet: freshly baked, whole-grain bread, homemade jam and peanut butter (warning: it’ll be tough, if not impossible, to have to eat processed peanut butter again after your vacation). Then there are fresh fruit juices, delicious cakes, and a choice of cheese, cold cuts and cereals. It’s a great start for an active day out on the beach or in the ocean.
Kitesurfing and Other Activities
There are one-day down-winders (10-15 kilometers of kitesurfing along the coast with a buggy following you) and there is a nine-day kite safari for experienced kitesurfers. Both activities end here at Pousada Portal do Vento. For beginners there is the fifteen-hour kitesurfing course under the guidance of a qualified instructor from Kite World Wide who speaks English.
Kitesurfers aren’t the only guests at the pousada. “We get quite a few couples who like to get away from the city and to relax, enjoying the peaceful and tranquil scenery,” Sandra explains. She touches on an important topic here: if you want to enjoy Tatajuba and Pousada Portal do Vento you’d better like the outback.
The only way to get here is by buggy or four-wheel drive and the trip will take you through and over dunes. Depending on when and from where you travel, the trip includes one to three ferry crossings. The adventure has started long before you arrive at Portal do Vento.
On request Sandra and Marcel organize other adventures for you:
- Buggy trip to Lagoa Grande, another place to kitesurf.
- Buggy trip to sweet-water Lagoa da Torta for lunch, a restaurant run by a local community that serves excellent grilled fish. Or to drink a caipirinha while lazing in hammocks that are hanging in the water.
- Day trip to the beach town of Jericoacoara and fishing port of Camocin (great place to stroll about the market).
- Day trips by buggy through the dunes, stopping at a variety of landscapes for pictures or to sandboard down the sand dunes of Funil.
- A boat trip to watch different kinds of sea horses in the mangroves.
- Sandra is a yoga teacher and can give yoga classes on request. She also gives massages.
The rooms have different prices depending on the season and the level of comfort (roughly between 150 and 300 reais per night for 2 persons, including breakfast; rates for long-term stay are negotiable). Comfort varies from cold or hot showers to aircon or a fan. All rooms have an electronic safe. The guesthouse has laundry service and WIFI but there is no TV.
Other practicalities are:
- As yet the Portal do Vento does not have a credit card system; you can only pay cash (and Brazilians with cheques too).
- On request the pousada can arrange transfers from and to the airport in Fortaleza (4-hour drive).
- The top season for kitesurfing is August-January. Tip: bring small-sized kites (6-9). The typical European-size kites (10-14) are too big for the consistently strong winds here (avg. 6 Beaufort).
- You can book a course or rent kitesurfing equipment when booking your accommodations.
- Reservations are recommended as the guesthouse is often full, especially between August and January.
- The guesthouse is closed during March/April/May.
- Reservations are recommended.
- To learn more, check out Portal do Vento’s website.
- Edited to add, 2017: Marcel and Sandra no longer run this guesthouse, but Kite World Wide does.