Fortaleza to Jericoacoara Beach

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So you’re trying to get from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara Beach for some surfing, partying, and relaxing. After all, Jericoacoara is a small paradise with tons to do with its world-class kitesurfing and beautiful beaches. While Fortaleza is about 4.5 hours east by car and around 6.5 hours by bus, getting to Jericoacoara is still quite manageable. I’ve found there isn’t a lot of good information describing this trip, so I hope this article helps you out. Here’s a comprehensive guide covering all your options, especially if you’re trying to save some coin.

While an airport exists in the city of Jijoca just 40 minutes outside of Jericoacoara, the flights are often limited and quite expensive. Most people first fly into Pinto Martins Airport in Fortaleza, the closest city with an international airport. We’re going to rule out the flight for now due to the short supply and high costs.

Fortaleza to Jericoacoara Beach: From the Airport

If you don’t plan on spending any time in Fortaleza, it is possible to leave directly from the airport for Jericoacoara. Here are the following ways to do that:

Option 1: Take the bus

Fretcar at Fortaleza Airport

The most cost-effective way to travel from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara Beach by bus. A company called Fretcar provides services from Fortaleza to Jericoacoara, and back, leaving multiple times each day. Currently, the weekly time schedules and prices for Fortaleza – Pinto Martins to Jericoacoara are:

  • 06:30 – 14:20: R$88,00 or $17.00 USD
  • 14:15 – 22:05: R$88,00 or $17.00 USD
  • 17:30 – 00:50: R$77,70 or $15.00 USD

Note: Saturdays and Sundays usually have more early morning departure options.

Pinto Martins: Fortaleza bus schedule to Jericoacoara

After ticket fees, you will pay just under R$100 ($20.00 USD) at most. First, you will take a modern bus (with AC, wifi, a bathroom, the whole deal) to Jijoca with one or two quick stops in between. Jijoca is the last city before the National Park of Jericoacoara. Here, you will switch into a vehicle called a Jardineira. Essentially, it’s a pick-up truck with seats bolted into the back equipped for 6+ people on the back and the normal amount inside the vehicle. Sometimes a Jardineira is more of a lifted bus without windows. It just depends on the day and how many people are on your bus.

Since there aren’t any paved roads, these 4WD trucks are necessary to take you and your luggage to your destination. There aren’t any paved roads in Jeri; rather, they are just sand. Note: you will be dropped off directly in front of your hotel, hostel, or pousada. It’s a really great service and this part of the trip is only 45 or so minutes. It’s a lot of fun, but be ready to be shaken around quite a bit!

Option 2: Private or shared transport

For those able to spend a little more and wanting to save a couple of hours of travel time, private or shared transport is an option. Many companies are available to take you and your luggage (including sports equipment) to Jeri. The times are flexible, so you avoid having to wait at the airport after you land.

Either a truck or off-road-capable SUV will pick you up and can take 1-8 people. Shared transport (meaning you pay for a seat in the car) starts at R$175. Private transport (meaning you pay for the entire car) is more expensive but makes more sense for larger groups travelling together.

Option 3: Rent a car

There are lots of places to rent a car in Fortaleza. If you choose this option, make sure you get a 4WD-equipped vehicle. While arriving in Jijoca is like driving anywhere else, the drive from Jijoca to Jericoacoara doesn’t have paved roads. You are driving on the beach, around dunes, totally on sand. While cars are legally allowed to drive to Jericoacoara, only choose this option if you have offroad driving experience. Lots of tourists come here and get their cars stuck – don’t be part of the problem.

Once you get to Jeri, you will have to park your car at the parking station before the entrance. There is a daily fee of about R$15. Only registered cars/buggies associated with tourism are allowed to drive through the actual city (these vehicles have special red license plates). 

If you plan on staying directly in Jeri, we recommend you forego the car and take a bus or private transport. If you are staying in nearby areas such as Preá where you can drive more freely, perhaps renting a car may be worth it. Keep in mind: taking a buggy ride to Preá or other nearby areas will cost you less than R$20 roundtrip.

Fortaleza to Jericoacoara Beach: Leaving from Downtown Fortaleza

If you choose to stay in Fortaleza some nights, leaving from the airport may not be the most practical option.

Fortunately, companies offering both private and shared transport will pick you up from most places in the downtown area. Additionally, if you rent a car from a place outside of the airport, simply start the journey from there.

The bus service Fretcar also has two additional pick-up locations in Fortaleza:

Recommended Option: Beira Mar

  • 07:45 – 14:20: R$88,00
  • 15:30 – 22:05: R$88,00

Avenida Beira Mar is a road that runs along the beach in downtown Fortaleza. There is a boardwalk here and tons of hotels and restaurants. It’s a very popular nightlife spot.

After you buy your ticket online, you will need to go to the Fretcar “office” to print your ticket. Where is this office? Where do you wait for the bus? All valid questions and this information was nearly impossible to find online before this post. 

Where the bus will pick you up: Right in front of Hotel Praiano located at Avenida Beira Mar, 2800. There are no signs. People start showing up about 30-45 minutes before the bus arrives, so if you get there and nobody is around, don’t worry… you are in the right place!

Where you print your ticket: Not in the same place. Weirdly enough, you need to walk east 5 minutes down the road to an air-conditioned box that serves as the office of Fretcar. It’s across the street, closer to the boardwalk. On the other side of Avenida Beira Mar, you will see a pharmacy called “Farmácias 19”. You are in the right spot! Go inside the office, print your ticket, then go back to Hotel Praiano and wait for the bus.

Last option: João Thomé

There is a rodoviário (bus station) located here. It’s not a super safe area at night (prone to pickpocketing). If you are travelling with luggage, we recommend going to Beira Mar or the airport to pick up the bus. If you do choose this location to leave from Fortaleza, here is the time schedule.

  • 07:00 – 14:20: R$91,05
  • 07:30 – 15:15: R$76,50
  • 10:00 – 17:10: R$87,75
  • 14:45 – 22:05: R$91,05
  • 18:00 – 00:50: R$80,75
  • 18:30 – 01:40: R$87,75
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