ARE YOU READY FOR A VACATION IN ICARAIZINHO?
BELOW ARE LOADS OF DETAILS THAT YOU'LL WANT TO KNOW IN ORDER TO HELP MAKE FOR A SMOOTH VACATION EXPERIENCE. MAIN TOPICS INCLUDE:
It's always nice to pack light, but there are a few things we don't want you to forget. Since attire is casual, the usual uniform being a pair of shorts and (sometimes) a shirt, and the climate is warm and dry, you don't need bring much. Pack the usual beach wears along with something for dining and dancing in the evenings. A light wind jacket is an option but not necessary. There are a number of small markets in town that carry most of the basics (I stress basic), as well as sunscreen, film, etc. However, items such as these can come at a higher cost and a lower quality, so better to bring them with you. Bring plenty of cash and do not count on your credit cards as they are unlikely to be accepted anywhere outside of the Vela Icaraizinho Windsurfing Center and a few higher-priced restaurants. Here is our list of things to bring:
!!!IMPORTANT!!! US and Canadian citizens will need both a CURRENT PASSPORT and TOURIST VISA !!! (guests from other countries should check with their airline or consulate)
- A printout of your email invoice confirming full payment and this Tips & Facts webpage.
- Harness, long sleeved lycra, booties, gloves, surf-hat. You WILL NOT need a wetsuit!
- Sunglasses and chums, a visor or hat.
- LOTS AND LOTS OF High SPF (30+) waterproof sunscreen lotion (oil makes board slippery)
- PFD and/or helmet (if desired) Even your GPS or helmet-cam!
- Maybe a light jacket for evenings.
- Extra spending money (see "Currency/credit cards" below)
- Paperback books for flights and evenings (Our staff appreciates current newspapers / magazines - especially windsport related!)
- Ball-point pen, helpful for any airport forms, customs declarations, etc.)
- Daypack and/or hydration pak Camelback for day-trips/excursions
- Light jacket or sweater (the evenings can get a little cool, especially in the windy season)
- Insect repellent (aerosols are not allowed on the planes)
- Stout shoes for day-hiking
- More sunscreen. Really. Pack it.
- Ear Plugs (a good idea if you are a light sleeper and if you're practicing those forward loops!)
- Aspirin or Ibuprofen for muscle aches.
- Medical tape for tired hands.
- Did we mention suncreen? STRONG sunscreen???
What We Have:
We do not have any store in Icaraizinho at the moment and there are no other surf shops nearby by so don't forget anything you need at home!
Icaraizinho, or “Icarai de Amontada” in it's official name, is a beach located on the Northeast coast of Brazil, in the state of Ceara, 190 Km from Fortaleza, more precise at the West Coast of Ceara State, this little village it’s not yet known by common tourists, but just discovered by kite and windsurfers whom have found this spot, where on-shore wind blows around 20 – 30 knots per day, during almost the whole year.
As there is not much of a night life, what you can expect to do is sailing, go fishing with the natives and rest under the coconut palms. It’s the ultimate getaway-from-it-all vacation! A reason for why this village is still very primitive and its tourism not much developed, is the restrict access. You can reach the spot by vehicles 4x4, especially the last 50 Km, since there is no asphalt, only dirt road
(If you are interested in more nightlife, consider only a few days here then the rest of the trip in Jericoacoara.)
Portuguese is spoken throughout the entire country, and it is useless to try to use any of your Spanish as a substitute. You will find that most of the staff and many of the other guests speak English, but as of now do now expect most locals in this remote village to have anything more than the most basic "Hello!", "Where are you from?", "You windsurf?" expression. In the cities and in smaller villages you may find that bringing a translation-dictionary will be quite useful.
The sun always shines in Icaraizinho. During the windy season, expect perfect blue skies playing host to tiny white fluffy clouds that carry no rain or bad weather. If the rare an truly unexpected does occur, there may be an occasional sprinkle, but the only rain really comes when the wind has packed up and gone during the months of February through April. Temperatures average around 80 or higher during the day.
Water and Health:
Plan on drinking bottled water only, and lots of it throughout the day. There is a small local pharmacy and a clinic with a doctor for minor ailments and injuries. Jijoca (1.5 hour drive) has a small hospital for more major injuries. Fortaleza has a number of hospitals for assistance in more serious matters.
Brazilian currency is the Real or Reais (pronounced hay-eyes). As mentioned before, cash is king in Jeri, and this is all the more true in Icaraizinho. It is a good idea to get money at an ATM or Exchange Teller at the airport or in Fortaleza. There are very few places to exchange money in Icaraizinho, however the exchange rate isn’t as good as in Fortaleza. so plan to exchange at least a few hundred $ into Reais beforehand. Checks are accepted in some places, but not all. It is best to have local currency before getting there. Try to get small bills, since it’s sometimes difficult getting change.
Local voltage is 220V. To plug in any 110V electronics you’ll need a voltage converter, which you can find at any electronics stores such as Radio Shack, Circuit City, etc.
Email / Phone Services:
As of now there really is not any internet connection available in Icaraizinho, though we are working to change this soon. The small pousada at Les Alizes has a phoone available to make calls using your MCI and AT&T calling-cards can, and there are some phones within the village. Overall, make plans to be away from it all in a truly remote location. Leave the work at home…you’re on vacation!
You’ll be sure to start the day right with the breakfast buffet that is provided by your hotel (in most cases, though not all) which is included with your vacation package. Ask at the front desk for specific details when you check in. Lunch and Dinner options are few, though offering delicious seafood selections. Check in with our staff for the latest tips and advice about other restaurants in the area.
Besides windsurfing, talking about the days sailing, and waiting for daybreak to get on the water again, you can...
- Breath and relax, our center will be built upon this whole philosophy.
- Fishing, you are welcome to help the fishermen with their catches
- Boat tour in the rivers, cheap and beautiful
- Romantic dinners, anywhere; on the beach under the stars or in one of the few restaurants in town.
- Surf. And we mean all of you. Young, old, beginner or PWA pro. The best beginner spot in Brazil, but yet capable to offer double forward ramps for those who dares.
Exploring the remote area will allow you time to do less with the time you have: that's the point!
service charge will most likely be added to your restaurant bill. This does not go to the waiter and it is normal to leave a tip for the waiter as well. Gratuities of are appreciated for good service by all other service-industry employees, including the team at Vela!
Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff.
You will (eventually) arrive at the Fortaleza (FOR) airport. Although most people only see Fortaleza while en route to Icaraizinho from the airport, it is worth spending a day to check out the seaside market or to break-up the journey. After you go through customs and claim your bags, you want to head towards the exit. Both the International and the Domestic terminals will feed into the same area within the main airport building.
The 100 miles (190 km) between Fortaleza and Icaraizinho can be explained as: 90miles (175km) of asphalt, 10miles (15km) of dirt road, made for 4WD vehicles. Private transfers depart from Fortaleza at any time and place (airport or hotel), and follow the shortest way possible straight to Icaraizinho. The trip should last about 3 hours.
To make the meeting between passengers and driver easier for clients arriving at Fortaleza airport, we have selected the Tourist Information Counter (right in front of the arrival gates inside the terminal and next to the exit) as the predetermined meeting point for all Vela Jeri transfers. Drivers will be waiting for you with a VELA sign and your name. Please wait here even if the driver is not at the airport yet: he is on the way. You should also have the drivers emergency phone numbers on your email invoice (print this now if you haven't already!) to that you can contact them for any delays or problems.
Here is a map and a photo of the meeting point location:
Overnight Stays In Fortaleza:
Although transfer vehicles can pick you up anywhere (hotel or airport) and at any requested time, an overnight stay in Fortaleza is recommended in order to break-up long journeys. If you have reserved your transfers in advance, your flight information should have been provided to the Vela Reservations staff by now. If you still need to make these arrangements, please contact us immediately. The Main Office is closed on weekends.
If you have reserved accommodations in Fortaleza through Vela for your first night, please note that you will need to arrange for a taxi transfer from the airport which is NOT included in your package. Follow the same instructions with meeting point at the Tourist Information Counter (right in front of the arrival gates inside the terminal and next to the exit) and ask for their assistance to get a taxi to your hotel. The following morning, your driver will meet you at the scheduled time (of your choosing) in the lobby the hotel. If you have reserved the last night in Fortaleza, note that you will also need to schedule your own taxi back to the airport, with help from anyone at the front desk.
Taxis Paid On-Arrival:
We do not recommend soliciting taxis to Jericoacoara or Icaraizinho from the airport with providers that are not recognized by Vela. This is a long trip, and most taxis won't be going that far out of the city anyways, and random providers waiting for random international arrivals may not be the best suited for the trip, nor know their way around the off-road portions of the drive as you near Jericoacoara and Icaraizinho.
Excursions or day trips can be arranged at the Vela Icaraizinho travel desk. 4WD vehicles, dune buggies, and even horses can be arranged.
Lucky you! If you have already reserved this additional service you are in for a treat. Check in with the Vela staff to reconfirm the departure time for your 8 hour adventure!!! If you HAVEN'T booked this yet, read on... For the more adventurous, there is an opportunity to take our Mini Beach-Search, which starts at 08:00 and takes about 8 hours of total travel time. This trip makes it way along the coastline, through the mangrove forests and marshes, past small villages, and over 2 river-crossing. This trip is taken in a dune-buggy with a professional driver and can only take a limited amount of luggage. The cost is $335 per buggy, maximum 2 passengers plus the driver.
The normal check-in time is at 3:00PM for all properties, although we can request early check-in if available. Vouchers are not required for check-in. Simply arrive at the front desk and give the agent the last name of the person who made the reservation. If there are any questions, please show them the email invoice that you should print and take with you. No matter how late in the evening or night you arrive, there will be someone waiting to welcome you at the reception, so simply follow the same procedures as mentioned above. (just no night-time to go out sailing!)
Check out time is 12 noon for all properties. Make certain to go over your final bill carefully. Personal charges such as bar tabs, laundry, telephone calls, and such are your responsibility. DO NOT let the hotel charge you any tax or service fees on accommodations prepaid by Vela. We always prepay tax and service charges for you. Should an emergency necessitate an early return home, we will do all we can to get refunds for you. Standard hotel cancellation fees usually exceed any unused balance, but hotels are quite often understanding of emergencies. To assist us in this you must get written verification of check-out date from your hotel front desk and also from the windsurf staff. Please settle up your restaurant account, bar tab, any other charges incurred, at the Vela Jeri Center before on your last sailing day.
If you have an early flight, make arrangements for your transfers to the airport the day before your departure and leave plenty of time to get to the airport. Our staff will be glad to assist you with this. If you are leaving on a late flight, there is sometimes a courtesy room available for storing luggage and taking a shower. If that isn’t possible, you may also leave your bags at the center, so you can squeeze one last session in. May leave with a little sand behind your ears, which will be nice keep sake. Remember that you have a long drive ahead of you before reaching the airport at least 3 hours ahead of your departure time for international check-in.
Getting To Vela Icaraizinho:
The Vela Center is located beachfront at the Les Alizes hotel, situated in the bay just beside the point. We had the privilege to choose and pick a rather big property where we during spring 2009 will build a new center. As the center in Jericoacoara is so loved buy our returning clients, we decided to do the same style in Icarazinho, but on a bigger scale. Always yielding to the nature, and letting all palm trees be, and simply just adding more green. Our first guests; Kevin Pritchard, Robby Swift, André Paskowski and the other Beach Searchers already confirmed the perfect situated hammocks in the garden, as they all witnessed a surreal sunset when they discovered Icaraizinho. From your hotel you are either a) at the property; b) next door directly behind the center (Hibiscus); c) next door on the left (Agua de Coco); or c) within a short walking distance, 12 minutes at most, and that from our furthest option for accommodations (Sunset Chalet).
Checking In To Get Started:
Although we will be expecting your arrival, please bring a copy of your email invoice sent to you from Vela Reservations showing your package details. Fill out information sheet, copy of credit card, etc. Open an account that will enable you to eat at the restaurant and order drinks at the bar. Upon arrival you will be welcomed with a smile, after the preliminary greetings, you will be asked to check in and then be given an orientation of how the center works and where to find everything. You will also have the opportunity to inquire and/or arrange for lessons during your orientation.
After registration you are free to use any of our services by simply signing a printed slip in any department. As a registered customer you are also entitled to a free locker, to store your personal belongings while you are having fun in the water.
Vela Icaraizinho is equipped with the latest in high performance gear featuring NeilPryde sails and rigs, JP Australia, and Starboard. Sails include the very latest V8, Street Racer, Zone, Search, Core, Expression, Raf Jet, Saber and Spirit. The new JP-Australia line includes the Wave, Freestyle Wave, Freestyle and X-cite Ride and Super-X lines. For beginners we feature the popular JP Funster and the Starboard Go (the Starboard Start is also available). Please help us maintain the high quality of our fleet by handling with care.
Getting On The Water:
Equipment is available for check out beginning at 09:30 and ending at 17:30. Every day you windsurf, you must sign out yourself and the equipment that you are using. This enables us to keep track of our equipment and know that our guests have returned safely. All procedures and safety concerns will be explained during the orientation. Please note that equipment fee is per person and not transferable.
Pre-booked Beginner Rental:
Due to advanced conditions we do not recommend rentals for rank-beginners or anyone without water-start experience. In the morning, lighter winds may provide conditions for less advanced sailors. On these days, we offer beginner lessons with equipment included during instruction. If you are very eager to learn and up for the challenge, talk with us: we'll set you up with what you need.
Getting Your Gear:
You will be given an orientation session before checking out your equipment. All guests must use the equipment sign-out / sign-in sheet located at the equipment area to check out equipment. If you want to change your board or rig during the day, simply return the first board or sail to the rack and use the sign in on the sheet, then sign out again, indicating your new board and/or rig choice on the sign-out sheet. All this will be covered in your "Center Orientation" on your first day sailing with us.
Each of the different types of sails available for check out have been rigged in a manner best suited for that particular sail. If you would like to make adjustments to the rig, we ask that you first get a short orientation to that particular sail from one of our staff. You will be responsible for any incorrect handling of the rig that damages the sail.
The famous wind of North Brazil starts to be really strong and consistent in this region. The more west you travel from here, the more wind you find. Icarazinho offer slightly less wind than Jericoacoara with normally 4,7 – 5,3 during the high season; June-December. Sideshore winds turn to side-onshore downwind past the slalom area, and sandy shallow bottoms create a great launch site for all levels. Icarazinho offers a diverse and amazing windsurfing spot (or spots). It reminds a lot of Jericoacoara, as both places are situated in bays with specific wave points. The center has its porch right on the beach on the upwind side of the bay, just next to the point.
You will find a big flat water area by the center, which is protected by a reef. During low tide the reef sticks up outside this area and stops nearly all water movement , and you will have the whole bay as a perfect freeride / freestyle area. Most part of the inner bay is waist / shoulder deep which makes it a perfect beginner spot, especially during the mornings with lighter winds. As the tide raises smaller waves appear which are perfect for easy wave practice.
Depending on the tides and time of year, there is a variety of wave conditions. Three minutes upwind sailing from the freeride / freestyle area you will find Icarazinho’s wave spot. A reef, combined with fishermens' old wood logs creates a break for the more advance waverider / jumper. Brawzinho and Kauli had no problem doing double forwards during our stop here in December.
Safety is the most important priority and that is why all our safety services are of highest standards and for free. All water front staff have been trained and certified in First Aid by the Life Guard Federation of Brazil. We have a comprehensive monitoring system that enables staff to keep an exact account of clients who are sailing on the water, as well as having a person monitoring sailors with binoculars at all times. Guests are informed of the sailing limits in which they can sail safely inside the monitored zone and be sure of a rescue in case of injury or equipment damage. The windsurfing area is equipped with two brand new rescue boats in case of emergency. All beach staff are also equipped with two way radio's to keep each other informed of any safety issues. We can also all help each other by keeping an extra look around. Remember it is easy to help!
Damage to equipment:
You will be asked to leave a credit card as deposit when you take out equipment. Once you sign out a board and sail, it is your responsibility to return it in the same condition! To minimize the possibility of damage, please choose equipment that suits your ability level and conditions, and handle equipment carefully when launching and coming in to shore. Items that need replacing such as fins, sails or mast will be charged at cost plus 10% for parts and labor. For items that can be repaired, standard charges will apply. This must be paid directly to the center in full upon return of the damaged equipment. If you purchased travel insurance through Vela, you can claim any charges ($1,000 coverage limit, less a $100 deductible) for equipment damage or loss upon your return. An additional insurance plan is offered through the center with a maximum coverage of $600 with no deductible. Some guests don't want either, while others cohse both to maximize coverage.
On-Site / Walk-Up Rentals:
Customers with pre-paid reservations have priority in choice of gear. Rentals for alternate days are not entitled at the progressive discount, and will be based on the 1 day value for each day of use. There is no refund for unused rental time. Securing rentals in advance will be very important if traveling over peak travel periods, but if available can cost as much as $80 per day.
Sorry ... no storage is allowed at the center at this time.
Vela Wind Warranty:
In the event that there are 4 or more days of no sailable wind using any of our equipment, you may request a NO-WIND CLAIM FORM that will allow you credit towards a future trip to any Vela destination. Note that you may receive higher credits if you return to the same center. You must get this form before you leave the center.
In addition to Windsurf Technique Seminars included in your vacation, you may also sign up for more in-depth private lessons for an additional fee. Vela Icaraizinho's highly qualified instructors are available for in-depth private lessons. Whether you want to learn to windsurf, fine-tune your current skills or just have fun, our team is ready to assist you with lessons at any level (beginner, intermediate and advanced). ALL WINDSURF LESSONS CAN BE RESERVED IN ADVANCE TO GUARANTEE SPACE ON THE SCHEDULE OR ON-SITE BASED ON INSTRUCTOR AVAILABLITY. This season lessons will be offered from Jul. 15th to Jan. 15th/ 2009.
When conditions allow, we can conduct lessons for complete beginners. Each 1.5 hour private lesson covers: Hours Sailing Theory, Wind Awareness, Rigging and Tuning, secure position, sailing stance, 180 Degree turn. After this course students are able to sail away, turn around and sail back with a full understanding of the early stages of windsurfing. Equipment included.
intermediate and Advanced Lessons:
Individualized, private instruction that is catered to your specific needs, whether that may be jibing, stance, footstraps, jumping, etc. For the more advanced sailors, Jeri is one of the perfect places to learn how to wave sail. The waves are large enough to have a great ride, yet small enough to be gentle and non-threatening. Each 1.5 hour private lesson is catered to your specific needs whether that may be water-starts, jibing, foot-straps, stance, jumping, looping, etc.
The Icaraizinho School:
Vela Kitesurf Icaraizinho is located within in the Vela center and ready to show you how easy learning this sport can be. Already known for its high level of safety standards for teaching and rental of equipment at all other Dare2Fly centers, we offer private lessons focused on your specific needs. From beginners through advanced riders, the advice of our skilled instructors will make you improve your kiteboarding as you never imagined.
Powered by Cabrinha, the school offers you a full range of the latest technology of kites to help you push your learning curve faster and safer. All safety equipment is provided by the center: harness, helmet, vest, radio and rescue boat.
1. STEP 1: Kite Control (Introductory Course)
Duration: 3 hours
Equipment (kite, harness, life vest and a helmet)
Goal: You will learn how to fly a kite, launching, landing, safety systems, and how to be in control. Emphasis is on safety and kite control.
2. STEP 2: Body Drag
Duration: 3 hours
Equipment (kite + board+ harness+ helmet +life vest)
Goal: You will learn about safety systems, sheeting systems and their effects on steering. Practice on the simulator. Body dragging downwind and upwind, “searching the board”. Relaunch the kite from the water. First exercises with the board and start making short reaches.
3. STEP 3: Water Start
Duration: 3 hours
Equipment (kite + board+ harness+ helmet + life vest)
Goal:. Riding both ways. Ride upwind.
4. Private Lessons
Duration: 1.5 hours per session or a discounted package with 9 hours
Equipment: (kite + board+ harness+ helmet + life vest)
Goals: This is a customized lesson. Staying up wind, heal/toe side turns, jumping, spinning or wave riding. Check availability for freestyle/wakestyle tricks.
Bringing Your Own Gear?
We offer storage at the center and our instructor is available for limited beach assistance , but for the most part you will be responsible for yourself as we do not have a rescue boat available here as we do in Jericoacoara. However, the shape of the bay in combination of the prevailing wind direction allows for miles of sandy safety-net in case you need to self-rescue, though this could be followed by a bit of a walk back to the center.
READY TO GO? ARE YOU SURE? PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU DEPART. HAVE A GREAT TRIP AND DON'T FORGET TO WRITE!