BRASIL INFORMATION
TRIP ONE

The Pantanal
Exchange rate:
2.65Rs £1.00

June- Sept 2010
BORDER CROSSINGS -

CORUMBA - We encountered no problems at this border. We asked for the maximum visa of 3 months and were given that plus a 3 month import paper for Nessie. The customs officer wanted to know the cost of our vehicle, they then calculated how much of a daily fine we would have to pay if we overstayed our papers.
CHUY - Friendly staff but very slow service. No problems leaving although we did see a big sign stating that you must show proof of insurance and driving licence to enter via this border.

VISA EXTENSION -
You can extent your visa and import papers in any regional capital city. It’s not too difficult a process.
Go online and download your visa extension form. Ask where the main Federal Police office is. Go there and you will find a BANCO do BRASIL nearby - pay your 67Rs per person fee there and then take your form and your payment receipt to the Federal Police building along with your passport for your new visa.
For the vehicle extension, it is a little more complex. You cannot get a import extension until you have obtained your visa extension, once you have this then ask where the aduana office is for your vehicle extension. Normally it will be in the harbour or airport area. We extended ours in Natal -full details below.

MONEY MATTERS -
It is illegal to change US$ outside of the regional capitals. It may be possible to find shopkeepers who will change your money but don’t rely on that. We were usually issued 750Rs per transaction at ATM’s.
Sometimes the ATM machine will tell you your card is not accepted, we have found this usually means the ATM has no money in it - try another - your card is ok!
VISA cards do not always work in Brazil - the card readers they use have trouble reading a UK visa card but they can read your Maestro card. Strange but true!
And changing money at the bank can be a terrifying experience - some charge more than 40% commission!!!

SAVING MONEY IN BRAZIL -
Before you enter Brazil (from the South or West) be sure to stock up with - Medicines, Toiletries, Canned foods and Wine as all of these items are MUCH more expensive in Brazil. Also look out for Atacadao supermarkets where you can buy in bulk if you want, Hiper Bonpreco and Walmart are also good.

ROAD TOLLS -
We encountered very few tolls outside of the southern region of Brasil. From Belo Horizonte south to Uruguay and the whole of the Sao Paulo state are where you will find regular road tolls.
Belo Horizonte to Sao Paulo the tolls averaged 1.20 - 2.40 Rs (we avoided the centre of Sao Paulo so we do not know what the city centre toll charges are).
Sao Paulo to Porto Alegre the tolls averaged 2.40Rs.
Porto Alegre to Chuy the tolls ranged from 7Rs to 14Rs!
Toll charges are based on the size of your vehicle, how many axles you have and whether you are commercial or not. Strictly speaking - we are not commercial and have only one rear axle, so we should have paid the car rate of 1.20Rs instead of 2.40Rs but the further south you go the harder it is to convince the toll operators of this!
It cost us £37 to drive from Belo Horizonte to Chuy on the Uruguay border.

DRIVING LAWS -
Seatbelts are required but headlights during the day are not.

DRIVING STANDARDS -
Truck drivers may be very friendly at the service stations but behind the wheel they can be fast, aggressive and a little crazy at times. Cities can be full of really crazy drivers - beware and avoid week days if possible.

FUEL -
More expensive inland on the west side of the country, the closer you get to the east coast the cheaper it gets.
Interior average cost - 2.25   Brasilia - 1.90   Inland of Salvador - 1.75   East coast average - 1.90

POLICE -
They have a bad reputation for corruption. We encountered regular police check points on the east coast - most waved us on when they realised we did not speak Portuguese but some wanted to see our documents.

INSURANCE -
It is much easier to make sure that you have insurance to cover your full stay before you enter Brazil. Once we were here no-one wanted to sell us insurance, they insisted we should get it from our previous company!

LANGUAGE -
Do not expect to find many people who can speak English, at times we even struggled to find anyone who could understand Spanish. You will find things much easier on the east coast.

SHOWERS -
Most service stations provide showers, some are free, some work on a 2Rs token system. If you buy fuel then you are given the token for free. Usually they are warm water but sometimes cold only.

HEALTH CARE -
We used the Santa Lucia Hospital in Brasilia - to see a specialist costs 220Rs (£83) and the Hospital Monte Klinikum in Fortaleza - to see a specialist costs 150Rs (£56) this hospital provides a translator during your visit. Both hospitals were excellent and the food in the Monte Klinikum was superb!!

SAFETY -
Brazil has a very bad reputation for crime. The majority of overlanders we have met are not ‘doing’ Brasil because of it’s high crime reputation. This was our experience -

The Pantanal area and Brasilia - We encountered no problems. In the towns we were more observant than usual but that was because of the bad reputation the country has rather than because we FELT unsafe.

Brasilia to Palmas area - Once again we experienced no problems with safety.

Palmas to Salvador - No problems until Barreiras where locals warned us NOT to stay overnight in the town or the surrounding area - armed carjacking is a BIG problem there.

Up the East coast - You should use the usual precautions when in big cities - we tried to stay in campsites or near buildings with security. On the beaches and in the villages we bush camped everywhere and never felt at risk.
MAPS -
We bought this Guia Brasil map from a fuel station. Very good detail with a distance chart but no city centre information.
Cost 15Rs.

GPS -
A very good detailed map for Brazil -

www.tracksource.org.br
PLACES TO STAY....

We have to confess that we always thought that people who slept in fuel services stations were rather unimaginative but, now that we are here we can see why, they have everything you could ever need:
Great parking, showers, mechanics, vehicle parts and they are perfectly situated to break up those long drives you sometimes have to endure. They are usually the only quiet place you can find at a weekend!


A Pantanal special

Everyone comes here to see animals, so we are going to include GPS points for animal spotting along the way and details of routes available within that region. Remember that fields and bush camping places can disappear in the wet season. Animals can also change territories so you are not guaranteed to see them where we did.    
                 GOOD LUCK!  (We entered these areas at the end of June 2010.)


CORUMBA - We found two places to stay. Both were quiet and safe with guards nearby. No problems.
Plaza - S18.99852  W057.65673   Port - S18.99691  W057.65541  Buy all your food and fuel in town.




ESTRADA PARQUE

East of Corumba is the Estrada Parque - a route that takes you into the South Pantanal. There are numerous wooden bridges on this dirt route, all are rated for 15T but some look a little weak. You will have to take a ferry across the Rio Paraguai at Porto da Manga which costs 30Rs. This is a lovely drive FULL of capybara, caiman and birds. If you are lucky and wait until later in the dry season you may see giant otters also.

Manga Water is before the ferry and a nice place to camp by a tree and some water S19.25307  W057.37125

Ponte 52 has a small shop who’s owner is very helpful with route and animal information. You can find places to stay near here.  S19.25232  W057.06157

Caiman camp is another nice place to stay. S19.31577  W057.05442

Ponte 25 -1  has few opportunities for free bushcamping and animal spotting.



DRIVING EAST ON THE BR262 then NORTH on the BR419

Miranda - a quiet if unexciting night behind the artisan market. S20.23537  W056.37743

Aquidauana - a large town with everything you need. Buy all your fuel and food here. From this town we drove straight up the BR419, a dirt route that links the fazenda’s - all bridges are rated for 15T loads.

Savanna stop - We only stayed here because we found anteater prints. Quiet. S20.36553  W055.75005

150 km’s north of Aquidauana we turned west onto the MS228 route that can take you all the way back to Corumba. However we reached a fenced off bridge after 59 km’s. To go further you must gain the permission of the fazenda owner and then be prepared to do some SERIOUS 4x4 through thick sand and over savanna land. A adventure for some-one just not us!

Collared anteater seen here  S19.91176  W055.50878  BR419
Giant anteaters seen here  S19.21992  W055.23212  and here  S19.12092  W055.36172 MS228 we also saw a coati and all the usual animals - caiman, capybara and hundreds of birds.

Capybara creek - A wonderful spot. Capybara wander past your vehicle as you sit watching kingfishers dive for their dinner. If you’re very lucky the cowboys will bring the cattle past. S19.12851  W055.34324


Rio Verde - a BR fuel fuel station. S18.90749  W054.84011 Do not buy fuel here - very expensive. Cheaper fuel 12 kilometres north.

MS214 Transpantaneira - is a mystery route! We asked everyone about this track and could never get good information. It goes from Coxim to the south side of the river at Porto Jofre you can also join it approx. 45km’s further north of Coxim. We can imagine that it is the usual dirt route that links fazendas. One person told us that there was a very deep (1.5 metres) water crossing somewhere on the route and that they were not sure if there was a ferry. We decided against it - maybe next time.

Rondonopolis - S16.50259  W054.64920  Typical BR truck stop. Good services and showers. Quiet.

Mirante -  Chapada dos Guimaraes area S15.47945  W055.68708 The centre of South America. Lovely views but very noisy at weekends.

See macaws nesting on a rock face by the roadside S15.38265  W055.84097


NORTH PANTANAL TRANSPANTANEIRA

Buy all your food and fuel in Cuiaba or Pocone. Cuiaba supermarket Hyper Modelo  S15.58810  W56.11693

Ipes Field - A nice place to stay. S16.47182  W056.68782

Rio Claro Pousada - We went here to do a boat trip to see giant otters.
Boat trip 70Rs per person for a 2 hour trip where you feed caiman, water birds and you will see giant otters.
To camp costs 30Rs per person includes use of the pool and poolside shower, toilets and low volt electric plus fast wifi.  S16.60721  W056.75971  Co-ordinates for the gate entrance.

Jabiru nest - S16.64458  W056.77065  Huge (1.4m) white bird. You will find more of these as you drive south.

Jaguar camp- S16.88535  W056.84011  We saw this track only one km north of where we saw our jaguar, so this is may be a good place to stay and hope for a glimpse.

Pantanal Field - S17.06955 W056.95048 Another field we saw that may be okay to stay.

Hyacinth Macaws can be seen around Puma Lodge. S17.08414  W056.94696 Puma Lodge can also arrange boat trips from Porto Jofre for 100Rs per hour (they recommend 4 hours).

Beautiful big owls nest at S17.26258  W056.90290.

Hyacinth macaws nest in the campsite at Porto Jofre behind shelter PACU in a hollowed tree trunk. S17.36039  W056.76673  You can also see them and toucans flying opposite the hotel entrance - watch the tall tree near the papaya tree for the toucans.

Porto Jofre - S17.36516 W056.77302 There are 3 or 4 places you can park around here. The mosquitoes are ferocious day and night. We saw our puma 80 metres from this point walking toward the campsite, she had obviously been down to the river for a drink.

Porto Jofre Ferry - there used to be one 8 years ago but the owner died and no-one took over the service. Just as well we didn’t take the MS214 - it would have been a long drive back!

Our Malaysian friends arranged a private cattle barge from Corumba to Potro Jofre - it cost US$5,000 per barge (a maximum of 4 cars)!!!

Cuiaba - This excellent BR service station was a gem. You can get seat covers made as you wait for 75Rs.
We got our weight sticker made here, our mosquito nets repaired, our windows tinted and we bought wood bead seat covers. All services given with a huge smile!
Free hot showers and a quiet night.  S15.70012  W056.04359  On route US163.


GENERAL BRAZIL PLACES TO STAY

Our favourite places ....

Barra do Garcas - Has a lovely river beach area. We didn’t stop due to time pressures but it is worth checking out. We also saw camping signs for this pretty area.

Cidade de Goias - The old town centre is lovely, cobbled streets and a small river. Lots of places to park on the streets but this looked like the best area to use. S15.93320  W050.14125 Near the hospital by the river.

Pirenopolis - The centre has a 2.3m width restriction so we parked at the cemetery. S15.85595  W048.95774
Lots of places in the centre for smaller vehicles, near Igreja Matriz looked like a good place.

Brasilia - Albergue Youth Hostel  S15.76895  W047.91088. 15Rs per person to camp with use of hot showers, toilets, electric and laundry facilities also includes breakfast.
To be honest, if you are in a vehicle like ours, you can park anywhere around quadrant 716 (near the hospital and mall area) and feel safe. We only stayed at the hostel because we were meeting friends there.

Cachoeira - We stayed on a side track. Be aware the bridges are weak. S14.09062  W047.51277

Natividade - A quiet place by the football field and near the river in this pleasant old slave village.
S11.70814  W047.71991

Palmas - We parked in this area to pick up free wifi from a nearby hotel and to be near the Mall. Quiet and friendly.  S10.18948  W048.33477

Caseara River - A big mistake. We drove a round trip of 500km’s to go there after being told of fabulous river beaches, lots of jaguars and wild animals. There are very, very few animals and the river beach is full of shanty bars. Not horrible but not great.  S09.28681  W049.96775

Ponta Alta do Tocantins - You could park by the river in town but we chose a quieter roadside area out of town.
S10.73396  W047.52721


JALAPAO NATIONAL PARK INFORMATION

There is no entrance fee and you do not require a guide for the park. You should buy all your food and fuel in Palmas or Ponta Tocantins before entering the park, (the next place that sells food and fuel is Materios.)

After Ponta Tocantins the road becomes dirt track until Coaceral. It is a mix of the usual dirt, bull dust, sand, rough stone and bedrock. Expect to average between 5 - 40 km’s an hour on this route (we only had to go into 4x4 for two very short sections (200 metres).)

To reach the dunes you have a 5km drive of reasonably deep sand - for this section we reduced our tyre pressure as much as possible and kept Nessie in 4x4 for the whole drive. Be aware that coming out from the dunes involves a slightly more uphill effort.

Our paper maps did not show a route to link Mateiros to Coaceral but our GPS map did - it is the same mix of previous track conditions with one short section of boulders to bump over, (you should be careful of your ground clearance on this section.) Be aware that it is a poorly marked route after Mateiros so keep your eyes open for the Formosa do Rio Preto sign. After a double white building on your right you go straight ahead down a track that looks narrow but it opens out nicely and goes over an old bridge and past 3 indigenous houses before eventually leading you up a hill and onto a lovely smooth sand track that required no 4x4.
Follow your GPS map closely and use common sense - if a track looks unused and has NO tyre marks on it then there is usually a good reason. To go down a unused track in such a remote area is never a clever thing to do - if you have a problem then it could result in a very long walk out!

Cachoeria da Velha - This lovely double waterfall is a dead-end detour of 29km’s from the main track. There is a great place to camp by the river, above the falls and hidden in the trees. Be aware that the track down may involve a little 4x4 and that overnight camping is officially not allowed. S10.26897  W046.88227

Dunas Jalapao - Overnight camping is forbidden and there is a locked gate with a entrance fee of 5Rs per person for the dunes. We stayed down a quiet side track nearby. S10.60200  W046.66458

After Coaceral there are numerous good fuel stations to spend the night at. Be aware that Barreiras has a very bad reputation for armed carjacking - we were strongly advised by locals NOT to spend the night anywhere near the town.

DIAMANTINA NATIONAL PARK INFORMATION

Well worth the detour, this lovely park holds Brazils tallest waterfall.  We turned off for Palmeiras and drove a circuit around the park. (Buy your fuel in Seabra as it is expensive in Mucuge.)
You can easily find somewhere to sleep in Palmeiras or Capao before doing the lovely 12km (4hr) round trip trek to the waterfall.
There is a track to Igatu that looked lovely and will give you great views of the sand bank river at Andarai, and there is a 4x4 track that links from just north of Andarai to Lencois. We did not drive either of these tracks as we had very heavy rain and thick fog - such a shame.

Guine view - S12.65291  W041.56253  A very quiet place with good views.
We also saw a nice riverside place at S12.95137  W041.27738 - just after Mucuge.


SALVADOR INFORMATION

Camping Ecologico A reasonable site 30km’s north of the city. S12.94711  W038.34201 They try to charge 20Rs per person per night but we negotiated it down to 15Rs per person. Electric, hot showers and a lovely beach.

To get into the city - Wait for the bus in the hotel entrance opposite the Esso station near the campsite. You want the bus marked Campo Grande - the trip will take at least one hour and will cost 2.30Rs per person. Let the bus driver know you want the end of the line, from there it is a pleasant walk past some old buildings up to the Cidade Alta. Return to the same bus stop to catch the bus marked P. Do Flamengo - it will drop you off just after the Esso station.

For garages, tyres and parts then you should drive down the BR324 toward the centre of town - you will come across several garages and tyre stores before you reach the Makro store S12.89577 W038.44972.

For a superb DIY store - Ferreira Costa - S12.94037  W038.41475

Supermarkets line the Estr Do Coco S12.87728  W038.30942 (BR099) but a closer one for the campsite can be found at S12.93579  W038.33125 - Hiperideal.

For large Mall shopping you should visit Iguatemi Mall S12.97823  W038.45275 but be aware that parking can be extremely difficult and traffic chaotic! There is a large Mall being completed on the BR526 route to the campsite - that would be a much easier option S12.90856  W038.35003.

There is a police checkpoint on the Estr Do Coco route as you drive north out of the city - they were real bullies to us. Do not let them intimidate you into the compound. Have your drivers licence, passport and aduana paperwork to hand and keep calm, as long as you speak no Portuguese then they will soon let you go!

BUSH and BEACH CAMPING EAST COAST BRAZIL....part one

Most overlanders stay in campsites or pay to park in the gardens of pousadas/fazendas. Pousadas can charge anywhere between 10 - 50 Rs a night to park and the CCB campsites can cost 55Rs a night for 2 people plus a truck. If you intend on staying in a lot of CCB sites then it may be worth becoming a member - it costs 240Rs for a membership card and will reduce your overnight cost down to 24Rs a night.

We have listed where we stayed and some places we saw that looked good (remember we visited during shoulder season, high season would be very busy). The opportunities to bushcamp are limitless.....

 

Praia do Forte - A secure carpark in the centre. S12.57600  W038.00406 - Not our kind of place, we didn’t stay.

Canoas - Beachside road. Very quiet in low season. Not recommended in summer! S12.39187  W037.88186 or you could ask to park in the large gardens of Pousada Vila ?cost  S12.38688  W037.88216.

Siribinha - A tiny fishing village, we parked by the church. S11.76288  W037.52431 Very quiet.

Praia Pocas - A lovely place between the beach and the marsh, watch fishermen in hand dug canoes collect their catch as locals bicycle and ride horses by.  S11.82989  W037.55468

 

We followed the SE100 route and took a Prainha ferry (20Rs) over the Rio Piaui and then slept at -

Ponta Mato - A lovely turtle beach. We parked in front of the church on the shoreline. A motorbike comes by at 6.30am to sell freshly baked bread rolls. S11.42742  W037.33813. Very, very quiet.

Aracaju - CCB campsite. We did not stay here. S10.99969 W37.05853  (Superb fruit and vegetable market can be found at S10.90719  W037.04811)

 

We were highly recommended the coastal route from Pirambu to Pacatuba. DO NOT take it - it was a bloody awful dirt route full of bumps and holes, it had few views, nowhere to stay and would be impassable with rain. Pirambu - We stopped for lunch here, a overnight may be okay. S10.73650  W036.84656

 

We took the ferry over to Penedo from Neopolis (38Rs) - nothing special.

Penedo - We had a surprising quiet night by the river, opposite the naval police office. S10.29359  W036.58458

From Penedo to Maceio we found 4 good choices to beach camp -

On the hard packed sand beach of Praia do Peba.

Praia do Toco - A very quiet dead end road on the sea. S10.29930  W036.29124

Lagoa do Pau - A beautiful beachside area. Park on the grass in front of the church by the beach for a quiet night. S10.12248 W036.10790

Praia Frances - A common free area to park above the beach. S09.76832  W035.83826  ?Quiet/safe at night.

 

MACEIO INFORMATION

Maceio - Campsite near beach. Cold water showers, electric and palms FULL of dangerous coconuts. Gates get locked at night - we had to break in at 11pm by climbing over them - the staff did not wake up! S09.63341 W035.69843. Costs 40Rs a night - not really worth it but the owner was not there to negotiate with.

There is a bicycle/fitness lane that runs the length of the beach from the campsite - a lovely way to jog or walk into the centre. Fabulous banana pizza can be had in Delpopllo’s - S09.61110  W035.72014. For truck tyres try this ‘one stop’ Goodyear shop - S09.55957  W035.76439  And a big Atacadao supermarket can be found at S09.56652  W035.77695.

 

Milgares Beach - A beachside street in a village. Very quiet night. S09.24375  W035.34805

We drove north to Porto de Pedras and took the ferry (22Rs) - a lovely trip.

On the other side you will be spoilt for choice for beach camping -

Anywhere near the beach after you get off the ferry.

Barreiras palm - S09.13178  W035.28566 On the beach in a cleared coconut area.

Barreiras 2 - S09.09361  W035.25859 Another beachside option.

Japaratinga - S09.08595  W035.25455 Yet another spot.

Sao Bento - S09.05744  W035.23981 Another beach choice but in a village setting.

North of this area it becomes busy and touristy with fewer quiet options.

 

RECIFE INFORMATION

Reputed to be one of Brazil’s most dangerous cities. We took the main route in that goes past the airport - on this road you will find a Mercedes garage and a Ferreira Costa DIY store before turning right for the Hiper Bonpreco supermarket  S08.11556  W034.90089. (Carrefour is also down this way.)

There is no camping available in Recife or Olinda and the youth hostel is unsuitable for trucks. Much to our surprise we looked around and decided that we would be safe to street ‘camp’. You have two good choices -

Park outside the Biblioteca - at night this street is quiet and the library has a night security guard. S08.01651 W034.84874

On the other side of the park is a police station - you can park just by their gates BUT a popular nearby restaurant means you may have to wait for a space.

 

Ihla de Itamaraca - The only good option to stay is by Forte Orange   S07.81087  W034.83963 We spent a lovely day and night here, very quiet, great views and security at night.

On our GPS we saw a 4x4 track leading north of Pitimbu that we wanted to attempt - it ended after a few metres - if this track does really exist it is probably for dune buggies driving on the beach. But we did find a good place to stay on the beach  S07.46784  W034.80690 Watch fishermen pull their nets in here - very nice.

Tabatinga 2 - Grass verge to park on overlooking a GORGEOUS beach. Quiet. S07.31286  W034.80286

Joao Pessoa - CCB campsite. Very nice location, cold showers and electric. We negotiated hard for a price of 40Rs a night.  S07.16092  W034.79511

 

North of Joao Pessoa you will see lots of routes marked 4x4 Trilha on your GPS map - we investigated a lot of these and found that most of them were only suitable for dune buggies. Even if you did manage to mount sand dunes and drive along the beach you inevitably came to a river that had to be crossed on a hand barge that was only suitable for very light weight vehicles (even a loaded overlander Land Rover may struggle). We have detailed these routes below...

(You should also be aware that village fuel prices are very high - you should fill up with fuel and fresh water in the cities if possible from here on driving north.)

 

We took the  BR101 north then turned for Baia da Traicao - it was nothing special - but we decided to take the terra route to Mataraca after being told it was ‘very good’. (It is a route that takes you through Indian villages and remote areas.) It got ridiculously narrow before, much to our relief, it finally opened out to a maze of sugarcane field tracks - not the worst route we’ve driven - but not great! We raced to get off this route before it rained only to find the bridge at Mataraca was collapsing which meant we had a big detour to get over the river. See diary page for photo’s....

 

Barra Cunhau is a very lovely river mouth and beach village where you can take your pick of places to stay and catch a boat to the sand spit opposite the village. S06.31229 W35.03981

To reach Praia da Pipa from this road you have to cross a river, there are hand barges that take small cars, if you are in a truck you have to wade. When we crossed the water was 1 metre deep at it’s highest point. The access road to the barge is tight for trucks larger than us. Great fun!  S06.28585  W35.03669

Praia da Pipa - A hugely popular resort that is completely inappropriate for overlander trucks. No vehicular beach access, narrow roads and extremely busy.  S06.22811 W35.05417 is a carpark for trucks ?cost per night.

Tibau do Sul, Praia do Giz - Surprisingly quiet night by the beach. Lovely morning views. S06.18281 W35.08932

Arituba beach - Nice looking beach car park area ?cost. S06.06785  W35.09899

Pirangi north - Overlooking a lovely beach with dolphins. 2Rs to park - we bought cold drinks in the beach view cafe and used their outdoor cold shower after our swim. Quiet and safe at night.  S5.96374  W35.14613

 

NATAL INFORMATION

Pium camping - A nice campsite with meter electric and cold showers. 15 Rs per person plus metered electric costs average 0.50Rs a day. S05.94936  W35.17994

Parnamirim - CCB campsite. When we drove past this site and it was being dug up and rebuilt. It is on a noisy road but very handy for the supermarkets etc. S05.87277 W35.21878  ?still open ?              

Mercedes garage can be found at S05.87255 W35.22128 All the big name supermarkets are on this same road just a little north of the garage, Makro, Atacadao and Hiper Bonpreco.

Visa extension offices -Aduana office - S05.77168  W035.20385 Well hidden! Get to this point and you will see a silver turn style gate - enter through this.  Federal Police - S05.82533  W035.22392

 

The Santa Rita route is full of decaying villages that leads to a dead end and the Rio Potengi is a car only hand barge - salt water - so no wading.

Lagoa Genipabu - We spent the night on a grassy area by the park entrance. Very quiet. S05.69917 W35.20889

We took the terra/4x4 trilha route from Maxaranguape to Pititinga, only one deep sand 4x4 section that was short and easy OR you can drive on the beach at low tide (maybe okay for smaller vehicles).

Pititinga - Lovely fishing village beach by a tall dune. Quiet. Motorbike bread delivery. S05.38104 W35.33208

Sao Miguel do Gostoso - Very touristy - we took the 4x4 trilha route to Canaa past some lovely beach areas - no 4x4 required and it was a good track. Unfortunately we had to return to Natal so we did not continue onto Sao Bento do Norte and Galinhos - ? Route conditions and if it’s possible.

 

Guamore - A tiny river side verge with nice views. Nothing special. S05.10663  W036.31516

Diogo Lopes - A superb, friendly village with limited parking options. Recommended. S05.07950 W036.46645 is a general point - drive to the other end of the village for a look about.

Ponta do Mel - Great fishing village with beach driving but very noisy at weekends. S04.95360 W036.88782

Morro Pintado - Really quiet and safe with lovely beach driving. Highly recommended. S04.94636 W037.02580

Tremembe - Uninspiring but quiet and safe with good beach driving chances. S04.74747 W037.28402

Canoa Quebrada - A parking area on the edge of town, away from the music. S04.52173  W037.70572

Ponta do Maceio - A fishing boat beach where you can watch them racing their boats ashore - very, very quiet.                                        Recommended    S04.40184  W037.78350

The drive to Ponta do Maceio takes you past some really lovely riverside/ beach scenery and villages.

Praia Paraiso - Great beach, very quiet but sea spray can be bad and you may need a bit of 4x4 on the last part of the track leading to the beach. S04.33464  W037.91307

Lago Paraiso - Spend the day at the beach then park here for the night. Really lovely area but you may need a little 4x4.  S04.35062 W037.93046

Between Lago Paraiso and Ponto Bento we tried various routes but they all ended in locked gates, dead ends or very narrow overgrown tracks!

Ponto Bento - Lovely places to park on unsold plots of land overlooking a great beach. Quiet and recommended. Fun dune driving can be done on the steep slopes behind this area.  S03.94122 W038.28332

FORTALEZA INFORMATION

Fortaleza -  Pousada Praia Sul - Our first pousada stay! Katia will provide a warm welcome. Cold shower, toilet, electric, a laundry area and secure parking for 25Rs a night.  S03.73202  W038.45827 Close to lovely beach.

 

SHOPPING-

Makro - S03.78133  W038.51407 OR  Superfamilia - S03.80790  W038.47265

 

 

BUDGET NEWS - £35 a day : 107 days and 14,598 km’s.

Fuel costs - The average price was 1.90Rs per litre.

As usual - truck maintenance and health care costs are not included in our daily budget.

For travellers who want more details of our Brazil budget -

Our main daily costs -

FOOD - £10.58  We kept costs down by not buying wine in Brazil and by only eating out twice.

FUEL - £12  We did excess miles by investigating tracks that usually led to dead ends and we travelled too                  quickly. SLOW DOWN to save on fuel costs!

CAMPING - £3.90  We spent much longer than we expected to in Salvador because of the good party scene and                           in Fortaleza because of medical issues, otherwise our costs would have been lower.

 

 

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