After 3 months collecting data for my Master Thesis at South of Brazil, my brother, my sister-in-law, Dimi and I planned to make a trip somewhere in Brazil. The idea was to visit a new place and accessible by car from Fortaleza (Ceará).
Maragogi seemed to be a good option. The pictures we see from the beach and natural pools are very attractive. However, the tourism at this city has grown more and more every year. Since we wanted something more relaxing and less crowded, we searched for a place nearby with the same beauty and found Porto de Pedras.
I had already been to Porto de Pedras before. The region is known to be the habitat of a lovely marine mammal, the Manatee. I’m marine biologist e had done an internship in 2005 at the center of the Project in Porto de Pedras.
The beaches have the same beauty as Maragogi, natural pools with blue and clear water, countless coconut palms at the beach, and with the big advantage of being less crowded, much less!
When to travel
The temperature is basically the same year-round (average of 25°C). The dry season goes from October to January, when the water is clear and blue (best time to travel).
The rainy season goes from April to August. Due to the rain, the water is likely to be turbid during this time.
How to get there
Unfortunately, the streets in Alagoas are still precarious. To get to Porto de Pedras, you will sometimes have to drive narrow and mud roads. Even with the GPS it can be a bit tricky sometimes. The GPS might lose signal in some moments or put you in very strange streets. But “better to ask the way, than go astray”. And in the end, it’s totally worth it.
The ideal is to rent a car, both to travel as well as to move around the city. My brother, sister-in-law and Dimi went by car from Fortaleza to Porto de Pedras.
As I said before, I was at the South of Brazil and had to take a flight from Porto Alegre to Maceió (Alagoas’ main city). My itinerary was: Maceió Airport == (Uber) ==> Maceió Bus Station == (Microbus) ==> Porto de Pedras.
Due to low tourism at the area, there aren’t many public transports operating to Porto de Pedras. In many places at the Internet is written there is no public transport available, but that’s not true.
I was the only tourist at the Microbus. All the others were natives. The travel took around 5 hours. And it was not even that far. But the driver stopped every 10 minutes. He stopped not only on bus stops, but also to chat or even to buy bread. Sometimes it was so crowded, that some passengers had to travel stood up. What an adventure!
After getting to Porto de Pedras, my sister-in-law and Dimi picked me up at the bus stop.
It’s possible to hire a “Transfer” (a personal microbus to make the travel) from Recife’s or Maceió’s airports. It’s more expensive, but if you have the money available or are traveling with more people it’s worth it. From Recife’s airport with the Transfer it takes around 3 hours and 15 minutes (213 km). From Maceió, it takes around 2 hours (110 km).
My brother found Laís’ house at Airnbnb and got in contact with her. After everything was arranged, we booked the house for 4 nights.
If you’re looking for a quiet accommodation around nature to enjoy your days, you will love her house.
What to do
For the first day, I wanted to schedule a raft trip to see the manatees. I’ve worked 2 years with the species, but it’s always a pleasure to see them again. Besides, my brother and sister-in-law had never seen one of those cuties from closer.
The “Associação Peixe-boi” (Manatee Association) performs daily raft trips to Tatuamunha River, allowing tourists to observe manatees from closer. Every two years, local guides are capacitate by ICMBio (responsible institute for conservation and research of Brazilian aquatic mammals).
First I tried to schedule the trip through email. But since I didn’t get an answer, I called the number: +55 823298-6247
To get more information, just check out their website.
It was a nice experience. We could observe some manatees during the trip. One of them was very close to the riverside (right in front of us).
After this trip, we had a lunch in a restaurant called “Restaurante do Enildo“. It was right in front of the beach. Everyone is very friendly and the food is delicious! The owner’s son even speaks English (difficult to find someone at the area that speaks another language).
We ordered “lagosta ao leite de coco” (lobster made with the coconut milk). It was so delicious! A bit expensive though. But that’s once in a lifetime event.
After that we turned back home and enjoyed the afternoon on the beach (right in front of our house).
Pernambuco and Alagoas states have a very outstanding feature. During low tide, the sea level drops drastically. You can walk around 1 km offshore. However, when the sea level starts to rise you need to get back very fast. In less than one hour the water will be around your waistline.
I looked the tide table on the internet to catch the lowest tide. We snorkeled, made some pictures, videos and had a nice time together. Then I noticed the water was rising and told the others to turn back. Dimi wanted to stay a bit more. We finally started to turn back. And the water rising. It was already on my belly botton! We were holding non-waterproof equipment like cellphones and cameras. We almost didn’t make it! Backpacks and purses had to go above the head! Again, what an adventure!
On the way back we bought fish and cooked our own lunch at home. In the afternoon I tried to convince my brother to workout with me. He stopped in the first 5 minutes, hahahah! At least he tried.
On this day we made the raft trip to the natural pools. Thus we could enjoy more our time without worring about the tide. If you stay at the same house we did, you can talk to the housekeeper, he will help you to book the trip.
You can only see the natural pools during low-tide, when they appear between the corals. There is a high diversity of marine animals, including crabs, sea-stars, fishes, sea urchins and many more. It’s very interesting. And the water is so blue!!
On this day we had lunch at the same restaurant from the first day (Restaurante do Enildo). We loved it! And in the afternoon we packed everything to leave in the next day.
If you have a car, you can visit Maragogi. It’s less than one hour of traveling. There you have the opportunity to dive and do other trips.
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