I know you shouldn’t believe everything you read (with the exception of my blog of course) but I hadn’t heard the most favourable of things about the city of Fortaleza in the North East of Brazil. In all honesty I wasn’t particularly relishing a stay there. So when I was invited to stay at Windtown Beach Resort & Spa in the small fishing village of Cumbuco, about 40km west of Fortaleza, I jumped at the chance. It’s fairly easy to get to Cumbuco from Fortaleza by bus but as we were flying in to Fortaleza late at night we decided the simplest, and safest, option was to take a taxi from Fortaleza airport to Cumbuco (R100).
Or so you would think. We discovered Windtown to be one of Cumbuco’s hidden gems before we even got there — our taxi driver had never heard of it and didn’t know how to get there. But after stopping several people in the streets of Cumbuco he eventually found it. Our next challenge was getting in as it appeared to be locked up but the reception desk appeared to be manned 24-hours as someone appeared to show us to our room when we rang the bell.
Totally exhausted by our traumatic journey from Chapada Diamantina (we learned we hadn’t been booked on to our connecting flights by TAM airlines) and relieved to have finally made it to our destination of Cumbuco I fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean. The next morning, we peeked through the slats of our room to see sunrise over the beach.
Completely revitalised, Sharps and I were greeted at breakfast by the pousada’s social events manager who told us they were holding a BBQ that evening. Sadly, because we only had one more night in Cumbuco we opted to do our own thing and head into town to explore.
This openness is what I loved about Windtown Beach Resort & Spa, and what makes it a hidden gem for me, apart from the fact that it’s practically located on the beach. Windtown was probably the friendliest high-end pousada we stayed at during our six-week trip in Brazil. While I feel very privileged to get to stay in luxury hotels there can often be a distinct lack of atmosphere, people tend to keep to themselves, which is great if you’re in a couple but not so good for solo travellers. Windtown Brazil manages to expertly combine the elements of a luxury stay in a boutique hotel (for instance there’s also a spa with massage and body treatments) with the sociability of a youth hostel as it attracts a youngish crowd (well people of a similar age to me anyway) except without the dorm rooms.
Cumbuco is a mecca for kitesurfers and Windtown is the perfect place to take lessons if you’re a beginner. It runs its own kitesurfing school, which may also explain why the hotel has such a laidback vibe. Another bonus for us was that Windtown’s owner is Dutch and although she’s based in Holland she employs some Dutch staff so there are some English speaking people on hand if you need any assistance.
Walking on the beach in Cumbuco reminded me a bit of being in Cape Verde, with rows of kitesurfers littering the skyline. Similarly the water is equally as choppy in Cumbuco as it is in Cape Verde (I’d imagine due to the wind) but Windtown has its own pool that you can cool off in. It gets quite hot during the daytime so if you don’t manage to grab one of the sunloungers (they go pretty quickly) you’ll be glad of a seat later on in the shaded area which has lots of comfy beanbags.
Since our stay at Windtown in Brazil Suzanne has opened another hotel Windtown South Africa in Langebaan, just North of Cape Town, also geared towards kitesurfers. If the Windtown Beach Resort & Spa we stayed at in Cumbuco is anything to go by you’re bound to get a hospitable welcome at its newest addition. My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to try and kitesurf at Windtown. If I’d had lessons there I’m sure it would have been a breeze.