Last Wednesday, we left João Pessoa and headed west. Our first destination: The Pedra Itacoatiara or “Ingá Stone”, an ancient monument of uncertain meaning. It sits in the centre of a river basin, and is surprisingly well preserved for something thousands of years old, and often submerged in running water.

The carvings may represent astronomical objects, symbols of agriculture or ceremonies of the people who created it. Either way, at 3m tall x 50m wide, it’s a single gigantic boulder, and very impressive to behold.

Access is by guided tour only, but the fee is only a small donation, whatever you think it’s worth. The road down from Ingá town itself is good fun, once you get off the main road, it has a few of it’s own “ancient monuments”…

Dodgy Arch

… but the locals are sound!

We drove on for a few hours more, leaving the greenish Agreste region, and into the arid Sertão. Passing through Boquierão on the way, and stopping at a holy mountain to get some inspiration, we reached Cabaceiras by 4pm.

A Holy Mountain

Cabaceiras, where we’d stay the night, is famous as the “Hollywood of the Northeast”. Or as it’d be written in Portuguese, “Roliúde Nordestina“.


Cabaceiras seemed fairly dead during our visit, accomodation was a bit thin on the ground so we were limited to two choices, it was still only R$ 80 (€20) for the room/night at Pousada Cariri. Food however was very cheap, the rustic “Restaurante Amizade” run by Sandra, did us a very tasty soup & a sandwich for under R$10 (€2.50) each. It’s where all the local cops hang out, so you know it’s good.

Also worth watching out for in these small northeast towns is that the ATM may not be available. So bring cash! In Cabaceiras, the ATM was out of action as the town’s only bank had recently been recently robbed! (Were the cops too busy, enjoying their dinner at the time?)

Films have been made here since the 1980’s. Probably the most famous, is O Auto da Compadecida, or “A Dog’s Will“, from 2000. If you’d like to see what small-town northeast life is like, well, this is one take on it. The town’s museum has a display about the various productions, and there’s a dedicated (although tiny) cinema museum too.

Looking “cinematic” on St. Patrick’s day

Once a year, Cabaceiras has a goat festival. I’d describe it in detail for you, but there’s no need. It’s incredibly similar to the already famous Killorglin Puck Fair. In fact, if you work in Kerry Co. Council, i’d advise you to go about twinning your towns immediately.