What is it difficult to leave a place which you really enjoyed. The Vilanossa B&B was absolutely worth it. Its location, the owners, the breakfast, the room. All was great and we absolutely recommend them if you go to Rio de Janeiro. It will cost you a little more when you are a backpacker but 150 real for a private room with breakfast still isn’t much. This is around 38 euro (June 2016) a night. Maybe a bit much but still. There will be cheaper countries on our trip.
The weather is still great and the forecasts stay good so the ideal time to go to Ilha Grande. We took the Easy Transfer shuttle to Ilha Grande. This is just slightly more expensive then public transfer but the big advantage is that you are being picked up at your hostel and the ferry ride is included. And all of this for only 90 Real (June 2016).
Ilha Grande is like the name betrays a big Island for the coast. It lies roughly 3 hours driving away from Rio de Janeiro and it attracts a lot of backpackers. It is well known for its white beaches, green jungle and blue waters. Not quite like the bounty commercials but they are close. A boat from Conceicao de Jacarei will take you to the biggest town on the Island Vila de Abraao.
Ilha Grande will mean for us our first camping trip. We did not brought our tent with us for nothing. Let’s start making use of it. There are several campings around the island so a multiple day hiking trip is possible. After walking around town for a little bit we decide to spend our nights at Camping Sombra de Coqueirais. It costs slightly more that the others, 20 instead of 15 Real per person but we see the difference. We find out that camping in Brazil is not like camping in Europe. But that is ok.
Our first day (Tuesday June 14) we crossed the island to a place called Dois Rios. There are no cars on the Island so everything is done by foot of by boat. Of course we take our feet to where we want to go. The trail is a 8 kilometer long gravel road from Abraao to Dios Rios and the beach that awaits us is excellent. Also the town. It’s like time stood still. There are many dilapidated buildings around if it wasn’t for the children playing you would almost call it a ghost town. Most of the street lanterns are broken and the grass hasn’t been mowed in ages. In 1994 the Brazilian government closed down the prison and ended the economic necessity of the town. The prison buildings still stand and they are a pleasure to the eye. The main building is nicely restored but the rest is just beaten down. And this part we liked the most.
On day two we went to the most beautiful beach of Brazil, Lopes Mendes. At least according to the Guardian in 2009. It stood on place 7. The trail leading up to this beach isn’t hard and it will also take you to Palmas and Pouso beach. So there is a nice mix between beaches and jungle. The path is mainly single track and watch out because the moist jungles makes the roots slippery. The beach is definitely a pleasure to see. Sadly for us there was a strong current so this meant no swimming. The waves are really high so we looked at a lot of surfers crashing down the waves. We didn’t get bored.
This hike also meant our third hike in four days so we took the water taxi back from Pouso beach to Abraao. The sun sets at 4PM during winter and then it gets cold really quick. Perfect timing for us to leave.
We needed our sweater every night. It still is winter and it cools down really fast. This is also one of the reasons why we changed our camping for the Biergarten hostel. This was a great hostel with nice facilities and hot showers. Just great. Sometimes the power goes down on the island. Are you having a real nice conversation… Bam no more light. Still happens from time to time and it was fun the experience.
On Thursday it was time to relax. We booked a tour with a speedboat to Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. It was time to do some snorkeling and sunbathing. This also meant we could see the northern part of the island.The underwater world wasn’t spectacular. It was nice but there is no coral and the diversity in fish is limited. But is was a nice change from all the walking. On the way back you will also see a love beach (Saco do Seu) and if you kiss there you will stay together all live long. So we took care of that as well;-)
That night we enjoyed the home made Caipirinha’s of our German friends Elise and Andre from Stuttgart. They just finished a 8 month journey through Asia and Africa and will travel South America for the next 4 months. It was great to share travel stories together and hear there adventures over sees. I hope we will meet them again somewhere.
On Friday June 17 we will continue our journey to the town of Paraty and further south afterwards. So it will get colder and colder as we slide down from the equator. But this will be al worth it because in a few weeks we will be in Montevideo with our dear friends Bart and Nathalie.
By the way, we also had a great talk with Theo (an experienced traveller from Germany) and he mentioned an island called Ilha Bella. It lies a bit more south from Ilha Grande. It supposed to be just as beautiful as Ilha Grande and this might be a good tip if you seek more quieter places on your journey.
Till next time!