I left Río on Monday and came to Ilha Grande (which means ‘Big Island’). It’s a few hours drive then a short boat ride away from Río. And it’s beautiful.
I got off the boat and walked a few metres, along the pier and a bit more, and there was my hostel, right on the sea front, with a beautiful view of the harbour with the mountains in the background. I arrived there shortly before sunset, and that was also beautiful to see too.
The hostel I stayed in (Che Lagarto) was great, it had a brilliant atmosphere, it was a bit of a party hostel,but it wasn’t too much to cope with. The hostel next door was even more of a party hostel. I met a bunch of people on my first night there, and we all got on great. I mentioned to someone how it would be super romantic being on the Island if you had someone to be romantic with (couples take note). We all ended up going to the party in the hostel next door. I left early, and as it was so close to my hostel, I fell asleep to the sound of the party music (I became accustomed to that in Australia anyway).
It was so nice waking up early the following morning to the sweet sound of the waves right outside my room. And the glaring sun, of course, with breakfast on the decking overlooking the sea.
Ilha Grande is famous for its beautiful pristine beaches. One beach in particular is Lopes Mendes. People I’d met the previous night had recommended I go to that beach. It was a one hour boat ride away, or a two and a half hour walk. As it was such a nice day, I decided to do the walk. I put on my walking shoes, and took my flip flops in my bag, as I was told it wasn’t a particularly easy walk. It was a lot of uphill, a bit of downhill, more uphill, more downhill, and few beaches to walk across. I made it to Lopes Mendes by lunchtime, and it was beautiful.
I’m not particularly a beach person, I’m not a massive fan of sand, or saltwater, but I managed to spend almost three hours on the beach. And I went in the sea too, despite the warning signs that there was dangerous undercurrents.
I didn’t want to endure the long walk back, and I knew it would get dark before I got back to my hostel, so I paid 15BRL and took a boat back to the main town, which was just a short walk along the beach to my hostel. If you don’t want to walk when you’re on Ilha Grande, the only way to get around the island is by boat- there are a multitude of water taxis and various boats, large and small.
The following day, again waking up to the beautiful sound of the waves, as well as fireworks (I’ll explain that soon), I decided to do a boat trip around the Island. I got a trip of half the island, which included snorkelling mask hire, for a good price. We stopped off in six different places. The first few were good, and I saw some fish when snorkelling, though it doesn’t really compare to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It was still nice though.
We stopped at a fairly pricey restaurant for lunch for an hour, and not long after we got back on the boat, it turned cold and started to rain. We still had two more stops to do, but going in the sea when it’s cold is no fun, so we just went back to shore.
I got to my hostel and managed to get a like warm shower. A group of decided it would be nice to out into the islands town for dinner. Our dessert was a ‘buffet ice cream’- make your own ice cream combination, add whatever toppings you like, and pay for it by weight. It was amazing.
Walking back to our hostel, where the party was that night, we saw fireworks from the beach. That is the reason of the early-morning fireworks- practice for the main show. I’ve never seen fireworks from the beach, so that was beautiful. The reason of the fireworks was because in Río they celebrate Saint Georges day, and the cariocas (Río residents) even have a public holiday for it. Which means a day off work. Yes, in England we don’t get that and he is OUR patron saint.
We headed back to our hostel, played a few drinking games, then partied the night away.
I left Ilha Grande the following day. I was sad to leave as it is such a beautiful place, but it was raining when I left and a place like that is no good when the weather is miserable.
On the boat on the way back, it rained heavily. Heavily enough for me to finally use the waterproof covers for my backpacks, proving that they were a good investment. I have two covers- one for my big bag, and one for my small day pack.
I arrived here in Paraty to pouring rain in the evening. Luckily though I was awoken the following day to glaring sunshine, with breakfast on the beach. That was lucky, as I’d pre-booked a schooner boat trip here. Paraty is quite famous for all the little islands nearby, so on the boat trip we stopped on a couple of beaches, and got to do more snorkelling too. It was so much fun. When we stopped for the beaches, we had the choice of either getting the speedboat to shore, or jumping off the boat and swimming. I chose swimming, and took a noodle just for extra floatation, and to be a bit lazy.
Although the day started off with amazing sunshine, it rained a bit during the boat trip, which made the last stop not so nice. I still really enjoyed it though.
For five consecutive days I’ve been on at least one boat per day. And I’ve been on beaches and in the sea almost everyday too. I enjoy being a beach bum, but I do get bored easily when I’m on the beach- I’m not the sort of person who can spend an entire two week holiday sunbathing. It has been heaps of fun, but I think it’s time to let my bikini dry out now, and wash the saltwater out of my hair for now.