After seven days in Rio, I was reluctant to leave but our spending habits would have had us on our way back to Seattle in less than a month had we stayed any longer . . !
We started making our way down to Sao Paulo with two pit-stops along the way. First stop was Ilha Grande. An island paradise we were sold on after talking to an Irish couple we met back in La Paz. Due to Bret´s lack of planning, we missed out on bus tickets to where we would get a ferry over to the island (ha-ha Sally, you mean OUR lack of planning – Bret). Luckily, my research skills found Easy Transfer that would get us there the very next day for three times the price.
We were set. Easy Transfer would pick us up between 10:30am and 11:30am in a comfortable, air-conditioned van and we would be on our way. Wrong! With Bret´s mantra in mind (early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable) we were ready and waiting in the lobby of our hostel at 10:15am.
11:45am rolled around and there was no sign of the van. We gave old Easy Transfer a call and were told that no, we were scheduled to be picked up in the 11:30am -12:30pm time slot. Okay, no biggie, that´s only another 45 minutes away. Ten minutes later, Easy Transfer called the hostel and told us that the van was already full but not to worry, a taxi would be there to collect us in fifteen minutes and will have us at the ferry dock in time at the same price. Sweet, a private transfer!
After another hour of waiting (it was now 1pm), a taxi, the size of a matchbox finally showed up – with two other passengers and their luggage already inside. Bret called front seat so I squeezed into the back seat with my day pack on my lap, not overly excited about the cramped situation I would be in for the next two hours. Until Bret hopped in the front – with his day pack AND his 70 pound backpack on his lap! The boot was full to the brim and could not fit either of his bags. Needless to say, he was not happy!
We had a ferry to make and were already running late so not much could be done. We spent the next hour and a half fearing for our lives as the taxi driver had to make up for lost time and was trying to shave an hour off what is usually a two and a half hour drive. After a few near death experiences, we made it to the ferry.
Admittedly we were both pretty pissed off at the whole situation but it took all of two minutes on the boat, sun shining, reggae music blaring, waves crashing, to have a good laugh and realize that hey, life is pretty damn sweet!
Ilha Grande lived up to our expectations and then some. It´s a small island town of about 3,000 inhabitants with plenty of glorious beach opportunities if you´re willing to do a little hiking. Of course we all know Bret is not much of a hiker but I did manage to get him on a two-hour stint to beautiful Lopes Mendes beach. Hands down, the most beautiful beach either of us have ever been to! Perfect, clean, soft white sand, clear blue-green waters and surf to entertain us during our hours spent there. The photos we have do not do it justice.
Unfortunately we only had four nights on the island. In that time we spent two days hiking to and relaxing on Lopes Mendes beach, the other was spent close to the main area, not doing too much due to a late night drinking session with a few kiwis we met at the hostel.
The day we left Ilha Grande it was overcast and pouring rain – a sign it was time to move on. Two hours further down the coast we stopped at Paraty. We were running out of time in Brazil so only managed to stay three nights, which only allowed us two full days to check out the area. Our first day there, it was overcast so we spend the day wandering the cobble stone streets and doing a fair bit of window shopping.
Luckily our second to last day in Brazil it cleared up and we walked thirty minutes to a beach on the coast and enjoyed our last hours at the beach for a few weeks, laying out, enjoying beers at a chill beach-side pub we came across blaring reggae music.
Unfortunately, the time had come. The thirty days we spent in Brazil had flown by and finally come to an end. The last week in Ilha Grande and Paraty had been the best send-off to a fantastic time in a beautiful country.
With our next flight leaving from Sao Paulo, we had to jump on a six-hour bus ride. We had wanted to spend at least two nights there but the beaches slowed us down and we only had one. The only day we had to explore before catching a late-night flight out, it was pissing down rain the entire day so we didn’t get to see Sao Paulo outside our immediate area. Until next time I guess!