Paradise Lost and Found

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Heading to Ilha Grande felt more like being part of an 18-30s package holiday rather than a trip to reputedly one of the most beautiful islands off Brazil’s Emerald Coast.

Our Gringo boat was littered with young backpackers and on arrival the port was full of the usual array of beach bars, crepe restaurants and friendship bracelet stalls that one would expect at a resort catering to today’s travelling yoof.

The island itself, with palm tree fronds painting its vast coastline, was undoubtedly stunning but the travelling cliché left me unimpressed. My fears were compounded by the following day’s boat-trip to some of the more picturesque lagoons and beaches along the island’s coast.

Gringo boat

Again packed in with young travellers drinking beer we were shepherded from lagoon to beach with just 20 minutes to enjoy each stop before the boat horn sounded and we were whisked off to the next destination.

At one point whilst snorkelling at the Logoa Azul (literally, Blue Lagoon) I spotted a school of squid, a stunning sight that I was enjoying immensely. When I lifted my head above water to tell Manna what I’d found I saw that we were already being called back to the boat. My swim with the squid was cut short but it was a highlight nonetheless.

Luckily, towards the end of the boat trip we met some travellers who were more on our level (ie. old!). They had already been to Peru and Bolivia and shared with us the wealth of their knowledge which I’m sure will come in useful on the next stage of our travels.

They also happened to be staying in the same place as us and we were all happy that we had chosen the Pousada de Cachoeira (Waterfall Inn) for our few days on the island. Although its name is rather generous considering the adjacent waterfall is perhaps 50cm high, the Pousada de Cachoeira was a delightful place far enough away from the busy port but near enough to venture in for food and drinks.

It also attracted good people, especially a German couple staying in the room next to us who were particularly welcoming with their Caipirinha nightcaps.

The next day we were determined to stay off the beaten track and Claus, the helpful owner of the Pousada, recommended a beach on the other side of the island called Lopes Mendes. Getting there involved a one hour boat ride and a short trek. On Claus’s advice we took a different trek route to everyone else on the boat, which would take us to the far end of the already remote beach.

Beware of the crocs!

Along with our caipirinha-loving German friends, we happily trotted along this path less travelled. After 10 minutes we came across our first crocodile warning sign. This was when we realised that perhaps we had over-compensated on our attempts to stay clear of the gringo trail.

But we marched on like the true adventurers we all hoped we were. At one point Manna ran screaming back from what seemed like an invisible force. On closer inspection we found that she had stumbled into a rather large spider’s web. But this was unlike any web i’ve ever seen with silk as strong as string and a hairy, gruesome spider in the middle.

The adventurers

We carried on with the trek with our eyes peeled for spiders, crocodiles and anything else that might bite.

After an hour’s walk, we arrived hot and sweaty at the beach. It was all worth it. We had found the kind of beach that travellers dream of, with white sands and azure blue seas, and we were virtually the only people on this far side it.

We threw down our bags and headed for the sea but nature played its cruel hand again. This time it was jellyfish. There were hundreds of them stranded on the shoreline and many more waiting in the sea. But like the adventurers we had become we went in nonetheless. The water was amazing, as was the view, but after spotting at least three jellyfish swimming nearby we decided not to push our luck any further.

Mmm, paradise

After enjoying the setting for an hour or so, we realised that if we wanted to spend more time in the sea we would have to endure the 40 minute walk to the other end of the beach where our fellow boat passengers were enjoying themselves. We went for it and were glad we did as we found a perfect spot to stop and thoroughly enjoyed wallowing in the cool waters of the ocean.

ickle tree monkey

We spent the rest of the day there and just when we thought it couldn’t get better we were joined in our shade by tree monkeys! A Brazilian couple near us got out a pack of crisps and started feeding them and we did the same. Tree monkeys on a remote beach on an island off Brazil’s coast – we thoroughly enjoyed the combination.

Our adventure at Lopes Mendes made the trip to Ilha Grande more than worthwhile and in the end we were sad that we had to leave the following day. But we were happy that we had found a paradise worth looking for.

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5 Responses to “Paradise Lost and Found”

  1. Leslie Kasahara Says:

    Hey guys, I’m thoroughly enjoying your recap of travels & adventures. Definitely keep up the reporting. Had to comment on the women sitting behind you on the gringo boat: look a little out of the 18-30 year old range! HOT! 🙂

    –leslie (seisen classmate)

  2. Jontanen Says:

    You people! The trip looks awesome, we couldn’t want to YOU more 😉

    …and now a weatherreport from Sweden – its grey grey grey followed by some more grey. Enjoy the sun while it last. *)

    Take care

  3. cynthia cutler Says:

    It gets better and better. Please dont be too adventurous. I really felt my heart in my mouth when you mentioned jelly fish.

    Great blog. All is well in wet and cold Manchester.

  4. JB Says:

    Looks amazing….you cant use Paradise so often in one blog!
    I will stop reading through envy!!
    Great to see and hear all the adventures…want to be an Ickle tree monkey in my next life

  5. JB Says:

    Thinking of you both heaps xxxx

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