Ilha Grande; A week in paradise

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
Trip End Nov 29, 2014

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Where I stayed
Che Lagarto Hostel Ilha Grande
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Brazil  , Rio de Janeiro,
Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Arriving on Ilha Grande (IG), a 193sq km island with a restriction on building, no vehicles; the only way to get around is by boat or to trek through the Atlantic Rainforest. Home to a number of endangered species such as the howler monkey (we heard them screaming at us when we passed through their territory one trek) and a population of 1,900 it's a fairly tight-knit community. I was most relived to see fewer mangy cats littering the streets.

However while there were less felines lazing around, we were instead welcomed with a lot of dogs, big dogs.

Shaking dog fear from my hair, coupled with a quick bite to eat at our hostel Che Lagato (home for the next week) we set sail on a boat trip to the nearby beach Polmo... . this was followed by a 20 minute trek through the "venomous snake infested" jungle and we had arrived at Lopez Mendez! (See picture below)

Sublime, paradise and breath-taking were just some of the descriptions Tash and I came up with for this jawdropping beach.

To use all the cliches, it has prestine white-powder sand stretching for 2.8km, a ban on all boats entering the bay, swirling and at times dangerous currents that would test the strongest of swimmers (don't worry, I held my own with my Olympic standard breaststroke).

Shade was sought only by delving under the trees and bushes towards the back of the beach while a quick dip in the drink, was the perfect way to cool off. The best beach I've ever been too, and I've been to Scarborough as a 10-year old.

What a week of food it's been on IG! Each morning (bar one) began with a hearty breakfast of fresh fruit, coffee, bread rolls, jams, cereal, but it was in the evening when the food cranked up a gear. As IG is an island there isn't much in the way of amenities or supermarkets, so eating out is the done thing each evening. Well, that was our excuse anyway.

Seafood Risotto, freshly grilled fish, steaks, per kilo restaurants (essentially a buffet providing any food you can imagine where), as the name suggests, the customers pays per kilo of food, a very cheap and varied way to eat.

We've eaten well, healthily and not had to break the bank to do so. Bringing snacks from the mainline was insightful, which meant that we could eat a large breakfast, snack in the afternoon and then feast in the evening. To all of Tash's family, you've be glad to hear that she's still feeding dogs at the table, a real sucker for the docile, hungry eyes of a Labrador, much to the displeasure of the restaurant owners.

Luna de Mar probably gets our vote for the best restaurant on the island. This is your typical sea-front bar, with deck-chairs leading all the way to the sea. Digging your feet in the sands while suppin' your chilled cans... Ahhhhh

My time on IG has given me the chance to tweak and expand my Deutsch vocabulary, IG seems to be a magnet for German. Naturally, I've tried to utilise the 'C' in German I achieved around 12 years ago...

Whilst trying to impress our Deutsch Freudian, we discussed the days of the week, colours of the rainbows, and finally pets, brilliant I thought.
"Ich habe einen Katze, sie Heibe Tiggie..." Cue the laughter. From then on, only English was spoken.

We've suffered our first bouts of illness already and we're less than two weeks in... Tash has had an upset stomach for the past few days but seems to be over it now.

A few nights ago, I took a routine trip to the toilet while out for dinner. While washing my hands, I allowed a small, practically silent fart to escape from within me, no biggie I thought. Within half a second I realised that, yes, I'd sharted myself. I saw my shocked, scared face stare back and me followed by a dash to the nearby toilet which I'd just vacated...luckily there was plenty of big roll left.

There's no shame in admitting this, but anyone reading this blog and considering a trip to IG please don't be put off by the odd shart, it's inevitable, like the turning of the tide or the rising of the sun. Embrace it.

Wildlife in and around the island, has picked up a knotch since leaving mainland Brazil. You have to be on your guard at times, be it from jellyfish and stingray on the beach, or monkeys in the jungle. It appears to us that the vultures seem to be at the top of the food chain on IG. The grace and fury they adopted when swooping and diving in the open sea to catch prey is quite a spectacle.

What was most memorable was the ferocity with which they dismembered their breakfast; a half-dead but fully defeated stingray, upon an upturned canoe in the morning sunshine. David Attenborough, eat your heart out!

IG isn't just for beach bums and sun tans, being where it is, it's perfect for treks in the jungle, with 150km of treks for the experienced walker.

Us: "How far is it to this waterfall?"
American guy:"Oh, about...40 minutes...... it's totally worth it"

40 mins later, sweating, panting and dehydrated.... We saw a sign with a big smiley face stating that we were in fact only half way to the waterfall. After climbing our way through jungle, fighting the pains and mosquitoes... We can say its definitely not totally worth it.

Not overwhelmed with our hostel, Che Lagato. The 'party' atmosphere was maybe a bit too much for us, but on the whole the staff were friendly enough, but their pushy approach each morning, trying to get everyone on their overpriced boat trips grew tiresome pretty quickly.

At the time of writing, it's raining, and raining hard. Our boat arrives in 2 hours and this is our first wet morning on IG. Guess it's the perfect time to move on...

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Meg on

David your beard should not be that big already!
Never heard the word shart! Shit and fart, clever!!
You sounded like Tash at the beginning, nice to know your becoming one: )
X x m

X x m on

BTW this is all very pro, loving it! Better than my Facebook malarky x x

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