Nov 21, 2008
May 29, 2009
We boarded the morning bus from Paraty which would take us to Angra where we would board the boat to Ilha Grande. The bus ride was 3 hours of the most beautiful Brazilian scenery you could have wished for as the bus wound it's way along the coast of Brazil over the rocky hills of the mainland giving a superb view of some of the hundreds of islands that dot the coast of South America on its way to our next destination - Ilha Grande. We arrived at Angra at around 1 and boarded a boat straight away that would take us to the island. As soon as the boat left the pier I began to relax as the boat glided along past the green tropical islands on the way and I knew that we were all in for 3 days of holiday bliss. Ilha Grande is a little slice of heaven fallen to earth, one of the largest islands off the Brazilian coast it still retains a quaint friendly character and the clean and pretty wooden buildings that make up the restaurants and hotels in the town only accentuate the chilled out atmosphere. For a start there are no cars on the island and its incredible how this seeming small change has a radical difference on the pace of life, secondly the unique Brazilian lifestyle is infused into everything here and the locals and their tanned flawless figures embody the healthy active lifestyle on the island. One day on the island I took the Caipirinha boat to the blue lagoon and a selection of secluded bays and met some really fun people. We drank Caipirinha, ate beautifully barbecued food and tropical salads and dived off the boat to swim and snorkel in the cool clear waters amongst the islands of the Atlantic for the entire day before returning to Ilha Grande for dusk, the end of a most magnificent day. Another day we hiked along the coast of the island to the various beaches on the way to Lopes Mendes, one of Brazil's most renowned beaches, the fine white sand was extremely soft and would rival any of the Australian beaches that are familiar to me and with the background of the emerald island mountains of the coast it was truly a stunning scene to while away the rest of the day in the gorgeous sunshine. Lopes Mendes is on the east coast of the island and so the continuous sets of 4 to 6 feet waves are perfect for surfing so after taking the plunge and exhausting myself catching waves, I lay on the beach and read my book until it was time to go. Tomorrow we leave for Rio de Janeiro and although the prospect of seeing this much vaunted city is exciting, having to leave the island is saddening. It is just so relaxing here, so calming, so beautiful and so refreshing that I could stay indefinitely, although my new found desire to explore the world pulls me toward places undiscovered, there will always be a little tug on my heart strings to try and return to this place. The definition of the word paradise comes no closer than the Brazilian island of Ilha Grande.