Brazil's Costa Verde
11.02.2012 - 17.02.2012 35 °C
Once in Rio, we were met by a bored looking transfer agent and got a four hour bus journey south to Paraty, we were the only people on a bus with space for 25 passengers, slept most of the way along the route of the beautiful Costa Verde in the dark and rain. We arrived in Paraty in ankle deep rain water.
The first morning in Paraty we met our guide, Michael, for a trek through the Atlantic subtropical forest. He showed is the Acai berry tree and said that he knew one of the four surfers that started exporting them to the States. After more conversation it turns out that Michael was brought up in Guernsey!! A small world for Mel. The forest was humid, but the hot trek was rewarded with the sight of a beautiful empty beach where we stopped for a swim. We then had a great fresh fish lunch at a fishing village, watching the village's boys play footy on the beach. On the way back we saw how the 'other two percent' lived in a gated community with some lovely houses, ..one day. There was a tropical storm in the evening, so we legged it to the closest restaurant and shared a pizza.
The following morning we had a 20min walk to a beach on the other side of Paraty from where we started our sea kayaking trip, another first time experience for Mel. Four hours paddling in the heat for 15km was quite tough, but we visited some beautiful bays and had a couple of refreshing swims, none accidental! We had a beer in the historic old town of Paraty with our trip companions Jim and Pat (both 60 ish). Jim had been volunteering for 6 weeks 700miles in land building community houses and his tales were very interesting. In the evening Mel and I went for a great dinner at a restaurant that we'd been recommended, including a big jug of Sangria! Paraty was lovely little town with great old Portuguese architecture, but with the rain we had, we left thinking that we needed an extra day to see it properly.
Now we were being bused up the coast an hour to a port for the 90mims crossing to Ilha Grande. We got there to a great Pousada Do Canto, with a nice swimming pool and front door that was accessed directly from the beach, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. In the evening we had our first Caprihinia's in Brazil while sat watching the stars on the beach, relaxing after an exhausting few weeks on the go.
Today we took a speed boat trip around the island. We got on first and were thankful to get a spot at the back of the boat in the shade - the mental driver gave the guys in the front seats an arse bashing over the Atlantic waves. We stopped at various different beautiful deserted beaches for swims and snorkelling. An early night today, as we've booked to do a couple of scuba dives tomorrow.
Scuba was nice and easy, great to get back into it. Only a max depth of 13m, but we saw a lot of different fish and a couple of green turtles. Met a nice English couple on the boat and in the evening, shared a lovely meal with them on the beach, fish Calderon (like a paella).
Unfortunately we had to leave Ilha Grande, could easily have spent a couple of weeks in the sun here. The island reminds me of Thailand, somewhere like Koh Lanta. No development, lots of green forests, long stretches of empty beaches, no internet, no worries.