Hello paradise! Ilha Grande literally means “Big Island”; it’s big and beautiful!
Another crazy four-hour bus trip and a close to sunset time boat transfer later, we arrive at this sandy paradise. There are chairs and tables set up for candle-lit dinners with beautiful views of water and boats. The island has no cars or motorcycles, other than a small handful of commercial ones, and is completely covered in quirky little shops and people selling tours.
We got a little lost to our hostel, which was hidden at the top of a hill, along a short winding forest track, over a bridge and up a heap of stairs. The place literally felt like a resort! We got our own little cabin, with a shower big enough to swing a cat around in, a small porch out the front and a quiet view of cats in the gardens. We think the owner here may have been a little fond of cats – in most places we’ve been so far every one has dogs, but we counted at least ten cats here. After settling in and unpacking a little we walked back into the main strip of the island for one of the candle-lit café’s churrasco style dinner. The skewers were huge; we shared a plate between us that came with two skewers, rice, beans and a salad. We caught the last little glimpse of sun going down and settled in for a relaxing night, reflecting on our trip so far.
Up early on Tuesday, we decided to walk around to one of the island’s many beaches, “Praia Preta” or as it is in English, Black Beach. Being at least 35 degrees and 98% humidity we definitely need use a lot of sunscreen. Heading back into town we found a restaurant to chill out at and enjoy the view, and the people watching. Brasil has it’s own favourite beer called Antarctica Original, the alcohol in general is pretty cheap generally in Brasil, but these beers in 600ml cost anywhere between R$8-$12 ($3-4.5aud). The soft drinks cost the same if not more, and water isn’t much cheaper, so the obvious choice whilst travelling is to drink beer, right? Dinner was another of the specialty pizzas, this time we remembered not to order one with the cream cheese on it.
This island truly felt like the perfect holiday destination. There are so many touristy shops, offshore excursions and walks to do. We’d both been struggling with the heat a little (and the constant excessive sweating), being in the shade under a giant tree with the breeze was the perfect way to spend the day at Ilha Grande. This is a place that both of us definitely want to come back to and spend more time at!