Our next stop was Ilha Grande, Brazil´s third biggest tropical island known for it´s beauty. There are no ATMs on the island, which we knew, but still managed to set off with very little cash. No problem we thought – we´ll grab some money when we get to the port. 2 slightly hungover hours later we find the ´port´is a wooden jetty with a coconut shack at the one end. Hmmm.
Ilha Grande is about 98% uninhabited hilly jungle. The boat drops you off in the only village which consists of 4 sandy streets. There are no vehicles* – except for the go-kart used by the police – so everyone wanders barefooted aimlessly, in and out of tiny beach bars and cafes. It´s got a bit of a hippy festival vibe to it , and feels very local with the majority of tourists here being Brazilian.
*As we were leaving on our last day we saw our only vehicle – a giant JCB carrying about 20 rusty fridges and ovens!
The village has a stretch of sand but all other beaches are reached by boat or trekking through the jungle. After a sweaty 2.5hrs through the rainforest (more monkeys, throwing acorns at us) and scrambling over waterfalls we reached Lopez Mendes, one of Brazil´s most acclaimed beautiful beaches. Despite the sand being as white and fine as flour and some good surfing going on, we were pretty underwhelmed! To be honest we preferred the numerous hideawy coves we´d passed en route.
2.5hrs was enough – we got a taxi boat back.
Whether it´s due to it being low season (although still 34+ degrees), mid-week or people just too lazy to find their way through the jungle, the beaches are deliciously quiet. Just us, calm turquoise waters and the odd coconut seller.
Oh and the occasional puppy bounding in and out of the ocean. The dogs of Brazil deserve a post of their own… their national dog seems to be the sausage dog which makes me VERY happy.
5 nights on the island and we´re feeling pretty chilled. This place practically forces you to drink beer and watch the sunset.