Ilha Grande is a 7 hour bus trip from Sao Paulo. This was our first long day-time bus ride. We were a little concerned we would get restless sitting still for that long in the day time. We were also sitting in different places on the bus, as we booked our tickets the day before. Luck wasn’t going my way, as I sat behind the most annoying man ever made. He snorted every few minutes, such a hearty snort that it made my skin crawl. Then he fully reclined his chair, so he was basically in my lap for the whole trip. A night bus I could understand, but it was 8am in the morning. Nobody should be sleeping then! To top it all off, the bus driver locked the bathroom on the bus, so we had to run to the bathrooms at each of the 2 hourly stops.
We had wanted to go to Ilha Grande after Rio De Janeiro, as it is only a 2 hour bus trip from there. However, we couldn’t get into any of the hostels, so we did a big loop back from Sao Paulo. We had heard it was party island, so we were ready for a week of drinking and lazing on the beach. We missed the last ferry, but managed to get on another boat heading over to the island. We sat at the front of the boat, drinking beer, watching the sun set, and thinking that life was pretty good.
Our hostel, the Biergarten, was lovely. It was the nicest one we had been to yet. As it was evening, we were ready for a few drinks and some dinner. We wandered the few streets that there were and found most places were closed. Where was party island? We went back to the hostel to ask Vitor at reception where the party was. He responded “oh Ilha Grande has no night life, it’s a day island”. This became our motto for the trip. So off we went to bed, now thinking of the sun bathing and relaxing we had ahead of us.
We walked to a number of beaches and to a waterfall in the next two days. There were snakes and monkeys in the forest, but we didn’t see any. The snakes are highly poisonous, so it wasn’t nice to know how close we were to them. The beaches were all very nice and the water was warm. It was easy to see why so many people come to the island.
We also did a half island boat trip. They took us out in a speed boat to little beaches. The driver fed the fish, so there were thousands of them around the boat. Then we put on leaky snorkel masks and jumped in with them. It was the first time I’ve felt what it might be like to be a fish! There wasn’t a huge range of fish to be seen and when then weren’t being fed there weren’t many left. However, it was a lot of fun. We stopped for lunch at a little restaurant and had a fish dish with beans. It was nice to warm up, as we were getting cold sitting in the boat soaking wet and flying from beach to beach. It was also raining that day, so it was quite a bit cooler than we have gotten used to. At one point all my fingers and toes were blue and my thumbs went numb, so I decided it was time to get out.
We met up with a Canadian girl, a kiwi guy and three Germans. We ended up having most of our dinners with them. It was a fun group of people. One night we went to watch live reggae at the Kebab Lounge, which turned out not to be reggae, but still pretty good. All the songs were ones we knew. We could have been sitting in a bar in New Zealand. I also had the nicest BBQ steak skewers, that were just heavenly.
The day we left Ilha Grande I woke up with a cold. It was a miserable trip back for me on the ferry and then a 2 hour bus ride to Paraty.