After busy Rio we were looking for some chill time so headed to Ilha Grande. After a number of delays, we needed to get used to local travel again, we finally arrived at Ilha Grande. It is a beautiful small island located just off the coast. There are no cars and the locals carry everything to their hotels and supermarkets in wheel barrows.
We checked into our hostel and we were sharing with a group of boys who live in ‘Clapham Old Town’ I knew they weren’t originally from South London as no one says that unless your really posh!
We headed straight to the beach and enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine.
The next day we decided to head to Lopes Mendez, a beach on the other side of the island, a two hour hike away. The hike way very up and down and we saw some stunning wildlife with birds and monkeys on the way. The beach has white sand and big waves and was a perfect place to relax. Most people we met decided to get the boat back but after having to pay £7 for a bottle of water we decided to save the £12 and hike back. It was pretty tough going but we made it! That evening we met Leane and Adam in the cheapest restaurant on the island and decided to head to the shop for a few beers. We sat on the pier and chatted the night away. They are both from Arlie Beach in Australia, a place which we loved! Ilha Grande is a chilled place and everything goes quiet at around 11.
Our next location was Paraty. A little town a few hours away. We had a great hostel with hammocks everywhere to relax in. We met Meshi from Israel and decided to head to the walking tour.
This turned out to be amazing and the local guide gave us so much information about the town. Including the influence of the Freemasons on the buildings in the town. We had to spot the symbolism in every building, which turned out to be pretty easy once you knew what you were looking for. We ended the tour with a group Kaporia lesson. I was invited into the circle at the end to dance with the guide which was great! Luckily I had those lessons when I was young! – I had a head start on the others.
The next day we caught the local bus to Toboga Falls, a waterfall where the rock formation is so smooth it’s used as a slide. We had no idea where to get off so copied when a English couple jumped off! The locals go down on their feet like the are skiing but us gringos have to go on our bumbs. It was pouring with rain but as we were getting wet anyway it didn’t matter. We had 15 minutes until the bus came so for £2 we headed into the liquor shop. We tried the local liquor which was delicious. Nathan liked the chocolate ones of course.
That evening I headed to a restaurant with Meshi where we tried and the local cocktails and Nathan hung out with Brad.
The following day we travelled by night bus to São Paulo hoping to catch a early bus to Iguacu Falls. Unfortunately all they had available was another night bus, leaving us with about 10 hours to kill. I used this time efficiently to finish the new season on Gilmore Girls. We met a guy from Madrid who had been travelling for 2 years and still had 3 to go! He said that he doesn’t fly and doesn’t have a phone or a laptop and communicates with his family via letters. He didn’t have a phone but spent a while borrowing Nathan’s phone to look at maps etc. Each to their own….
This route is known for armed robberies so I was pleased when we made it without any issues (apart from not that much sleep)
We arrived on the Brazilian side of Iguacu and headed to our hostel. It was early when we arrived and we couldn’t check in so we decided to jump on the local bus to the falls.
After crossing over the road a couple of times we finally reached the right bus stop. There was a massive queue at the falls and it is pretty expensive!! Once you go through the ticket area you hop on a bus and travel to the viewing stations. As soon as we got off the bus we were surrounded by Coati which were stealing people’s packed lunches left right and centre.
The falls are incredible, massive and so powerful. You are able to walk out on a platform and you feel as if you are going to be swept away by the water. We were lucky enough to see a rainbow in the devils mouth (the highlight of the falls) which was absolutely beautiful.
The next day we were up early to catch the local bus to cross the boarder. Using local transport is slow and you are often in limbo somewhere hoping you are going to be picked up. Luckily all went smoothly and we had crossed into Argentina.
Until next time….