Big adventures on Ilha Grande

We are just on the bus to São Paulo after having spent two nights in Angra Dos Reis. Everything in Rio went smoothly. We had a fab Uber driver who looked at us in disbelief as we told him about our plans: ‘you’re travelling round South America?’; ‘on your own?’; ‘for five months?’; ‘you’ll be working in a chicken farm?!’. Not a very reassuring response but he was excited for us too.

We arrived in Angra about 4pm and it was chucking it down. The whole town looked deserted and the very unhelpful woman in the bus station told us to just get in taxi when we asked for directions to our hostel, which turned out to be about 300m away from the bus station. The taxi driver then told us that he’d never heard of our hostel but drove us up and down the road until we could figure out which building it was – it wasn’t very clearly signposted! By the time we made it inside the Hostel both of us were feeling very sorry for ourselves and trying not to panic – where the hell had we ended up?!

As the hostel, Hostel Dos Reis, had very few occupants we got our four bed dorm to ourselves – it was tiny so we couldn’t see how anyone else would have fit anyway! The hostel wasn’t as nice as the one in Rio and seemed to have a bit of an issue with damp, but it did the trick and the owners were nice.

Determined not to sit around being miserable we set out in search of a supermarket despite the rain. As we got closer to the town we saw a few more people wondering around and started to feel a bit better – but we added some chocolate to our shop to cheer ourselves up nonetheless! It seems like everything has more flavour here, even the chocolate tastes more chocolatey!

We also met some lovely German girls who were coming to the end of their 6 months of travelling South America gave us some advice about how to get to Ilha Grande.

In the morning, it had finally stopped raining but it was very cloudy. We headed off to the port to find a tour of the island. There are hundreds to choose from and you can also just get a ferry or taxi boat over to the island and do your own things for the day. We chose a speedboat tour called Super Lagoa Azul which took us to the Blue Lagoon, a few beautiful beaches on Ilha Grande and another of the smaller islands called Ilhas de Cataguases. The tour lasted five hours and cost us R€130 each, which translates to £29.60- not too shabby!

The boat was equipped with snorkelling masks and noodles which we were free to use if we wanted. The fish, particularly in the Lagoa Azul, were beautiful and we had a great time taking videos and photos underwater.

We had just arrived at our second stop when a little drama was injected into our tour! As she was getting off the boat, one of the women on our tour fell into the shallow water and (we think) smacked her leg pretty badly on the boat. She had to be helped/carried back onto the boat and at the next stop was picked up by Coastguards to be taken back to Angra! At this beach we also stopped for lunch and tried the famous Brazilian sorbet of Acaí with granola and leite condensada. It was yummy but not our favourite Brazilian delicacy so far!

Drama over, we continued our tour but by then it had started raining. Rachel and I moved to the front of the boat and were hit in the face with rain droplets as we sped on, practically jumping over the waves.

We also visited the first Brazilian beach discovered by the Portuguese conquerors, where they had built a church in 1842. On that same beach we also bought a coconut but are pretty sure they overcharged us because they realised we weren’t Brazilian. It cost R$10 rather than the usual R$5/6, but we were just happy for a refreshing drink.

On the tour, the only other lady who spoke English was from São Paulo and she gave us lots of tips about where to stay and what to do. We will be staying in Vila Madalena following her advice as it’s known for its vibrant night life.

After the tour we headed back to the hostel soaked through from head to toe. A warm shower never felt so good! We spent the evening watching movies and feeling very thankful that we hadn’t run away from Angra on the next bus to São Paulo – our trip was definitely worth it!

Cake update: this hostel also provided cake for breakfast but it was drier than the desert and not a particularly interesting flavour!

Alissia and Rachel xo


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Two recent graduates from The University of Manchester, travelling South America from January- May 2018. Follow us on our 5 month journey through Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador (and the Galapagos), Colombia and Cuba as we learn how to dance, cook, meet the locals and have an amazing time! Follow our Instagram for some really cool snaps at @chicas.viajeras #sigueviajando

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