We got multiple recommendations to go to Ilha Grande which is a large paradise island with beaches, hike paths in the rainforest and boat trips in the sunshine.
All this is very nice, but. It does require one thing: Sunshine!
This was the view of Ilha Grande from the ferry, we had our hopes high and thought that this will most likely clear up, if not later the same day, at least tomorrow. Oh how wrong we were.
Our plan was to celebrate Linns birthday on the beach, maybe drinking a caipirinha and enjoying the warm weather. The weather did not lend itself to just hanging out on the beach, this is why we took upon us to explore a little. There are paths through the rain forest on the island to secluded small beaches, the supposedly most beautiful one a 2-3 hour hike away.
We set out to hike our way to this secluded beach, bringing money for a boat back “just in case”. After reaching the first beach on the trail after one and a half hour we took a break, ate some of the food we brought. And then it started, a rain that would last for 36 hours, if not longer!
Even though it rained we rolled out a beach towel and took a dip in the sea, no way that we walked this far for nothing. After concluding that it is not too nice to sunbathe in the rain we found a boat that took us back to Abraoo.
We did have a good evening with caipirinhas on the pier, watching the lights from all the restaurants on the beach. But if you go to Ilha Grande, make sure that the sun will be out!
After taking the ferry from a rainy Ilha Grande to Angra dos Reis we were to take the bus to Paraty.
During our research before we found out the following: The nice, comfortable bus run by Costa Verde that stops in Angra and continues to Paraty does not sell tickets for this part of the journey. Instead we are to take the Colitur bus which leaves more or less 2 times an hour all day but is not very comfortable. It is actually a regular city bus that is used for a longer trip.
Our hostel manager let us know that this is the only option, and that it leaves from the last bus hut on the docks when walking away from where the ferry drops you off. At the price of €2.50 it might not be worth to complain about the comfort. The bus works as any other city bus, you get on, pay, pass the turnstile and sit down.
This was our view for the 1 hour and 50 minutes that the journey took. Every speed bump meant that the seat first left you underneath and then came back and hit you real hard. But it was cheap.
Wednesday it was time for us to to leave Rio for Ilha Grande, but first a one night stop in Angra dos Reis. We asked in the hostel where we could find the bus to the big bus station of Rio. The first thing they wonder: “why are you staying there – what are you guys doing there?”. But they kindly helped us and told us there was a direct bus so there was no need for the local bus.
After a quick lunch at Domino’s we found the bus stop and then the long wait for the direct bus started. We are getting used wait for everything in Brazil so far but somewhere during our wait another bus showed up and the sign said “Rodoviario” – “Bus station”. This was the local bus.
This bus took an hour but we were arriving there in time for the bus leaving at 02.00 pm if we would be in Sweden, but we’re not. The man in the ticket booth walked away, said something in Portuguese and disappeared for a while and came back with more paper and coffee. We stood in line for 30 minutes and it was more or less four people in front of us. Able to enter the bus departing at 03.00 pm we started our bus life.
The bus ride is supposed to take three hours. After one and a half we stopped for a food break somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Someone threw up and we took an extra trip to like four small villages to maybe pick up people (no one were there). After more like four hours we reached our destination. The first bus ride of who knows how many was done. We arrived to a rainy and quiet Angra dos Reis, very quiet compared to Rio.
The bus we took from the bus station in Rio was the one of Costa Verde, it is a Semi-cama which means that it has nice seats that recline a lot, not really a bed, but completely possible to sleep in. The bus cost us €11 each.
Downtown Angra dos Reis.
As I told earlier our hostel visit in Ipanema would be my second in life. The hostel was pretty nice and very friendly. Before we started our trip I was afraid that living in hostels would be the hardest thing but it is with no doubt the mosquitoes.
But let’s take a look at the first hostel in this trip.
As you can see the hostel had a pool, and plenty of areas to socialize with other guests. Overall it was very clean and both the guests and staff was very friendly. We paid about €10 per night which must be considered good at this location.
The last evening in a very good restaurant with two new people from the hostel. It sas a nice evening/night.
The hostel had tips how to cure a hangover. This hostel can be found here.
Our last day in Santa Teresa was last Sunday and we went out in the afternoon to get some Arabic food that we had read about earlier and to visit the museum CCBB. It was a bit empty in the streets but nothing that we thought of as much until we were hungry. The whole city seemed to be closed. No Arabic food for us and we had trouble to find something at all.
At last we found an open restaurant that served seafood. A bit pricey if you took a quick look at the menu but to save our or/and others life we decided to take a chance. A good one it turned out. The restaurant that we found was called Porto Novo and can be found here.
The interior was stylish and the staff was very friendly and helpful. After a little problem to order, due to the language we had a good fish called “peixe amorada” – “boyfriend fish” and lots of beers. You always get so much food when you order food here in Brazil. We shared a fish dish and the staff was like “if you’re hungry – don’t share”. It was an amazing fish but no way we’d eaten more than we did.
Happy and satisfied we went on to the museum. Frightened by the incredibly long lines to the house before we knew it was a special exhibition. We went to the other two exhibitions (one good and one about the history of Banco do Brazil and all their coins – all in Portuguese).
Later on we understood that the brazilian people had a long weekend off and that may have caused the long lines as well as everything being closed.
We had a great night out with some new friends from the hostel. They talked both Portuguese and English and we where able to fully understand the menu and what people where asking us. Maybe a little too many beers and some shot of Cachaca later we went back to the hostel. We were a bit hungover this morning but it could be worse. The hostel is great and lots of nice people hanging around all the time.
This is our last full day in Rio for a couple of months and we decided to take a Favela tour and save the sugar loaf until later because it was a bit rainy.
On the tour we visited a school that the tour guide is a big sponsor of and most of the money we paid him for doing the tour, he is donating to them.
We visited the biggest favela, Rocinha.
We went a bit up in the favela and it was maybe the best view Rio has offered us so far.
After a shopping stop and like 100 pics of this view and some history about the favelas, we went back to our hostel. We can really recommend the favela tour of www.favelatour.com.br at €18
It’s time to leave the apartment we rent via airbnb. Two weeks of some sort of vacation and getting used to the climate, to have an ocean between us and Sweden (the first thing Jon said to me after we arrived: “I want to go home”), to the traffic and how extremely slow people are in stores. We have enjoyed our stay here. The apartment as said before is located in Santa Teresa/Lapa/Centro and that location is pretty great. We have been able to walk most everywhere. We are happy that we didn’t stay in the Santa Teresa mountains – it would have been harder to reach bars/clubs/stores in the night.
Some pictures of the first two weeks from the neighborhood
The room – it’s small but it works (I think this is what we in Sweden refer to as “effektiv planlösning”).
A cinema in Santa Teresa.
On our way up to Santa Teresa.
We are ready to move and explore more. We are staying in Rio for a couple of more days before we leave for Ilha Grande. Tomorrow a new era will begin for me – the hostel life. I have only stayed in a hostel once before in Barcelona and that was a non-pleasant experience. But this hostel near the Ipanema beach looks fine and have good reviews so I’m in a good mood. Jon thinks I’m a bit ridiculous and I am sure that I am.