Gorgeous beaches, wild camping and muddy roads (cycling Barra Grande)

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South America » Brazil » Bahia
May 23rd 2014
Published: September 3rd 2014
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How peaceful and beautiful!How peaceful and beautiful!How peaceful and beautiful!

We loved Barra Grande!
We got up at 4am in order to catch the first boat out of Boipeba. At first we thought we’d have to go all the way back to Valenca (where we had caught the ferry to Morro de Sao Paulo a few days earlier) and then cycle to Camamu (100km on the BA-001 = good road), but actually we found out we could catch a boat to a tiny village called Torino, and from there we’d have to ride 20km on a very dubious trail + 35km on the BA-001 to Camamu. We were worried: if the locals themselves said the road out of Torino was bad, then it must be in VERY bad condition! But we figured 20km of bad trail would not take any longer than 60km on a good road so we decided to try our luck with the shorter option. It was risky given the fact that so far on this trip we had ridden on so many bad roads (with sand, mud, puddles) but when we disembarked at Torino, we were told to wait for a bus… To our surprise the driver asked us to carry the bikes inside the bus (not in the lower baggage
Breakfast is ready!!!Breakfast is ready!!!Breakfast is ready!!!

Barra Grande, May 2014
hold) and he took us all the way to the junction with the BA-001 without asking for any extra money! We were thrilled because these 20km we did on the bus would have been difficult: it was very steep and the road was all potholes and ditches. And on top of this, as soon as we got in the bus it started pouring rain! We were delighted not to be riding this time!

It was all smooth on the BA-001 to Camamu in spite of the many climbs and the rain showers. We managed to find shelter every time and we got to Camamu earlier than expected. The plan was to have lunch there but as we got into town, I saw this bakery and it looked like a popular place with lots of people going in and out. I asked for 2 pieces of pineapple cake (dessert always tastes better before the meal!) and we got 2 gigantic slices! Brazilian size! The best! We laughed and took photos before enjoying these enormous treats.

As soon as we got to the dock in Camamu there was a boat leaving for Barra Grande (village on the tip of a peninsula) so we threw our bikes on the roof and hoped next to the watermelons and chickens! It was a slow and relaxing boat ride to Barra Grande. We made friends with the funniest Brazilian man who transformed into Mime Marceau to communicate with us. We clearly understood he liked fishing and barbecuing the fish afterwards. As a language teacher in China, I also need to use body language with my students all the time, so it wasn’t too hard for me to make him understand how pleased we were with Brazilian portions, Brazilian music and Brazilian bikinis! ;-)

The weather was super sunny when we got to Barra Grande. We were extremely excited about the beautiful pink-golden beach and blue water. And there was hardly anyone there! The entire village seemed asleep. We rode around town (3 long streets and that’s it) to explore our eating and sleeping options for the night. Since the place was so quiet, we thought it’d be easy to find a place to pitch our tent but actually even if the village center was very small, we realized that there were fancy houses built all along the shore of Barra Grande. Streets were
Looking good?!Looking good?!Looking good?!

And clean!
mostly sand and we didn’t see any car, just motorbikes and a few people walking to the beach. We followed the coast and settled down for the afternoon on a deserted beach just a few minutes from the heart of town. We jumped into the warm water and scrubbed ourselves with the fine sand (our daily shower!) and then took a nap on the beach. It was paradise! After a couple of hours I decided to go for a ride on the beach in order to see how long it would take to find a quiet place to camp. I rode for a couple of kilometers but there were houses all along the beach. Eventually as the sun was setting I spotted another long gorgeous beach without any house development right behind. It was all coconut trees and tall grass: perfect for us!

After watching the sunset we had an okay dinner in town (most restaurants were closed in the off-season = winter), we rinsed ourselves up in the bathroom at the restaurant and rode back on the beach as the tide was going up. It was dark and we had to use our headlights on the beach to
in company of Bahia's best mime artist!in company of Bahia's best mime artist!in company of Bahia's best mime artist!

Great memory! Keep smiling!
avoid the soft sand and the rocks. Earlier on I had lined up a few stones to indicate the spot I had chosen so that we wouldn’t miss it in the dark. We then turned our lights off and quietly pitched our tent to avoid attracting any attention.

The following morning was cloudy and I felt very disappointed because the beach we slept on was so beautiful under the sun the previous day. We hung out a couple of hours hoping it would clear up but it started raining so we decided to get going, to Itacare. We’d be riding along the peninsula instead of catching a boat back to Camamu. We knew it was a dirt road for 50km but we didn’t expect it to be so muddy. We were unlucky and it rained on us pretty much the entire day… We spent hours trying to avoid the potholes and the puddles. My dad was smart and he rode slowly so he didn’t get splashed too badly but I got covered! We had planned to stop at various beaches on the way (to swim in natural pools at low tide) but because of the grey weather and the
Hello Barra!Hello Barra!Hello Barra!

Beautiful beach in Barra Grande, Bahia
rain, we didn’t. We just kept going and tried to stay positive and laugh at how ridiculous this all bike trip had become with the sand, the mud, the steep hills, the potholes and the rain…

Around 5pm it was getting dark so we took a left on a side road, a few kilometers before getting back on the BA-001. We carried our bikes behind some bush and we set up camp on dark sand (under the rain still!). This was the quietest place we found in the entire trip and we slept so well! There were some kinds of rice fields not far and we walked there to rinse off the mud from our legs and faces… We looked like bums! We still had a few kilometers of mud and potholes before we reached tarmac again the next morning and we were delighted to be back on the main road! But we had forgotten that the BA-001 is all up and down with very severe up-hills. We had to get off the bikes and push…

Fortunately a nice shower, a good meal and the most stunning beaches were waiting for us in Itacare!

- 4h du matin: on se leve et plie la tente dans le noir.

- 4h30: petit dejeuner a l’embarcadere en attendant le bateau pour Torino

- 4h50: on nous dit que la route qui relie le village de Torino a la BA-001 (la grande route) est super mauvaise et que ca va etre tres difficile de rouler. On commence a se faire du souci et on hesite a y aller. Finalement une dame nous dit de la suivre et on embarque.

- 5h10: le vent est frais sur la bras de mer. On se fait meme asperger mais le paysage de mangroves est superbe.

- 6h: on arrive a Torino. Il y a 2 maisons et une petit magasin ou les patrons nous attendent avec du café et du gateau a la noix de coco! On nous dit de patienter, qu’un bus va arriver…

- 6h15: les 2 velos sont dans le bus et nous roulons tranquillement sur cette route toute cabossee et il se met a pleuvoir: nous sommes bien contents d’etre a l’abris!

- 7h30: on arrive a l’intersection avec la BA-001: on vient d’eviter plus de 20km de mauvaise route! En scelle! Il nous reste encore au moins 40km, mais au moins c’est du goudron!

- 9h10: il pleut des cordes mais ca ne dure pas longtemps.

- 11h10: on arrive enfin a Camamu après des dizaines de montees et descentes.

- Midi: on mange une grosse part de gateau et on achete des provisions si jamais on doit cuisiner dans les jours a venir.

- 12h45: on embarque pour Barra Grande sur un bateau en bois qui transporte des pasteques et des ananas. Il y a meme quelques eleves qui ont fini l’ecole pour aujourd’hui. Au Bresil les enfants vont a l’ecole soit le matin, soit l’apresmidi. Un des eleves parle anglais (son papa est israelien) et il nous explique que ses parents vont souvent en Inde pour acheter des habits, des bijoux qu’ils revendent dans une boutique a Barra Grande.

- 13h20: on sympathise avec un Bresilien qui s’avere etre l’egal du mime Marceau. Entre 2 eclats de rire, il nous fait comprendre qu’il aime pecher et cuisiner du poisson, et qu’il vient a Barra Grand pour rendre visite a un ami. J’utilise a mon tour mes 2 mains pour lui montrer a quel point nous sommes ravis de notre experience a Bahia, des sourires qui nous accueillent partout de la taille des gateaux bresiliens et de celle des bikinis locaux! ;-)

- 14h: on debarque a Barra Grande sous un soleil de plomb et un superbe ciel bleu: la mer est limpide, il y a des cocotiers de partout… on va se plaire ici!

- 14h15: on repere les lieux et fait le tour du petit village. Tout semble trqnauille. Les restaurants sont fermes ou vides; la plupart des maisons aussi. Il y a egalement tres peu de gens a la plage.

- 14h45: on trouve une plage jolie et deserte… on s’installe pour l’apres-midi et on fait notre lessive sous les cocotiers.

- 17h: en velo sur la plage, je pedale sur quelques kilometres afin d etrouver un endroit ou piquer la tente. Le soleil se couche doucement: la vue sur l’ocean est sublime.

- 19h: gros dinner au village + douche dans les toilettes…

- 20h30: nous montons la tente a 50 metres de la plage, sous les cocotiers.

- 21h: papa dort déjà… Bonne nuit!

- 6h: on se reveille + on se baigne! Il fait beau mais de gros nuages menacent…

- 6h30: petit dejeuner sous les cocotiers (café, pain, gateau, bananes)

- 7h: premiere averse…

- 7h30: on essaie de profiter de quelques rayons de soleil…

- 8h: nouvelle averse

- 9h: on aimerait profiter de cette sublime plage mais il semble que le temps ne va faire qu’empirer… autant partir et faire des kilometres.

- 10h: nous sommes sur la route de terre qui mene a Itacare. Mais avec la pluie, le chemin est couvert de boue et de flaques. Ca ne va pas etre joli!

- 11h: averses, boue, flaques …

- 12h: on s’arrete sur une plage ou il y a un restaurant et un camping… on dejeune a l’abris alors la pluie s’abbat sur la region.

- 13h-16h: on roule doucement en evitant les trous et les flaques. Je suis couvert de boue… je charie Papa; il doit etre heureux d’etre venu au Bresil!

- 16h: on commence a chercher un endroit pour camper mais nous nous eloignons des plages et ce sont des marecages autour de nous.

- 17h20: juste avant que le soleil se couche, on s’engage sur un chemin perpendiculaire a la route que l’on suit et on trouve un endroit super tranquille entre des buissons et la foret. Nous sommes a 10 metres de la route mais super bien caches derriere ces herbes hautes. On monte la tente… sous la pluie.

- 17h45: on se rince les jambes dans les champs innondes

- 18h30: on dine sous la tente: au menu? Des pates au thon evidemment (pour changer!)!

- 19h20: papa dort déjà…

Additional photos below
Photos: 103, Displayed: 30


on our way out of Boipebaon our way out of Boipeba
on our way out of Boipeba

going through the mangroves
We were asked to bring our bikes up in the bus. We were asked to bring our bikes up in the bus.
We were asked to bring our bikes up in the bus.

Thanks for the lift! And it started raining as soon as we got in! Perfect timing!
on the road again!on the road again!
on the road again!

up and down to Camamu

3rd September 2014
For Mommy! ;-)

thank you !
good life my son !
3rd September 2014
morning light on our tent in Barra Grande

I want to go in Bahia...........
je veux loger dans cette maison quelques jours .................vous m'invitez ?
3rd September 2014
muddy + uphill!

allez !
allez, force, garçon..............!
3rd September 2014
and we had to push...

fatigués ?
allez, papa, avance !............
3rd September 2014
it wasn't easy

dures vacances............
pas faciles les vacances ! ah ah !
3rd September 2014
Tiriri pipon!

tiriri ponpon.............
c'est pour ta bonne humeur constante que je t'admire !
3rd September 2014
How peaceful and beautiful!

The ups and downs on the road of life
Good luck/bad luck--isn't that like life! How great the bus driver drove you an extra distance in the rain and you found such gorgeous beaches! How not so great those very muddy roads and so many uphills. Glad to see that you two kept positive about how ridiculous life can be. It looks like a magical trip!

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