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Published: June 13th 2008
The journey to Ilha Grande went without a hitch despite being a few minutes late for the bus from Rio.. it´s a good job the South Americans run behind schedule! A 2 hour bus ride and 1.5 hour boat ride and we were in Dale´s idea of heaven.
Ilha Grande is a 193km2 island off the coast of Rio. There are no cars so you have to get to the 170 beaches by boat or via one of the many trekking trails. It really is a fantastic place and in complete contrast to the crowds in Rio.
Our hostel Aqua Rio was a 20 minute walk along the beach at the end of the main town. We were shown to our room ´The Captains Suite´and were greeted by fantastic views of the bay and mountains behind. We even had a small dressing area next to our en suite bathroom.. great!
The first day we trekked to the famous Lopes Mendes beach. The sign said that this was 2.5 hour trek and they weren´t wrong! The treks are on paths through the forest, although they are well established tracks some parts are so steep up the side of the
mountain and Sophie was glad of her walking sandals! Bear in mind also that this is through the jungle forest so as well as trying to watch where you are walking so you don´t trip over the tree roots, you also have to keep watch for snakes and spiders.. Sophie found it best to just not think about this otherwise progress would have been too slow!
We arrived at Lopes Mendes and immediately realised why this was voted one of the world´s best beaches. It's a long beach with the whitest softest sand you have ever seen and we loved it. After spending a day lazing on the beach we decided against the trek back and caught the taxi boat.
The second day was another trek, this time to a waterfall in the middle of the jungle. We started our walk there and were followed to the end fo the town by 2 random dogs, this is not uncommon as there are lots of street dogs here but these 2 just carried on following us, they were so cute. We stopped at a natural pool for a quick swim.. so did the dogs and when we started again
The sand on Lopes Mendes
It was so white it hurt your eyes!
they kept on following. They left us after an hour to find some new friends so we continued on to the waterfall. When we found it it was definitely worth the walk. You could stand under it and have a natural massage it was so powerful, they also have abseiling through it but we opted against this. Dale spotted a HUGE spider in the water at one point but thankfully this was when Sophie had got out otherwise people might have thought there was a new breed of screaming monkey on the island!!
One other thing to mention about this island is the wildlife, there are loads of crabs that live in the town and then walk down to the beach. Sophie was quite scared though as these crabs are not small and have one huge claw for nipping people so crabs have now been added to her list of fears! We also saw a snake on one walk but thankfully it was dead so not too much of a threat. We also heard that sloths live on this island but never managed to see one because they are very rare :o( .. maybe next time.
Ilha Grande but chose the right day to make a move as the clouds were coming in and it isn't the sort of place that can be much fun if the sun isn't shining. Dale could quite happily have spent the rest of our trip there exploring the whole island but we needed to make a move to our next stop.. Paratay.
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