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Published: November 23rd 2012
The 4 hour bus from Paraty to Ihlabela was really scenic. I think I read that stretch is known as the Emerald Coast (or something similar), and for a good reason. Luscious green mountains to the right, blue water to the left. We a passed a lot of enticing little beach towns on the way - if we were driving ourselves we probably would have stopped many times, maybe for the night. But on the bus we had to just hang tight and enjoy the scenery.
Ilhabela is an island (ilha means island in portuguese), reached by a short 15 minute ferry ride from Sao Sebastiao on the mainland coast. The ferry is for cars too, and is actually free for pedestrians. Luckily the ferry departs fairly close to the bus station in Sao Sebastiao so we were able to walk to the ferry and take it across.
We were a little worried about the next leg of the trip - I'd booked a hotel online on a site that didn't ask for a credit card or any personal information, so I wasn't sure if there would be a room waiting for us or not. Once in ilhabela we hailed a cab that luckily knew the hotel by name, and we were happy to find out we did indeed have a room.
Our hotel was 1/2 a block from the beach so once we got settled we went for a stroll along the beach. We got dinner at an italian place where Steph apparently had the best bruschetta of her life. Go figure.
On the way back we saw a pack of 9 stray dogs, following a man on a bicycle. He was very friendly and spoke decent english. He said it was only half the pack, there are 18 dogs in total. We asked if they were his, and he said they were God's dogs. They were all very friendly and looked well fed. Not a bad life for a dog.
The next day we got a bus back to the ferry and bought bus tickets from Sao Sebastiao to Sao Paulo for that evening. We'd already bought our tickets out of Sao Paulo (with Emerson's help - you need a Brazilian identification number to buy online for some reason) so we didn't have the option of staying another night in Ilhabela. Kind of a shame since it is a nice place with a lot of wilderness and waterfalls, but oh well.
Luckily with the bus tickets out of the way we had the rest of the day to relax and enjoy Ilhabela. Our hotel actually had a nice pool so we hung out there a while, then walked along the beach again and got lunch at one of the many beachside bars.
We got on the ferry back to Sao Sebastiao and said goodbye to Ihlabela after being there only a little over 24 hours. Hopefully we'll get there again in the future and spend longer there - I'd really like to explore the wild side of the island.
Here's a few pictures from our short time in Ilhabela:
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