Ilha Grande

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This bus we are on now smells like burnt incense sticks and a dirty nappy. My nose will probably soon get used to it…I hope.

We made it, just in time once again. We took the 10am ferry from Ilha Grande, ran to get a taxi to the bus station as soon as we arrived at the port and managed to still buy our tickets before getting on the bus. Now we’re headed towards Sao Paulo, which will be our last stop in South America.

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Ilha Grande is a paradise and has internet! It’s a really stunning island near Rio. I’ve added lots of photos in this post because it might be easier to show you the beauty than to describe it. We spent 4 nights at Pousada Achonchega, close to the main part of town. The island is only 96km squared and has no cars! On the Sunday the MSC-Orchestra Cruise ship made a stop over at Ilha Grande so it was a bit crowded. There are many nice restaurants to choose from and a few small grocery stores.

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You can hike to almost anywhere on the island depending on how far you want to walk. There are little beaches about every kilometer along the island’s perimeter and many people go camping. You are surrounded by dense, tropical forest with the sound of birds singing and monkeys screaming. Not that you would want to be all alone on this island, but if for some reason you were the only person stuck on this island (and wifi was not working), there are banana, jack-fruit and coconut trees in abundance for food. There are also thick reeds which could be used to build a shelter. So you could survive…

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Back to reality: We hired snorkeling equipment and did a strenuous hike to a place which a few people told us was good for snorkeling. The weather wasn’t great so the water was murky. We didn’t see any marine life besides little beach crabs. (But we didn’t need snorkeling gear to see them.)

Determined to actually see some fish we went on a snorkeling trip the next day with a local tour company. That was so much fun! The speedboat ride was exciting because every now and then the boat flies over a wave and then comes crashing down into the sea again. We saw the most fish at Lagoa Verde (green lagoon).

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We took a boat to Los Mendes beach where we body-surfed some big waves. Most transport around the island is with Taxi boats.

Ilha Grande felt like a real beach vacation. It’s definitely a little piece of paradise!

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