Tag Archives: Outdoor fun

Island Hopping in Brazil

18 Jul

*Coming soon: tales of a life in Shanghai. For now I am relaxing back home enjoying family, familiar places, old friends, and yummy foods.

Last week I had an unexpected but very pleasant visitor who had never been to Brazil before, so I decided to show him as many “off the beaten path” essentials so that he could have a small taste of what makes Brazil so great.

We picked Auf (nickname credits to my parents) up from the airport at about 6am and started driving down towards the coast. The final destination that day was Ilha Grande, but first we made pit stop in Paraty to show Auf one of the cities in Brazil that has preserved Portuguese colonial-style architecture. Paraty is nice to spend an hour or two and eat some quality seafood. If you’re into the diving scene, you could spend a couple days exploring life under the sea, but we were trying to make a 1:30pm ferry ride to Ilha Grande from Angra do Reis.

Ilha Grande is an amazing and beautiful place- but not for all kinds of tourists. If you are looking for neon lights and big fancy cars, please drive in the opposite direction. If fact, you can stop reading this post. If you are looking to get away from all the big city whatnots, read on…

Paraty – we were lucky to be there during the International Literary Festival

Ilha Grande is a protected “national reserve,” and the only way to get there is by boat. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the island except for one 4×4 and a pick-up truck that belong to the police/emergency units on the island. Everything is done on foot or on man-powered trolleys. I’m not saying that you have to camp out and live completely rustically, but it’s a slow-paced life out there.

Vila do Abraão, view form our hike

We went to 2 major hikes in Ilha Grande. The first one was to Lopes Mendes beach. Of course there is a boat that goes around the island for a relatively inexpensive price, but because there was PLENTY of time to kill, we hiked the 6km over about 2 hours out to the beach. It was nice, calm, soft sand and almost deserted. The hike was great, but the most fun part was showing an European what Brazilian winter entails: beach.

Lopes Mendes Beach
Its not packed, but its the middle of winter!

Our second (more tiring and more exciting) hike was up to the famous Pico do Papagaio (Parrot Peak). If you look up on a clear day, towards the middle of the island from any beach, you can clearly see a mountain peak that looks like a parrot’s beak. It seems close to impossible to reach without wings, but as soon as you begin the hike up you can start to see how it’s possible to hike 1,200 meters up.

Our final stop, that tiny speck on top of the mountain to the right: Pico do Papagaio

It took an arduous 4.5 hours to climb up and down. I was too tired to even remember to take a picture of the amazing Moqueca I had for lunch to refuel, but that’ll be another story.

The view from the top is breathtaking.

The view from the top


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