Ilha Grande

By Blaise

I’ve just entered my third country since Brazil, so I guess it is time for an update. After Rio, I took a bus to Ilha Grande, 2 hours south of the mega city. The bus did not drive on water, so I did need to take a “fast boat” for the last leg of the journey into the main town on the island – Abraao.

I Walked through the pedestrian only dirt streets in search of a hotel. I accepted the first hotel I looked at, mainly because I was tired of carrying my overloaded backpack and I’d torn the crotch in my shorts, so I was keen to change. My room smelt like wee and the next morning I realized that the pillows did not have pillowcases. It was not cheap either!

I next morning I went in search of a better place, and found one. It was weird as the street sweeper suggested I try 2 other hotels before finally agreeing to show me the one she clearly worked at. It was glorious, and cheaper than peeville. When I returned, burdened like a Sherpa – but at the same time, not having the luxury of Tibet’s cooler climate – she told me the price had doubled! Even still, it was a bargain and arguing was not getting me anywhere. I agreed to the new price, but then she said it was even more! Finally, the manager came out and said that I could not stay there because the wall was leaking.

Furious, I found another place at the top of Rue Amâncio Felicio de Souza called Riacho Doce. It was not as nice as the leaky wall, Zimbabwe inflation rate priced place, but it was tranquil and backed onto the jungle – minus 1 beautiful tree that I witnessed being decapitated.

Later that afternoon, I headed east out of Abraao and ended up in Praia da Crena. A pleasant spot to watch the sunset over Pico Do Papagaio. Some Chilean hippies were playing guitar – badly – and selling dulce de leche balls with coloured sprinkles on them. They were subsidizing their trip this way, and I felt bad afterwards for bargaining the price down from 3 to 2 reals. I did however give them my leftover calamari, of which I had a heaping plate. I made them hold out their hands palms up and poured the calamari – Lula – into their gratefully grubby paws.


This dog was focused on fishing! It kept on dunking its whole head underwater, but I never saw it surface with a fish.
Pico Do Papagayo in the background. The town of Abraao is nestled below this prominent peak.

The next day I went on a circumnavigation tour of the island, stopping at 5 different beaches.

I was still naïve to the fact that every discharged Israeli army officer – it’s mandatory for men and women – travels throughout South America in packs. I thought I was quite lucky to be sharing my tour with such an exotic population. The three French girls and the two Brazilian couples were nicer.

Our tour guide was a filo de puta, and hit the perpendicular waves at full throttle, with no regard for our comfort. The only thing he ever said to us was “quarenta minutos” as we pulled in to each beach, then disappeared, I can only assume, to drink beer.



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The island is truly gorgeous, with lush jungle descending the multitude of peaks and valleys. The greedy green fingers of the jungle only stopping at the edge of the black rock cliffs and white sand beaches, where they would otherwise be scalded. The water beyond is clear and warm.

A truly big island paradise.

That night I ate street meat. It was so good I went back for seconds. Big mistake!

The next afternoon I decided to walk to Praia Dois Rios on the recommendations of my friends Jody and Cory. It’s an 8.5km hike to a glorious beach and prison, which they assured me was well worth it. The prison is no longer in service, and some of the buildings are in ruins while others have become houses to the locals – Hopefully not ex prisoners!

It was either the hottest day of the year, or the street meat was affecting my internal thermometer. I found the hike to be very strenuous, but a few tourists passed me barefoot, so I must have been delusional.  I had not taken nearly enough water and so I was rationing myself and stressing about the return journey without water.

Thankfully one of the ex prisoners sold water out of her cell, and I gladly handed over an exorbitant amount of Reals for 2L of water and a Coke. Clearly she had not been rehabilitated.

I only became aware of this monkey above me when i heard a loud plop near where I stood. It was crapping!
I was temped to rob this fruit of it’s underwear.

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The beach was lovely and devoid of tourists, perhaps because of my late arrival. There were only a few locals surfing and a fisherman pushing his bike along the expansive beach.

I only started walking back at close to 6pm and was soon enveloped in darkness. Thankfully, I had had the foresight to bring my headlamp. Without it, I would have had to sleep on the road, as the night was inky black without light. I started counting my steps 100 at a time, to give me an idea of how far I still had to go. After 6000 steps, I lay in the middle of the dirt track and absorbed the sounds of the forest and watched the firebugs journeying through the trees. It was either heat stroke or the meat, but I was feeling pretty lousy.

I got back after 9pm and had a sleepless night. The next morning, I bought a ferry ticket, asked a pharmacist what stops “mierda como agua” and fell asleep on the dock listening to some travelers singing pleasant foreign tunes.

I missed my ferry ride, and had to beg the Patron of the “fast boat” to let me pay him on the other side. He accepted and I had a burly Brazilian accompany me to the bank and patiently wait in a 5 min lineup for his 40 Reals. He then kindly walked me to the taxi stall, and I was on my way to Sao Paulo – the worse for wear.

This entry was posted in Brazil

3 thoughts on “Ilha Grande

  • Jenelle 07/04/2016 at 9:13 pm Reply

    Blaise I feel really bad for you but I laughed and snorted throughout this whole post that my co-workers are giving me funny looks. I hope you got better fast. At least the beautiful island will always be memorable.

    We finally have Spring at home. Tomorrow the temperature will be 22 degrees and I can’t wait for the heat!!

  • Darlene 10/04/2016 at 12:03 am Reply

    The photos are gorgeous, Blaise. Sounds like an amazing time! Stay well!

  • Booker 21/04/2017 at 7:09 am Reply

    Really fine post, I surely adore this site, keep
    on it.

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