Here we are on Ilha Grande, an island in the true sense of the word. A village, a harbor and a dozen tourist paths through the jungle, where poisonous snakes and majestic views lurk around every corner. A beach, lots of boats in the harbor, palms and other tall exotic trees sway in the breeze. Have we reached the most heavenly place in Brazil?
Ilha Grande is the third largest island in Brazil, but it may be the most beautiful. It is a safe haven from the busyness of the cities. Here the nearest cash machine is 45 minutes away through water. Yes, this is what a tropical paradise would look like if it existed. Here even the homeless are calm and happy, the tourists relax anyway they can. All in all, everybody here goes with the flow and blends in with the sand.
We didn’t arrive as quickly as we thought. From Paraty we traveled for an hour and a half to Angra dos Reis and spend 1 hour and 45 minutes in a boat to the main and only village on the island, Vila do Abraão. We decided to stay there one more night, without even thinking about the price, just because we liked it. Maybe we needed to feel like islanders. Maybe we needed to get lost in the jungle, take a boat trip to a blue lagoon?
While I’m writing this on the beach a group of girls are dragging the wheels of their suitcases through the sand and believe me, they are the only ones burdened with something in this moment. This is Ilha Grande.
We like the fact that you cannot spot a car in the whole island, there are no roads.
The only motor vehicle we saw was the garbage truck. Out of nowhere, they cleaned the streets this morning. We thought that either the village festival, or Christmas was coming (this was on 18 December).
Here the mafia is strong with the boat companies, all 50 of them offer the same services at the same prices. We chose the only one which didn’t charge extra for credit card payments. Obviously, there is no cash machine on the island and we didn’t bring enough cash. Despite those tiny hiccups, we were still islanders.
The paths through the jungle are the most alluring thing on the island itself. During your walk you meet groups of monkeys, you hear strange noises and see brightly colored birds on the trees. For the history buffs there is an old aqueduct, the isolation chamber for immigrants suffering from cholera and we can’t begin to imagine what more lies hidden in the forest.
|Isolation chamber for the infected with cholera|
Back to civilization, this evening the cultural and entertainment program begins.
There is a stage under the sky where musicians and actors show their talent. The drinking and eating establishment are working full-force. A lot of South Americans, Argentineans, Chileans work here, but generally they don’t speak very advanced English. Some of them aren’t even familiar with Spanish. Is this a way to preserve the island? We like it, despite it being too developed for those who were familiar with Ilha Grande 10 years ago. It is not shielded enough from the mainland so every rich guy has built a house in a secluded cove. But it cannot compare to the show-off of money around Paraty. Here prices must be higher and only the richest show-offs can afford it. Even normal tourists like us felt the price difference. But what are we to do if we want to swim with the fishes and lounge on empty beaches beneath tropical trees?
|A jump from the lancha into the Blue Lagoon|
|The green lagoon is not overcrowded|
|Saco do Céu (Sky bag)|
This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.
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