Bingo wings in my case but you get the picture…
It nearly went very wrong… the hotel forgot to book our taxi, so after a pain staking 5mph chase (speed bumps – hundreds of em) after the coach (“follow that bus!” – “Que?”) ending in the cab driver screeching to a halt (who knew you could screech at 5mph) in front of the bus blocking the road and throwing open all the doors – bless him! We were on our way to Ilha Grande.
Two bus rides, and one catamaran later we arrived in gorgeous Ilhe Grande, a surprisingly pristine island considering it is only 2 hours from Rio. It owes it’s tranquility to a dubious past as a pirates lair, then a leper colony and finally a prison – so development is slight and on many of the beaches there is nothing more than a beach hut selling coconuts.
Our lovely pousada was right on the main beach and the “town” is a tiny 4 or 5 streets with little bars and restaurants – totally different from commercial Buzios. We only had 3 nights so spent the 2nd day on Praia Lopes Mendes – thought by some to be Brazil’s best beach. It is a gorgeous curving white sand beach lined by jungle and high green hills. To get there you take a boat then hike 20 minutes through the jungle. Just stunning.
The next day we hopped onto a boat for the ride around the more remote islands and a stop at the Lagoa Azul. The boat was a lovely old style schooner and stopped at several amazing little islands for snorkeling and swimming.
We had two of the best meals in Brazil – the first was a Moqueca – a Brazilian sea food stew that came in a clay pot the size of a football, full of prawns, fish, octopus and mussels. Num Num Num! The second – don’t laugh, was a kebab! 7 months without a kebab and god we enjoyed the dog-leg loveliness of a kebab and a few pints of beer. The live band was playing Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, etc – a proper night out after all that Samba, Tango and Salsa!
If you ever go to Rio – don’t miss at least 1 night on this lovely island.