Baía da Ilha Grande

With Lily, Barbara & Sioe @ Beco do Batman, Vila Madalena - Sao Paolo

With Lily, Barbara & Sioe @ Beco do Batman, Vila Madalena – Sao Paolo

Leaving beautiful, exotic beaches for the largest city of Brazil was not easy but I wanted to visit Lili & Barbara, 2 friends I met during my travels.  I met Lili, who was on a worldtrip as well, for the first time in Egypt in November 2012, then we met by accident in March 2013 in Sydney airport (what are the odds!) and we decided than to share a part of our journey in Bali in May 2013.  Barbara was one of my co-travellers in the amazing Salar de Uyuni in September 2013.  São Paolo was also a perfect stop on our way to Paraty because after 12h (120BR) on the bus, we had to change busses here anyway.

With Lili, Giseti & Sioe @ Mercearia São Pedro, São Paolo

With Lili, Giseti & Sioe @ Mercearia São Pedro, São Paolo

São Paolo counts 11 million souls in an area of 1509km2  making it the 6th most populated city on the planet so if it was not for Lily & Barbara, this was not a place I would fancy to visit and neither was Sioe.  But visiting friends made the experience so much better.  Lili became one of my best travel buddies and she picked us up in the bus terminal of São Paolo.  She came back home 5 months ago after a nearly 14-month world trip and was still trying to accomodate to the idea.  Lili was so kind to give us a small city tour to some of the nicest places in her beloved city with places like 25 de Marco, Mosteiro Sao Bento, Praca da Sé, Catedral da Sé, Teatro Municipal, Terraco Italia, Avenida Paulista & last but not least Vila Madalena with its Beco do Batman and the famous graffiti art where Barbara joined us.

Paraty

Paraty

Later that evening Lily picked up another friend, Giseti from Portugal and drove to the small local restaurant of Mercearia Sao Pedro where she introduced us to the typical Brasilian food ‘Picanha’, a triangular prime cut from the top of the cow’s rump. After sharing this delicious meal and a wonderful time, Lili accomodated us in her cosy apartment in the outskirts of Sao Paolo.

The next day we took the bus to Paraty (6h – (50BR) , a preserved Portugese colonial town located on the beautiful Costa Verde in Baia da Ilha Grande, dotted with numerous tropical islands.

Paraty

Paraty

A lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline, tropical forests, mountains & waterfalls formed Brazil’s true gem and was as dazzling as the town’s colorful 18th century architecture.   We coould only stay one day here and unfortunately it was rainy as well, but Sioe & I strolled in the car-free cobble-stoned streets and enjoyed the colonial feel that this cosy town radiated.  Elegant white buildings adormed with fanciful multihued borders and latticed windows blended harmoniously with the natural beauty that enveloped the town.

Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande

The weather for the next few days was not very promosing but we had only a few days left before the end of the trip so we took the shuttle to Angra Dos Reis & the ferry to the fabulous island retreat of Ilha Grande, a beautiful island covered with the virgin Atlantic rain forest and offering us  106 white sand beaches!  The island was car-free and never had a huge massa of human presence.  It owed it’s pristine condition to its unusual history…  First it was a pirates’ lair, then a leper colony and finally  a penitentiary in 1903 that worked till 1994.  Until that moment, the island was not able to receive tourists and for this reason Vila do Abraão remained virgin in many aspects.

Vila do Abraão

Vila do Abraão

But since 1994 the activities started to grow fastly and many homes/hotels were built but even than, being the only town on the island offering decent accomodation, Ilha Grande kept its authenticity with colourful houses, dirt roads where everybody congregates down near the dock and beach at night.

Lying on the beach was not really an option with the rainy weather so we hiked to Praia da Palmas on the first day where the trail winded its way up through the rainforest to the mountains with magnificent views on the bay.  We didn’t reach Ilha Grande’s most beautiful beach Lopes Mendes due to the heavy rainfall.  On the second day, the weather was’t great either, so we took a day tour to explore the Feiticeira waterfalls & another great beach, Praia da Feiticeira (40BR)

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