You’ll never believe it… It’s sunny! Which means it’s to the coast for us! Brazil, we have quickly learned, is not short of stunning beaches but on top of that it also has some beautiful islands with perfect beaches so our first stop out of São Paolo was Ilhabela, an island that had been named for good reason.
The island still falls under the São Paolo distirct and is only a four hour bus ride from the city. The bus drops you at São Sebastião where you can jump on a car/passenger ferry and in 15 minutes you are transported to a place that could not be more different from São Paolo. The skyscrapers were gone and in their place were palm trees, quiet beaches and men playing a rather intense game of boules.
The island has over 40 beaches of varying sizes, some that you can walk to, others that you need to take a trip. We stuck to the ones we could get to ourselves and walked our flip-flops off hiking up and over the hills to find the perfect view point. On our journey we found a number of memorials marking the ship wrecks off the island and there were a fair few during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The strong winds caused waves as high as five meters that pushed many a trading vessel onto hidden rocks resulting in wreckage. Very bad news for those on board, slightly better news for keen scuba divers of the twenty-first century who now have a wealth of wrecks to explore.
Turning the corner to take us from one beach to the next we came across a whole host of giant silver religious sculptures, some depicting Jesus on the way to crucifixion, others with him on the cross and related scenes with Pontius Pilot etc and then a random entry with Buddha – a little bit for everyone…There was no explanation as to why they were there but they were phenomenal in size and detail.
Luckily for us we were on Ilhabela on Brazil day which meant a free concert in the main square. The main singer we saw was obviously a big draw for the Brazilian’s who were going crazy for her and when she started singing Ed Sheeran songs it was pandemonium – from me…
Ilhabela gave us a good taste of the coast of Brazil and has made us keen to keep on exploring, it is sunny after all!