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February 24, 2006 – A journey to Ilha Grande, Brazil in South America

Getting Away From It All

If you really want to get away from it all, namely the big cities, then Ilha Grande is the place to go. Ilha Grande, an island off the southeastern coast of Brazil, is an hour and a half ferry ride plus three hours bus ride from Rio de Janeiro. I loved Ilha Grande as much as Parati. You can sail, surf, scuba dive, kayak, hike, trek, mountain bike, and do many other outdoor/water activities here too.

love to live on that island with a schooner like that

can hike through the jungle and pass by huge bamboo groves like this one

Ilha Grande has a very small town consisting of one main street and a few side streets off of the main. The town is surrounded by a beach with a few docks in the front and lush jungle in the back. You can't really get lost here - unless if you venture into the jungle too deep. There aren't any cars here either - the roads are too narrow for them. To transport goods and such, people use small carts. It's very cute. They also have dessert carts too, where you can purchase any of the many varieties of cakes, cookies, and sweets in them.

the main road in town

one of the side streets

a man selling desserts from his dessert cart

Rick and I only had a couple of days here before heading into Rio for Carnaval. Decided to go to Lagoa Azul, the Blue Lagoon, for one day and a diving trip for the other. Really wanted to go to Lopez Mendes, one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, but didn't have time (just means I'll have to go back to Brazil).

Lagoa Azul was clearly gorgeous. There were nice shallow reefs filled with sealife to snorkel around in. If you're lucky enough to find one, you can try to dive for huge sanddollar shells in deeper spots (8 to 15 feet).

Lagoa Azul, very aqua and very clear

guys in canoes come by your boat to sell coconuts

Haven't dove for about five months, so diving was quite refreshing. Dove around this islet called Guriri Ilha. Visibility was about 40 to 60 feet and the sealife was colorful, but much of it was also in blue hues.

Diving here is similar to diving in the Caribbean and Cozumel - tropical waters. Saw sea turtles, a spotted eagle ray, shrimp, jellyfish, sea anemones, angelfish, colorful fish, rockfish, sea urchins, sea stars, squid, sponges, sea cucumbers, and many other sea creatures. The most interesting creature I saw were these fish with these fluorescent wings. They hang out in the sand because they blend in pretty well. The divemaster called them falsefliers. Wish I got a photo of them. They looked ancient.

spotted eagle ray gliding by

shrimp and and a partial view of a sea anemone (upper right) in a colorful background

squid flying in patterns

All in all, you can't beat spending your day in the sea of beautiful warm waters and surrounded by white sparkling beaches and islets.

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