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  • Writer's picturePaula Cooper

18 November Ilha Grande Brazil: Sandy Salty Scenic Sweaty Sultry Stormy

Caught using the wifi with a view, again; swiftly moving away rewarded with breakfast coffee available early!

Confusion over boat taxi pickup; power outage in town plus island time! Shady seat secured at eventual pick up, thankfully before town when boat over-reached capacity! Lovely speedy skirt round the bay, opposite direction to yesterday to Pouso, a scenic cove, landing on a floating restaurant!

A shortish hike 20-30mins, following the scantily clad and shod masses over the jungle saddle between island peaks through a defined but tricky steep trail, we reached the famous Lopez Mendes beach. Glad we had walking sandals, it wasn’t as easy a trail as we expected. It was though a picturesque stunning sandy stretch surrounded, instagramable as promised, but not quite as deserted; although by Cobacabana and Ipanema standards it was totally empty!

Photos don’t do it justice! It was beautiful white sand offset with rolling waves, palm trees and jungle cascading down, islands populating the bay. I finally got my longed for long beach walk, splashing in the shallows on soft sand!

Who was Lopez Mendes? A celebrated Portuguese explorer and cartographer from the mid 1800, no idea why the beach is named after him! Apparently it was the site of the largest Portuguese farm, then an airport with eucalyptus planted to dry the swamp and farm aligators curtesy of a German (still there people say, glad I didn’t know then!), abd lastly almost an exclusive hotel! The locals formed a human chain in protest, thus it became a treasured part of the national park.

Ilha grande originally named Ipau Guass (Big island) was used as an old people’s home by the Tupinamba tribe. Discovered in 1502 it was mainly a pirate (English French & Dutch) hangout, followed by housing slaves and then prison inmates. When the prison closed in 1994 tourism took off! Now much of the island is a national park, teaming with wild life and reclaimed jungle. Too hot to properly hike, we stuck to exploring the beaches swimming and snorkelling.

We swam and basked in the clear gentle waves, perfect temperature at the Church end. Splashing about at the trail end, waves  just strong enough to jump and body surf; no barrelling knocking off your feet thankfully!

Walking back we spied a marmoset eating what looked like a moth! (Probably just some fruit!) just as we climbed down into Pouso. Much busier than earlier we decided to swim before lining up to catch the 3pm taxi boat back. It really was not clear which location beach or floating restaurant, which coloured bands for which line for which boat. Wrist bands forcefully snatched we paddled and clambered into a boat which deposited us for another wet landing at Abraão beach.

Shopping over, after sampling the delicious açai sherbet, we walked back to the guest house. Açai is a palm fruit, a blue plum like date. The trail back was not long but interesting, including beaches, paddling, rock scrambles and narrow steep wooded sections around bars and other guest houses; again not as expected or easy! Glad we were still dressed for the beach.

Opting to eat in, a good move as the predicted storm clouds arrived in full force; thunder and lightning, a proper tropical downpour! I chose really well, we sensibly opted for starters and pudding!

Apparently it was the hottest day ever in Brazil, not sure what the small print is! As in where? For this time of year? Ever ever?

A lovely end to an amazing adventure.

Early morning wifi view!

Walk from Pouso to Lopez Mendes Beach and along to the ruined church

View of the beach, swimming and crowds!

At the far point

Marmoset on walk back


Stormy evening

Simons photos to follow or replace mine!

We stayed at Pousada Asalem, Ilya Grande, Brazil

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