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The Hostel Crasher

As mentioned, it’s not that easy meeting people at pousadas versus hostels – so I decided to hostel crash.

It’s easy because no one really knows where you are staying, and you can meet people at the same time. Just act like you sleep there and if there’s more than fifteen people there you should just blend right in. Hehe

So I met up with Kate (NZ), Katy (UK), Shaun and Michael (AUS) and we went out on the ‘town’ in the evenings.

After drinking a few beers at the hostel, we headed down to the beach…

There, under a large tree, was a cool bar with hanging lights and funky decor. On one side of the bar, a line of hookah pipes awaited with different flavours to experience. On the other side, cheap caipirinhas of all flavours wait patiently for thirsty travelers.

The night passes with noisy laughter, drinking and a slow walk back alongside the beach to return to the pousada. Then, all too soon, my time on Ilha Grande has come to an end, and we are on a boat heading for the marvelous city, Rio de Janeiro.

The Grandeur of Ilha Grande

I had believed the massive grey shape across the bay on the horizon to be the mainland, but no, it turned out to be my next destination.

Ilha Grande, aptly named as this island is huge, is mostly an untouched paradise just south of Rio de Janeiro, next to Angra dos Reis.

After docking the ferry at Vila AbraĆ£o, pop 6,000, we were greeted by six sandy streets of tourist shops, restaurants, pousadas and bars to choose from. This is the only real village on the island and the main hub of activity.

I grabbed my backpack and walked onwards, asking along the way how to get to my pousada. It turned out to be both awesome and quaint.

A hammock at the front, which you can sit in and read, while small monkeys play in the trees above. The pousada host was friendly, if not a little deaf, so he didn’t quite understand every question, but happily responded to whichever question he thought he heard.

The place was charming. The only downside to pousadas are that they are not as easy to meet other people as at the youth hostels, but then again, you do get your own room, and no one tries to have sex in the bunk above while you sleep. Hehe. Ahhh hostel life…

The island has an interesting history, and was once a leper colony, and also contained a number of prisons. Oh to be trapped in paradise! The unsavory past has helped it’s future though, as the island remained largely undeveloped.

While on Ilha Grande, which is as close to a natural ecosystem that you can still access, there’s plenty to do. Schooner trips, diving, surfing, hiking along the many trails, and bathing in the waterfalls just to name a few…

This island should definitely be added to anyone’s Brazil travel itinerary without hesitation.