I wanted to show the family some of Brazil’s amazing wild nature and so we headed over to Angra dos Reis, located about 150km southwest of Rio de Janeiro. Angra is very popular for tourism and many Brazilians have summer houses in the area, which encompasses over 300 (!!) islands, the second largest of which is Ilha Grande. I booked a tour, which was promised to be in English. The tour guide did speak some words in English and when I spoke to her in Portuguese, she resorted to speaking Spanish to me. This sort of thing happens often. Most of the tourists on the bus were Spanish, Italian or French speakers and so she got so confused with all the translations that she just ended speaking Portuguese to everyone. I preferred this much better to seeing her suffering to construct sentences from random English words. For R$100, which also included lunch, one really cannot complain.
It took us about 3 hours to get to Angra, where we were loaded onto a boat and set off into the sea. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side and it was cloudy and rainy but this didn’t take away that much from the amazing beauty of the surrounding nature. The trip lasted a few hours, with two stops to swim and snorkel, until we arrived at our final destination – Ilha Grande, where we had our lunch and a stroll on the beach before having to head back. I spent last New Year’s on one of those islands off of the coast of Paraty, and Ilha Grande took me back in memory lane as it was so similar (albeit much more commercial with T-shirt stands greeting the visitors as they step off the boat).
On the way back from the island, we enjoyed freshly cut pineapple and watermelon and participated in a dance party led by a group of enthusiastic Argentinians, who to my surprise, knew the dance moves of all the popular Brazilian songs. Perfect ending to an adventure.