Day 227 - Itacare

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
1
228
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Trip End May 01, 2008


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We woke up to dark clouds and rain, but could see some blue skies around so remained hopeful of some good weather later.

Today we planned to head south of the town to find the best beaches, which are about 15 kms away by public bus.

This map has north at the bottom of the page (we're on the east coast!), so the beaches we're heading to are at the top LHS of these maps.

Map

Here's a close-up of the beaches we really want to try.

Beaches

Breakfast at the pousada was ok, I think we were spoiled on the island a bit, but they had some lush fresh mango juice so I was happy!

In between the rain showers we put some clothes in to be washed (they wanted to take 2 days?!), had a cursory look for any travel agents selling bus tickets further south (negative), bought some more sun cream (sorry) and got ready for our day on the beach.

At about 11am we set off for the local bus station, which we reached about 10 minutes later. As you can imagine we were delighted to hear that the bus for the beaches left every hour on the hour, so we had another 50 minutes to wait for the next one!

There's really nothing in the centre of town to explore, so we stayed put and tried to remind ourselves that when we're back in London working our asses of then we'll really wish that we could have 50 minutes to sit around in Brazil and do nothing in the middle of the day.

It's strange, we're finding Brazil REALLY hard to get around compared to the rest of South America. Occasionally we find someone helpful, but unless they speak English we're stuffed really because our Portuguese just isn't up to scratch... unless they're extremely competent at charades of course.

There's literally no information on the internet concerning buses or connections, so the only way we seem to get anywhere is to get to the bus station and hope that something is leaving soon. It's total pot luck.

So far we've been a bit lucky, but not today!

Anyway an hour later we eventually got on the bus, bought some tickets and tried to tell the driver which beach we wanted to stop at.

We wanted to go to 'Hawaiizinho', which sounded fantastic (like a football player!), and had two good beaches on either side of it apparently.

Naturally about 20 minutes later the driver sped right past our stop without us realising (there are no bus stops, just on long road!) but luckily another guy wanted to get out at the stop after us so we were only a little bit off track.

So we decided to try this beach rather than walk back, as it was also on our shortlist, called 'Itacarezinho'. Catchy ;) 

Beach sign

We walked down a paved road for about 15 minutes to get to the beach and we got some great views of the sea peaking out behind the rainforest on the way down there. 

Sea peek

About half way down there was a little viewing platform which provided another great view down the beach and over the rainforest. Cool.

Beach viewpoint

When we got to the bottom of the road the beach opened out in front of us and it looked fantastic. 

The actual sand strip itself was quite narrow, but the beach seemed to go on forever!

Now THIS is what I call a beach ;)

Beach 1

It had really fine light sand, nice refreshing cool water and sub-tropical rainforest coming right the way down to the beach.

It reminded us a lot of Cape Tribulation at the top of the Australian east coast.

Beach 2

We had a quick walk up and around the corner (yup, more beach!) and then walked back to find a spot to lay out the sarongs and get sunbathing!

KT beach 1

Katie had read a few things online and in the books suggesting that people are sometimes mugged here while on beaches by themselves, so was nervous about us walking too far away from other people.

This was easier said than done because there was hardly anyone else around!

We had over an hour sunning ourselves, during which time I had a fantastic 20 minutes in the sea making up games and generally amusing myself

Yeah yeah, I'll wait for the "Greenpeace to the rescue" jokes..

Al waves

The beaches here are famous for being perfect for surfing (a world ranking tournament is held here every summer) and I've never seen waves quite like these before.

It was still quite shallow as you walked out, yet the waves hitting the beach were huge.
 
They probably don't look like it here because I was very worried about getting our last remaining camera wet!

Waves

One minute the water was around your knees, the next you had to jump over the wave to stop it going over your head!

While I was playing in the waves like a puppy dog, Katie was playing musical statues on the beach.

She's MUCH better at sunbathing than me, that's for sure.

I'm not allowed to show you any shots involving Katie with her bikini, so you'll have to do with the view to shore ;)

Land

We grabbed some little cheese balls with chips at the tiny cafe for lunch, with a couple of lovely fresh juices (we have no idea what Katie was drinking, but it had white juice and was very tasty).

After lunch we walked down to the end of the beach and hoped to find a path linking with the next beach along.

By now the sun was starting to descend, so most of the beach was in shade from the huge palm trees.

Al beach 1

While Katie went to wash the sand off her legs, I spotted a surfer walking down a dirt path inside the canopy, so when she rejoined me we took the same path which turned out to be rather spectacular.

The walk through the trees was nice enough...

KT path 2 

...but every once in a while a view of the beach would open up!

Palm beach ?! 

The path quickly took us up through the palm trees and soon led us to a stunning view down the beach through the trees.

This vista is right up there with some of my favourite views from our trip so far, it was stunning. 

Vista 2 

What a gorgeous coastline, and we seemed to have it all to ourselves!

Vista 1

We HAD to get some piccies of us up here, CLEARLY!

KT vista

Al vista

After admiring the views from the top we kept going and 5 minutes later came out of the canopy...

KT path 3

...to find this view in front of us!

Hubba hubba ;)

Beach 2 peek

It looked even better when we got past the trees, like paradise.

Beach 2

Again there was absolutely no-one on this beach, we had it all to ourselves!

There weren't even any footprints on it, so we could have been the first people on the beach all DAY. Pretty amazing...

KT beach 2

Katie didn't really like us being out here by ourselves in case a mugger crept out of the rainforest armed to the teeth, but I would have been happy to sit there all day, it was just beautiful.

2nd beach left 

Even with the sun down it looked amazing.

2nd beach right 

After chilling out for some time we headed back up to the main road to catch a bus back into town.

The sun was behind us if we looked out to the sea, so with all the tall trees behind us there was not much time left before the sun disappeared.

Neither of us really fancied making our way back in the dark!

KT 2nd beach

I tried to save us some time (successfully) by taking a bit of a random route back, through some high vegetation, some of which was really sharp, cutting our legs and feet.

I just had to hope that my sense of direction was right otherwise a divorce might have been on the cards!

As we were climbing up up up, we had one fanastic view which looked even further down the coast.

There must be hundreds of miles of beaches down this east coast of Brazil.

Overview

Thankfully our cross-country path popped us out at the main road, at about 3:35pm.

It was then that we remembered that (we thought) the lady at the bus station said the buses returned at 20 minutes past every hour. Nice timing Ray & Helen! ;)

There was another guy waiting who was on our bus down here, so we figured that maybe he knew something we didn't, being a local...

Err... nope, we waited over an hour until the next bus showed up, 20 minutes late!

When we got on the bus we were very glad to be able to sit down without ants crawling all over us and we were soon back in town and able to buy some drinks to quench our thirsts.

We wandered back to our room, I showered while Katie read her book in the hammock on our balcony.

As I type this I'm obviously updating the blog while she's getting ready for our evening meal.

KT hammock 

Tonight we decided to head out and find a seafood place recommended for its moqueca (fish stew).

We didn't know which number it was, just the name of the street, so we managed to wander all the way down the road in the wrong direction, but at least we enjoyed a really good view of the harbour at night!

Night view

We also passed an amazing game of football on the beach.

We stood and watched for two minutes and it was probably the highest standard of non-competitive football I've ever seen.

Everyone was playing barefoot, most without a top on, so Katie was drooling over some of the physiques on display. I was drooling at the level of skill, it was unbelievable. 

It's pretty hard getting any sort of photo of activity in the distance at night with such a basic camera, so you might have to use your imagination!

Footie

Just before we moved on up the beach I saw a central defender take a high ball down on his chest, sprint at full speed past two midfielders, do a step-over past the first defender and then absolutely thump it.

The ball flew into the top corner like a rocket. Fantastic.

I wanted to applaud but all the players just kind of shrugged like it was perfectly normal. No wonder these guys win so many World Cups, honestly!

The restaurant itself was small but friendly and the moqueca was excellent, the best we've had in Brazil by a mile so far.

The quality of the fish, sauce and all the various accompaniments were absolutely top drawer. We were also able to drink our favourite Brahma beer, so all in all it was a roaring success.

Moqueca time

Tomorrow we leave Itacare and head further south, but we really need to find out if we can catch a night bus down to our next beach town, or if we have to fly.

If so it will be expensive flights bought at the last minute, but at least we won't waste potentially 24 hours on the road behind some maniac bus driver!

What we would give to be able to pick the brains of someone who knows anything about transport heading south....


Lots of love,


Al & Katie xx
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