When we arrived in Ilha Grande by boat from the mainland, the weather was warm but grey and cloudy which was rather disappointing. The island is predominantly made up of small footpathes of sand and no vehicles are allowed apart from working ones such as tractors.
Thankfully when we woke up the next day the sun was shining!! After breakfast we stopped off to buy things for a picnic and then walked through the forest for 7km.
The path led to several beaches but we pushed on until we reached Lopes Mendes – a 4km bay of pristine white sand and turquoise water. The view was beautiful and so peaceful. The water was freezing though as this was the Atlantic Ocean, but it was very refreshing after walking for a couple of hours. For the trip home we walked back to one of the other beaches and caught a speed boat which as the water was very choppy scared me to death!
On Wednesday morning we had originally planned to head to Rio but changed our plans so that we could stay on Ilha Grande for another day. This time we headed in the opppsite direction and came to Cachoeira de Feticeira, a beautiful 15m waterfall in the forest which a pool underneath that’s big enough for an invigorating swim. We then continued on to another beach for an afternoon of lazing in the sun before getting another, smoother, speed boat back to Abraão.
Basically an awesome few days hiking and lying in the sun which now that I’m near the end of my trip, I definitely needed!
From Foz do Iguaçu we flew to Rio in a couple of hours rather than talking the 24 hour bus! We had then booked a transfer to Paraty on the south coast. We had to wait a while for other people to join the transfer so unfortunately the whole day was spent travelling. However we arrived to find that the bar for out hostel was on the beach so went straight there for some cocktails.
Friday was a sunny day so we spent most of it on the beach. As I hadn’t been to the beach since Ecuador, and even then it was very cloudy, this was a very welcome chill out day, particularly after the late nights I’d had in Buenos Aires.
The town of Paraty itself is a very pretty Colonial town with cobbled, pedestrianised streets and beautiful white buildings with brightly painted doors and window frames. There are loads of little boutique shops and plenty of restaurants which makesthe standard very high and difficult to choose from each night!
Saturday was also a beach day but we went kayaking too. Sunday was grey again but warm so we walked around the town and having seen a lot of posed Insta photos being taken, we tried a few of our own!
On Sunday morning I flew from Buenos Aires to Puerto Iguazu to meet Nick, who is a friend from uni and an old housemate. It was so nice walking into the hostel and seeing a friendly face having had to make new friends every time I moved somewhere new for the last 4 months! We spent the afternoon catching up over a few beers and planning the next couple of days.
On Monday morning, the rain was torrential but seemed to be easing off so we decided to brave it and headed to see the Argentinean side of the famous Iguazu Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
At the top of the Devil’s Hole there was a huge amount of spray flying into the air so it didn’t matter that it was raining! We followed the various walkways above the waterfalls and marvelled at the views, taking in the Brazilian side too.
On Tuesday morning after another wet start we took the bus over the border to Foz do Iguaçu. The weather had improved but we wanted to keep a whole day for Iguaçu Falls so instead we went to see the Itaipu Dam. During building the dam obliterated a set of waterfalls larger than Iguaçu but is the second largest hydroelectric dam in the world and powers nearly all of Paraguay’s electricity and 15% of Brazil’s.
Wednesday was a super sunny day and we decided to see the falls from a different angle and took a helicopter ride over the top! The views were amazing and you can really appreciate the size of the waterfalls as well as see the river stretching off in opposite directions on either side.
Once inside the park we followed the main footpath along the falls which gives lots of views of the Argentinean side. The path winds down the hill and gets closer and closer to the water until you can follow a walkway to stand right in front of one of the falls. The volume of water and the sound it makes is incredible!! Also the amount of spray means that you’re soaked as soon as you step onto the walkway but in the heat its very welcome!
We finished off the day with cocktails on the terrrace of the Belmont Hotel with a fabulous view of the other side.