Dawn just before 6am on the morning of day 5.
There was a nice warm glow from the rising sun to the east just behind the hill.
The streetlights still on in the early morning.
Pico do Papagaio (Parrot Peak) in the distance which is the highest peak of the island at 1035 metres tall.
Due north just offshore was Ilha do Abraão.
The rocky islet topped with a few hardy trees.
Looking back at Vila do Abraão with the sun starting to shine over the hill.
One of the resident dogs stopping to check us out.
We must have passed the smell test as he decided to sit down beside us.
A great view of the sunrise with the mainland in the distance.
A closer look of Pico do Papagaio (Parrot Peak) on the right.
After a couple of laps on a morning jog around the village, we enjoyed breakfast on the balcony at our B&B. The fresh Brazilian fruit was especially delicious.
After chilling out in our room for abit, we packed our bathing suits and some towels and headed out for a walk.
Outside the Church of São Sebastião.
Saint Sebastian is the patron saint of humanity against hunger, plague and war and the church was built in 1863.
On the Church noticeboard was a map of the various churches around the island. Quite a few for only a population of ~5,000.
Some of the other historic buildings in town. On the left is the Police Station and on the right is the tourist information centre.
We then followed the path west out of town.
The weather was again perfect with blue skies and little wind.
And great for an easy stroll in the beautiful surroundings.
Preta (Black) Beach.
Just next to the beach was the ruins of the Lazaretto whch was a quarantine hospital on the island until 1913. Built in 1871 to receive sick passengers with Cholera who had arrived in Brazil from Europe. In 1932 it was repurposed as a prison. After the construction of a new prison the Lazaretto was demolished by cannon fire in 1954 with only the underground section remaining.
A couple soaking up the sun on Preta Beach.
The nearby stream brings water and sand from the rocks that make up Ilha Grande, and hence the beach sand is a mixture of minerals such as quartz, feldspar, biotite, magnetite, ilmenite, monazite, zircon and rutile.
Ilha do Abraão in the midday sun.
Water washing over the rocks.
And about to jump in for a swim!
After a relaxing few hours on Preta Beach, we headed up the path into the hills.
Built with stone and whale oil in 1893, this aqueduct carried water from Abraão stream to the Lazzaretto. 15 metres high and 125 metres long, it still supplies Vila do Abraão with water.
We then walked back to Vila do Abraão, arriving back at about 3pm. To hold us over until dinner we treated ourselves to a big serving of Açaí na tigela. Made from frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit, mixed with guaraná syrup and topped with banana and granola.
In the afternoon I went up to the top of the hill and peered over the crest.
And off to the far right is Praia Lopes Mendes, an amazing and beautiful beach we would head to tomorrow.
Looking back down at Abraão bay in the afternon sun.
And a great view from the top of the hill of Vila do Abraão.
Relaxing on the balcony at the B&B with more cake and coffee in the late afternoon.
Chilling out on the beach. Although it was the winter off season, the temperature was fine and preferable rather than the 30+°C heat in summer.
The sun now behind the hills as we take a stroll along the beach.
For dinner we setlled on a tasty pair of Mexican taco's and a quesadilla at Pousada dos Meros.
A chocolate and banana smoothie to share for dessert.
And the very interesting and peculiar bathroom, built around a big palm tree!
We then went out to do some souvenir shopping, buying a couple t-shirts, a table cloth and a few fridge magnets before retiring after a relaxing day 5.
More perfect weather at the start of day 6 of our trip.
The warm morning sun slowly making its way down to Vila do Abraão.
Ilhas do Macedo casting a long shadow across the calm blue-green waters of Abraão Bay.
A boat taking passengers off to another part of the island.
Gentle waves lapping onto the beach.
After a morning jog we had breakfast again at the B&B.
Our plan today was to head to around the coast to Lopes Mendes Beach. With a litttle help from our B&B, we purchased return tickets for a ride on the Athos for 30 real ($9) each and climbed aboard for the 9:30am departure.
The scenic boat ride on the Athos took just 45 minutes.
Disembarking at Manges beach, we then started the ~800 metre walk to Praia Lopes Mendes.
After a short walk to Praia do Pouso, we then followed the signs for the trek through the forest and over the hill to Lopes Mendes Beach.
And finally arriving at the beach of your dreams in all its glory.
With not a single building or hint of concrete in sight, the natural untouched beauty of Lopes Mendes was literally breathtaking.
The sweeping 3 kilometres of the whitest, finest sand that stretched out to the calm, crystal blue ocean water.
Waves washing against the rocks that marked the western end of the beach.
Palm and almond trees offering a bit of shade on the edge of the beach.
With so much beach and so little people it was hard not to feel so spoiled.
A Auriverde (the yellow-and-green one).
A fresh coconut from one of the vendors on the beach.
The perfect way to rehydrate.
Rianda catching some of the warm Brazilian sun.
About to take a dip in the waves.
After a lazy few hours relaxing on the beach, we went for a walk to the eastern end of the beach.
A large colourful iron buoy that had washed ashore.
It was easy to see why so many superlatives are often used to describe the beach.
About 6 kilometres offshore was Ilha de Jorge Grego. There is a local legend that a Greek corsair became shipwrecked on the island with all crew dead except for the captain, Iórgos (or Jorge), his daughter and a single sailor. They lived alone on the island for a long time until one day the sailor and his daughter had a a moonlight tryst. Jorge, seized by fury, killed the two and then threw himself off the cliff into the sea, giving rise to the legend and the island's name.
Looking back at Lopes Mendes Beach with the mainland in the distance.
And a panoramic view of the beach and the island.
A fishing boat hauling in a catch with birds circling overhead.
At about 3:30pm we trekked back through the forest to Praia do Pouso where there was a floating café.
And enjoyed a cool lemonade and a hot coffee.
The Athos waiting to take us back to Vila do Abraão at 4:30pm.
While it is possible to hike for 2 hours through the forest to get back to Vila do Abraão, the Athos was infinitely much more relaxing.
Ilha do Amola just to the right as the late afternoon sun gets closer to the horizon.
And back at the main pier after a great day out to Praia Lopes Mendes.
After only light snacks for lunch, we enjoyed a tasty dinner of fish and chips at a local restuarant.
And couldn't resist a visit to the dessert cart for a bit of overindulgence at the end of day 7.
Another great and final breakfast at our B&B on the morning of day 7.
After packing up our bags we headed out for a final walk along the beach.
Just after 9am we made our way to the main pier.
About to board the Aquaholic again for the ride back to the mainland.
And saying a final farewell to Ilha Grande after an amazing 3 days and nights in the tropical paradise.
Back on the mainland where there were three vans waiting for us, one to Paraty and two to Rio.
After getting on the van going to Copacabana we started the ~130 kilometre drive to Rio de Janeiro.
Stopping for some snacks for lunch about 50k's out from Rio.
We made it to Copacabana just after 1pm and were dropped off at the Arena Copacabana Hotel, our stay for the next three night in Rio de Janeiro.
The hotel was right on the beach and was quite reasonable for $108 a night including breakfast.
Enjoying the view of Copacabana Beach and Promenade from the hotel rooftop bar.
We then headed out for a stroll along Avenida Atlântica. Getting a mid-afternoon churro fix for 4 real ($1.20) each.
Outside the Copacabana Palace Hotel. Built in 1923, famous former guests include Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, Princess Diana, Marily Monroe and Walt Disney.
Enjoying our bare feet on the soft sand.
Rio de Janeiro had been on my travel list for a quite a while so it was great to finally make it here!
At about 6pm we walked the short distance to Siqueira Campos Subway Station to catch the train to Ipanema.
As we walked onto the platform, a train was waiting with the doors open. While holding hands we rushed to catch it before the doors closed. Unfortunately we were half a second too late and I banged my leg as the doors closed shut!
I turned around to see Rianda still on the platform with a look of fright and exasperation on her face. As she had no idea where we were going, I quickly held up two fingers and tried to mouth 'two stops'.
After an anxious few minutes waiting on the platform at General Osório, Rianda arrived on the next train and we were reunited after the brief and unexpected separation.
For dinner we headed to Boteco Stambul Ipanema and had a tasty meal of chicken, rice, salad and stuffed zucchini.
At 7:30pm we walked the short distance to the Mercure Hotel to meet up for our Samba dance lessons.
Samba is a Brazilian musical genre and dance style with African roots via the slave trade and African religious traditions.
I am probably one of the least co-ordinated people about and dancing is definitely not one of my strong points, but the chance to experience first hand a bit of Brazilian culture as well as visit an exciting Rio de Janeiro institution was too good to pass up.
Our instructor today was Peter who was born and raised in Brazil to a Brazilian mother and an American father.
Also joining us tonight was Travis from Texas. He was supposed to be here with his girlfriend, but unfortunately she was not able to collect her visa at the consulate in Houston due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
After a one hour introduction to Samba, we hopped in a taxi for the short drive to Centro. Driving down Avenida Atlântica.
And outside very colourful Rio Scenarium, one of the city's most photogenic nightspots.
It was only 9pm but the dancefloor wa busy with couples dancing to the live band.
It was quite a contrast after sleepy and easygoing Vila do Abraão and Paraty.
There were three floors, each elaborately decorated with antiques.
Rianda posing with a wall covered in a multitude of old clocks.
Fortifying ourselves with a couple of Caipirinhas (Brazil's national cocktail, made with cachaça) before taking to the dancefloor.
While nowhere as good as the locals, we managed to put a few of the Samba moves together we had learnt earlier in the evening and enjoyed a bit of fun dancing to the band. It was a really amazing night and was a great introduction to the vibrant and energetic city of Rio de Janeiro!