From Rio de Janeiro to Curitiba in 10 days

  Marica&Sonia   |     15/12/2014

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Given the limited time available for this trip, we decide to travel by bus mainly during the night. In this way, we can both save money on hostels and gain time during the day.
We obviously sleep not really well, but we want to enjoy this adventure as much as possible.

We are now in Rio de Janeiro ( It is 11 pm and we decide to join a party organized by few hostels in a club in the centre. We stay here until 2.30 am, then we come back to the hostel to take our backpacks. We have the bus to Mangaratiba at 5 am. We arrive here at 7.30 and we immediately take a small boat to Ilha Grande.

It is a real colonial paradise, completely surrounded by nature. The narrow streets are paved with cobblestones and we can't stop staring at the colourful houses and pousadas (typical Brazilian accommodation) that characterize the island. We walk barefoot on the sand towards our hostel Che Lagarto. It is really close to the sea and surrounded by unspoiled nature.
Once here, we find a beautiful terrace set up with excellent tropical fruit for breakfast. We decide to leave the backpacks in the room and go to the nearest beach to finally sleep under this beautiful sun.
We go back to the hostel after the sunset and we cook some rice with veggies for dinner, while enjoying the incredible view.

The next day we buy a boat tour for about 20 euros which includes a stop in 5 small islands north of Ilha Grande. There are very few tourists and we enjoy the snorkel through the crystal clear water. The captain is so funny and he allows us to stop off to dive into the rhythm of reggae and samba music in this blue sea. We really enjoy it!

We return to the island at 5 pm and we go to buy something to eat at the small local shops. We prepare dinner in the hostel and relax once again on the beautiful terrace. Late in the evening, we realize that there is a party on the terrace next to ours and we decide to join it to meet a few people.

It's time to say goodbye to this paradise. But we must come back here one day to enjoy longer this peaceful place. We take a boat to Angra dos Reis at 10 am. From here we take a local bus for about 2 hours towards Paraty. The latter is a small, very old town and represents an important harbour for the export of gold in the colonial era. We leave the backpacks in a hostel in the centre for about 2 euros per person so we can easier move around.

Despite the incessant rain, we are amazed by the beauty of this colourful small town. The same evening, at 11.10 pm, we take the bus to San Paolo for around 18 euros. We reach the city at the first light of dawn. Although there would be a lot to visit near Sao Paulo, we must make choices dictated by the limited time available. Therefore we take a second bus to Curitiba for around 14 euros.

We arrive in Curitiba at 3.30 pm, with 4 hours of delay due to works and slowdowns along the way. We reach our hostel in the neighbourhood of Sao Francisco by taxi. We immediately notice that it is a wealthy city, with clean streets and well-kept green areas. Curitiba is indeed a cosmopolitan city, considered the capital with the best quality of life in Brazil.
We leave the backpacks and we head towards the streets of the centre full of colourful houses and people on the streets.
It is Saturday and we decide to go for a walk in the Batel district, which is the area where young people go out according to some local guys. Here we stop to eat at a local restaurant for less than 7 euros per person. There is live samba music and there is a nice atmosphere. The streets are full of guys chatting and having a drink, like in a typical European city.

The next day the alarm rings at 7 am for a breakfast with tropical fruit and chocolate cake. We walk through the streets of the city until we reach the Oscar Niemeyer museum in the north of the city. It is a true example of architecture mixed with modern art, with a structure that recalls the shape of an eye.

At 2.30 pm we return to the bus station and we leave for Pontal do Sul for about 8 euros. Once here, we take a small boat to Ilha do Mel.
The island is an environmental protection area, in which human presence is strictly regulated. Indeed only 5 thousand people per day are admitted. The best part is the absence of any type of vehicle or animal-traction vehicle. There are neither paved roads or lighting system. It is counted among the most beautiful beaches in Brazil.

We arrive on the island without any reservations. Once here, we meet Pedrinho, a very nice local gentleman who invites us to stay at his ecological hostel for about 8 euros per person. We accept, convinced by his friendly and hospitable behaviour.
The hostel is very rustic and really basic. There is no electricity nor drinking water but it is completely surrounded by nature.
In the evening we go to the beach to look for something to eat. We find a nice little place by the sea where we pay less than 7 euros for a delicious dinner with rice, fresh fish, potatoes and beans. Really good choice!

The next morning Pedrinho prepares breakfast (for about 2 euros per person) with yogurt, bread with cheese and fresh fruit. Now we are ready for a trekking of about 6 km. Too bad the rain doesn't want to leave us! We keep going despite the rain and we reach a pristine beach where there is even someone surfing in the ocean.
Unfortunately, we cannot reach the lighthouse as initially planned because the water is too high. Maybe for the atmosphere given by the rain, or for the unspoiled vegetation, or for the absence of people along the way, but we feel like in a movie and everything is really surreal.

Once back in the hostel, we put on some dry clothes and go back to the same restaurant on the beach for a yummy lunch before leaving the island. At 5 pm we take the small boat back to Pontal do Sul and then a bus to Curitiba where we will take another bus at 9.30 pm towards the amazing Foz do Iguaçu ( ).

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