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More beach fun!

If you are Brazilian in Sao Paulo, you know how to combat the heat– multiple cool showers or a trip to the cool beach.  Hubby and bub have taken up both habits, and now both take multiple showers (I’m sure my son’s have something to do with his eating manners) and we are now making weekend beach trips a part of our regular weekend plans.  For me this trip ended up being more about the food than the beaches or the island, so bare with me. This weekend we drove to Ilhabella.  No plans, just us, a couple of swimsuits, food for the wee monster, and the GPS (which is only semi accurate)

We stopped at Lord Jim’s (Restaurante Lord Jim -SP-055 – Praia do Arrastão. Tel.(12) 3862-1903) for breakfast/lunch after the 3 hour drive from home, and ordered the plate for 2 of grilled fish. You can see just how grilled the fish was from the photo.  Overall it was good, but definitely not grilled.  Again the 2 person plate fed 3.  This is left over AFTER we had our huge fill.

And like all things beach, we got to enjoy the 50 year old women in their thongs, jumping up every now and again to take a cool shower before joining their table and noshing on more fritas.  Seriously though, if your butt still looks that good at 50, and the rest of you doesn’t, why not accentuate that asset?

We had heard the wait for the ferry to Ilhabella could be long.  Ilhabella’s ferry did not disappoint.  We waited a little over an hour to get onto the ferry. After the forever long drive just to get there, this of course is the last thing my son wanted to do, so we unleashed him on the car.

He monkey’d right on to the steering wheel, and refused to budge for a bit.  That is of course until we decided that it was way too hot (even with the air on) that we needed to buy some of the R$1.50 Popsicles that the street vendors were peddling.  These guys were genius, as they’ve got a captive audience.  Once he saw mom and dad had food he wanted a bite, and I succumbed to his cute face and gave him a suck or two from my coconut Popsicle.  The sugar of course got him through until we had safely landed on the other side.

We called a Pousada once we had arrived in Ilhiabella, and of the two I had picked, only one had a room available– for R$280.  I wanted to stay at Pousada Ecoilhia based on their website and the fact that it looked like a nice German couple ran it.  However, they were booked so we went with Pousada Isla Bella, which I had found on a 2006 NY Times article. Not sure it was NY Times worthy, but it was passable.  The Pousada was easy to miss, and we drove past it twice (hubby has a lead foot).  The rooms all had ocean views, and large hammocked porches.  My husband loved the hammock, as did my son who I manged to get a cuddle in. Yes he even laid down and sat and let me rock him!

We decided that for the view, gentle breeze, and quiet surroundings, the Pousda was a nice place to stay. Inside the rooms were clean and well kept, although the beds comfort level was dubious, and the baby crib was very well used, and not as nice as the one we had used in Maresias.  So it’s all trade offs right? I get shampoo and a comb in Ilhabella, and but the pool and kiddie bed is nicer in Maresias.  Bubs figured out that the crib would rock if he rocked back and forth, so that’s what we got to wake up to the next morning.


The pool at the Pousada was quite old, and disgusting. I hated it, and with a kid that’s important to me.  Ilhabela to me is more of a nature/hiking island and I wasn’t too fond of the beaches.  Not only are they small, but the water is a bit murkier and there are dozens of boats both yachts, fishing and cruise off in the harbor at any given time.  That has to spell some kind of pollution right?

The View From the Porch

I really could have just sat and enjoyed the view from our porch (we were in the Vermelho room), but we had to eat and the husband wanted to get some beach time in.

For dinner we happened upon a decently priced restaurant called Casa Verde. It was moderately busy, and didn’t scream “I know you are a tourist, come spend your money here!”  I got the Shrimp Stroganoff, and the shrimp were literally the size of salad shrimp, you know those tiny ones you get in a can?  It was okay, but halfway through the sweetness of it all was just too much for me.  My husband ordered carne asada with onions.  The onions on top were meant to add moisture to the dry meat.  It all tasted good, I’m just saying it wasn’t 4 star cuisine.  But for R$16.20, I’m not complaining too loudly.

One thing I have learned is that if the fries come on your plate like the above, ALWAYS eat them with a fork.
Day 2
Check out was at noon, and after our experience the day before we figured we should get to the ferry quickly.  When we arrived at noon there was no line.  As we waited for the ferry to return, cars began to line up behind us.  It wasn’t as bad as the day before, but I would guess it gets worse as the day progresses.
On the way home we decided to stop at the beach at São Sebastião next to Lord Jim, and let our son drink more salt water.  No showers or toilets, so I had to sneak in to Lord Jim’s to shower off.  Hubby waited in the car, and he say I was delirious with heat stroke, but I’m saying I think some guys actually looked at me now that I wasn’t carrying a 9 month old in tow.  Our Brazilian friend Frank was nice enough to tell me that some Brazilian guys are over the nice Brazilian butt, and like flat butts, as it’s something different, so it’s plausible they were checking me out.  Should I be complimented….. or offended?
While we passed banana stands on the way home, we decided that Ray’s advice that the bananas wouldn’t make it back to São Paulo alive was probably valid.  Last time we were only an hour from home, versus 3.  So we forwent the bananas, and instead hit up Frango Assado a big Brazilian chain.  It’s basically 3 restaurants in 1, or maybe 4 depending on how you look at it.  There is the bakery, the fast food, the sit down, and the convenience store.  It’s all in one big open area though.  Like McDonalds there was a kiddie play area too. It was kind of surreal.  There were also all of these tropical plants for R$15 to R$25 that you could buy as well, right when you walk in.  Seriously like acaí, ume, graviola, and several I’d never heard of before.  I told myself this is a roadside stand, and a store somewhere closer to home probably sells these as well. If not, I guess we’ll have to head to the beach again 🙂
The food was actually pretty good for fast food (minus the watered down coke).  The grilled chicken breast sandwich consisted of a green olive relish, provolone, and ham.
Frango Assado also made for good people watching, as everyone seemed to stop here.  From the biker babe with the sweet motorcycle jacket, shiny skin tight leather tights and 4 inch heels (really you didn’t just put those on to walk into the restaurant did you?), to the 20 something year old with her uber rich old geezer husband in the Mercedes 500 (also in 4 inch heels), to the seemingly wealthy woman sporting at least 3 tattoos (yup 4 inch heels there too).  I guess these are all things I encountered in LA, but hey, it’s Brazil so I can comment on them right?  For the record most people were still in their beach slippers, so these women just stuck out more to me I guess.
Moral of this trip?
I think we need a hammock.

About scrubgrub

I'm just another soul on the internet, posting random thoughts into the ether, because well I love stumbling on other peoples random thoughts, so I figured why not add mine to the mix too. I'm also the mom to two very funny little boys, and how can you not share that with everyone?

7 responses »

  1. You are right on about Ilha Bela, not a popular place for beaches, it is a popular destination for very wealthy Yacht and boat owners who usually stay at the pousadas and take their boats around smaller more private Islands during the day.
    It is also popular for it’s tranquility, once the Island’s logistics keep the beach crowds at bay.
    Still a wonderful place to go, there are numerous amazing places to explore, breath taking water falls, lakes…etc…
    Places for hiking, kayaking, and water rafting too.
    There are many upscale gated communities scattered around the Island with gorgeous “Malibu” type ocean view mansions encrusted on the hills, with fantastic swimming pools, central A/C, all the amenities…including maids and cooks.
    They usually go for anything from 2000 to 5000 per night, they only rent for the entire days if it’s a holiday and they are more expensive during new years eve and Carnaval.
    However these homes are always HUGE and people usually get together with friends to make it worth it, some even have private small beaches, others come with their own boats and boat captain and crew.
    There is also helicopter service to Maresias and to Ilha Bela, it’s not too expensive and the trip is only about 25 minutes each way, totally worth it for summer weekends when there is too much traffic.
    I could say Ilha Bela is not for beginners and you guys did great 😉

    • Ray too bad we have a 9 month old, and all the fun activities are still off the list of doable 😦
      Hubby and his friend will go while I’m in the US and enjoy the outdoorsy stuff.
      And yes, I definitely saw all the Villa gated communities scattered about.

      I wanted to stop and take a picture of one home that had a dune buggy… except it was the porsche of all dune buggys. Definitely an island for the rich.

  2. I love blog posts about food!!!
    Question – Why do you eat the fries with a fork, instead of the hands, is that rude or unsanitary or culturally inappropriate?

    • You can eat them if you are eating a burger… which you usually eat when you with a napkin. Seriously watching them eat a burger is worse than watching a Japanese school girl eat a burger. Based on how fanatical the Brazilians are about being clean and sanitary, I’m sure it’s both rude and unsanitary.

  3. PS Your little monkey is beyond adorable!!! I remember him when he was just a ball of sleep.

  4. Hey just curious, I enjoyed your post about Ihlabela but saw nothing about the bugs. That was the hardest part about being there for me and I was jealous you guys might have gotten away bug free! We were there for xmas and Ill be honest its Feb 15th and I still am covered in my bites from that trip… I enjoyed the island but don’t know if Ill go back after that experience…

    • Jana,
      Funny you should mention the bugs. My son got away with one, and we had a few we found the next day. We didn’t go out too much at night and kept all the windows closed unless it was a strong breeze to avoid that very issue. So bugs were not one for us.


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