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.