We travelled from Buzios down to Paraty via Rio. We actually shouldn't have done so but Ali had confused herself and thought Paraty was en route to Ilha Grande when in fact we had driven 3 hours past it! She blames the fact that, as we lost all our guide books, she was relying on her memory of the coastline!
We spent an evening enjoying a marathon hybrid 'beer pong' game with the Swedish guys and Canadian girls, which we concocted with the drinking vessels we could find. Ali and I hired a kayak one afternoon and had a paddle around the nearby islands. Loads of fish were jumping out of the water all around us, which was pretty cool to watch.
We headed back up the coast to where we caught the ferry to Ilha Grande, which is a protected island due to the rainforest covering it. There are no cars and bar the 2 inhabitated beaches, the rest of the island is accessible through trekking through the rainforest, or catching the local boats.
We did a walk which lead to a natural pool, where we had a dip and watched the locals boys hurl themselves off the rocks in to the water. The route also took in an aquaduct, some ruins and some other beaches. Russ and I went off in search of a waterfall which had been recommended to us. Having trekked for about 30 minutes in the humidity of the rainforest we found a pathetic trickle and wished we had not bothered!
On Al's birthday we left the island for Paraty (for the third time!). The weather was rubbish so after we had checked in we went to the beachfront bars for a few cocktails. Later on we went in to the 'old town' in Paraty for dinner. We found a nice little restaurant with some great traditional musicians playing and enjoyed the rare privilege of not being on plastic chairs and actually having waitress service - woohoo!
The rubbish weather remained for a few more days and on the 24th we left Russ, who was flying home on the Sunday, to head to Florianopolis. We caught a 6 hour bus to Sao Paulo, waited for 5 hours in the station and then caught a 12 hour bus to Florianopolis. This is in the far South of Brazil, an island attached by a bridge to the mainland. We had heard really good things about the island but the cloudy weather continued for the first few days here and limited the things we could do. We ventured to Praia Mole one day to make the most of the sunshine and watched the paddle-surfers out in the huge waves.
On our last day in Florianopolis we went to Joaquina beach to do some sandboarding. As the sand was still a bit wet from the drizzle it wasn't the easiest stuff to board in but was still really fun, if a little degrading rolling down the hill, or running down it after your board! Running back up the dunes is such hard work too. Sand was absolutely everywhere too. We showered, changed and still had sand on us!
From here we caught another 16 hour overnight bus to Foz do Iguassu, which is the Brazilian border town by Iguassu Falls....