We survived the bus...
Well just about. If you can try and get a bus in the morning. The heat in brazil especially in the height of summer is pretty intense and you don't want to be hopping on a long bus journey all sweaty and in need of a cold shower.
Unfortunately for us, this is just what happened. At least Andrew and I got to sit beside each other, otherwise I would have pitied the person sitting next to either of us. Also it's much nicer arriving somewhere new in the morning. Like I said in the previous post, Brazilians move at their own pace which is really, really slow. The bus literally stopped every hour sometimes just for the sake of stopping because no one seemed to get off or on the bus. And not to be giving out too much about Brazilians BUT they don't care too much about anyone else (not all of them of course). We had some guy sitting down the back of the bus blaring Celine Dion and Mariah Carey for what felt like 10 hours on his 1990 Ghetto Blaster (they all have them here, not messing) and then there was a kid up the front who obviously drank/ate too much of something because he managed to get sick all over the aisle! With a moving bus, there was vomit pretty much everywhere. Oh and nobody cleans that up either, not even his parents, so we pretty much had to sit through that horrific smell on top of the toilet smell down the back (which smells like something dying in a slurry pit and I'm not exaggerating). So please under no circumstances use the bus toilets, it's not like the driver doesn't stop every hour anyway!!
Ok rant over about the Brazilian buses, I think we just had a bad one!
Back to wonderful Itacare and it is wonderful. The drive there can be misleading as it pretty much looks like a sh#t hole but once you get past some shanty towns it's plain sailing... Literally. Itacare is a surfers paradise and basically unheard of. Stunning white beaches, crystal clear water, palm trees everywhere and perfect waves for surfing.
If you are like me (the palest person in South America at the moment, which is highly unlikely that you are) bring plenty of suncream because it is expensive here. They also really only sell up to 20 spf which is not ideal when you burn as soon as the sun sees you. They laughed when I asked for 60 spf. Itacare is very hot with not much of breeze, I found this out the hard way. For at least 2 of the times we were at the beach, I had two people come up to me on separate occasions telling me not to be in direct sunlight... I know what you're all thinking... Day Walker!!!
We stayed in our favourite hostel to date called Ben's Place. This hostel is Amazing!! Everything you could want in a hostel, really big rooms, all with private bathrooms, a resident dog called Rodney, a 15m pool, free mangos (if you're lucky enough to get them before anyone else), hammocks, outdoor bar and two amazing hostel managers Stana & Kirsty who will pretty much go out of their way to help you with anything. The only thing a will say is its about a 15 minute walk to the beach but that's not necessarily a bad thing because when you have a pool and loads of space in a quieter, more relaxing area, the beach is just a bonus.
So Itacare itself, there is plenty to do for such a small place. You definitely have to do one of the many rainforest walks which all lead you to the beach. Also for about €2, you can get on a small canoe and cross the river to this beautiful little island where you have to eat the crab. It is all locally caught and made in a small family house (of course Andrew didn't try it, the most adventurous he gets with seafood food is prawns and that is a serious push for him). I recommend going there to see the sun set, it's pretty incredible.
If you do end up staying in Ben's place, they can book all your trips for you which is pretty handy because if you don't speak Portuguese it can be a struggle. Two of the things we did and loved were:
1. A boat trip through the Mangroves!
Ask for a guy called Nublina, now he doesn't speak a work of English but he is a legend and you will laugh the whole time your in the boat with him. Don't mind the t-shirts that he wears that are 4 times too small for him as its all part of the experience. The boat trip is a full day, you go slowly through the mangrove trees where you will literally see thousands of blue and red crabs in their natural habitat, it's amazing. You have a few stops a long the way where Nublina will tell you something in Portuguese and than laugh hysterically so just join in! You get the idea of what he is saying as he is very dramatic with his expressions. You are then taken through a little stream where you hike up to see loads of connecting water falls surrounded by natural water pools where you have to get in and swim. It's breathtaking!
Oh and a scary enough experience happened to us on the way back, we basically had to be silent coming back out of the stream because some local had robbed money from one of the other locals and they were all out on the hunt to get him with their machetes. We later asked Nublina (our guide) what they were going to do once they found him, his reply was "kill him, of course" (we didn't need a translator for that part). Lets just say they value life slightly different in other parts of the world....
2. Next on the list, a must not miss is going to see Capoeira martial arts. It's incredible to watch. It's a traditional Brazilian martial art which combines elements of dance and music. It is basically quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage. Seriously impressive to watch (especially if there good at it). YouTube it! Oh and they ask girls up to dance with them after so if you're like me and have the rhythm of a door than hide behind the nearest person.
Pituba is the Main Street in Itacare and has loads nightlife, variety of restaurants, pubs and local boutiques. There are plenty more hostels here if you prefer to be closer to the town.
Oh one more thing, taking out money is a nightmare!! For some reason only one of the banks worked for me in Brazil and I have a standard Visa card. That bank was Bradesco so make sure if you are planning on visiting small places that you have plenty of money before going there as sometimes there is only one ATM for the whole town and believe it or not it is only open/working during the high season (I know it's crazy).
When we originally set out for Itacare, we only planned on staying 3 days, we ended up staying over a week and could have stayed longer if we didn't have so many other places to go.
So If you are lucky enough to be spending some time in Brazil, please go here on my recommendation, you'll love it too!
Next stop Belo Horizonte & Ouro Preto.
I'll keep you posted!