The road to reach Everywhere is long, winding and, at times, exhausting. I think I deserve at least a couple of days laying on the beach. 🙂 The Brazilian towns of Ubatuba and Paraty were the perfect spot.
Tuesday, July 17th (cont.)
As much as I liked São Paolo, I was ready to be out of the big city. Since I had spent my morning doing some final sight seeing, I would only have a handful of hours to travel. It was plenty of time to reach the coast.
Getting out of town was an arduous process, but we eventually found the open road.
There is a small mountain range on the way, but in South American terms, “mountain” is perhaps overselling it. Still, it was high enough to produce a decent amount of fog.
On the way down, the sun finally won its battle with the clouds.
Once I reached the coast, I was now on the famous “Rio-Santos” road. This coastal highway is the scenic route between São Paolo and Rio de Janiero. The number of beaches along this stretch is absolutely staggering. Perhaps “I’ve beached everywhere, man” could be a good follow-up to my current adventure.
Lacking sunlight, I found a home at a campsite in the little town of Boreceia. I paid $10 for a campsite that was right on the beach. Although, this sign almost convinced me to search elsewhere:
“Beware of monkeys!”
Neither the town nor beach was very touristy. It was a nice welcome to the Brazilian coast.
Wednesday, July 18th
I’m still conflicted about whether or not to say the Rio-Santos road is a good one for motorcycles. The scenery, surface and sinuosity are all great….
….but even though this was the absolute lowest season in terms of tourism, it was often choked with slow-moving traffic. But I was in no real hurry. There were plenty of beaches at which to stop.
Just a reminder that when you order “football goals,” make sure to clarify:
I actually talked to a local guy about this field and he said they play American Football here every week. This sport might be catching on in Brazil.
The towns along the coast were a mixture. Most were designed as tourist getaways, but others were more industrial shipping centers. I could hardly fathom the number of hotels and resorts.
I decided to make my home in the beautiful town of Ubatuba. Yes, you are saying that correctly. Go ahead and say it again…it’s a really fun word. I parked and began searching for lodging on my phone. A guy on a bike rolled up and started talking to me about my trip. He said there were lots of good places to stay ahead, but that I could come stay with him if I couldn’t find anything. Seriously, Brazilian hospitality is amazing.
Since his offer seemed sort of “conditional” I decided to continue looking for a hostel. I found one called Dona Benedita Hostel, right on the beach and just $9/night.
Sleeping accommodations were pretty cramped, but I’m used to that by now.
Thursday, July 19th
Almost as soon as my stomach issues were resolved, I developed kind of a nasty head cold. Other than my first day at Foz do Iguaçu, I had yet to have a day when I felt fully healthy in Brazil. This morning I felt pretty miserable and just wanted to stay in bed. Nonsense! I figured some salty sea-water might help clear out my sinuses.
I finished my breakfast right by the beach.
(Note: The picture above is the “crappy” beach in town where nobody swims.)
I wasn’t sure where I was going to be for the night, so I checked out of my hostel. If the mirrors go, the rest of us goes:
Places mentioned this day:
I wanted to get away from some of the more touristy beaches and locales. This is one of the major benefits of travelling by moto. I first made my way out to an old lighthouse (Farol Ubatuba). The road there was really rough, steep and winding.
The lighthouse was built in a classic, iconic style:
….”iconic” may have been a stretch. 🙂
There were some trails here which I hiked for awhile, powered by one of my favorite snacks: Japonese peanuts.
I used to buy these at almost every OXXO station (convenience store) in Mexico. Brazil is the first place I have seen them since.
My return to Annie coincided with the arrival of another guy on a Honda. His name was Ivan and we quickly became friends.
He lives a couple hours away from the coast and was using the day to explore some of the beaches in the Ubatuba area. We met up at my next stop, Praia do Cedro. (“praia” means “beach” in Portuguese). It was about a 15 minute walk down from the road. A couple of young local guys were running a parking operation and I made sure we were good friends before leaving Annie in their care.
Was the hike worth it?
What do you think? 🙂
This was a really calm, tranquil place. After immersing myself in sunscreen, I was in the water.
It was great to chat with Ivan between dips. Though communication was often a struggle, I had greater comprehension of what he was saying the longer we talked.
One of my favorite features of these beaches are the rocky islands in the distance.
A lady named Bia approached us and asked where I was from. She was excited to hear that I was an American since her daughter, Ana Laura, is going to be studying in the states in 2019. They were really friendly and we had a nice time chatting.
The next beach on my list was Praia da Fortaleza. It was about a 90 minute ride to get there. I asked Ivan if he’d like to accompany me and he seemed glad to.
It’s always nice to arrive at the next beach with a dry suit:
It was really slow going once, even once we reached the main road, since we had to keep stopping for pictures.
Right after I took this picture, Annie’s kickstand slid off of the rock on which it was perched and she went down. Ivan helped me get her righted again. If I were to guess, I’d say that Annie has probably gone horizontal about 25 times on my trip. I think only 3 people have ever helped lift her though. Ivan is in exclusive company. 🙂
We found some questionable parking spots and got some sand between our toes.
The sun was getting low and Ivan had to take off. I made sure to have him sign before he left.
He was a huge factor in making this an enjoyable day for me. I really enjoyed our time together and hope that our paths will cross again.
I lingered until the sun dipped behind the surrounding hills.
I had initially thought I might continue on to Paraty this day, but I only had sufficient sunlight to return to Ubatuba. I stayed in the same hostel there again.
Friday, July 20th
You know, after a long day at the beach, sometimes you’re just ready for a day at the beach. I woke up feeling a little better this day and had a nice ride up the coast.
I was aiming for a small beach community called Paraty Mirim. Some locals had told me that the road to get there was too tough for a lot of cars, but that my bike should make it. Sounds encouraging!
The surface was pretty bad in spots, but we’ve surely seen a lot worse.
This little community served as a shipping port in the early 1800s, but was eventually abandoned. It has been revived by tourist activity in recent years. Two structures remain from that early time period. First is a little church:
Second is the platform where newly arrived African slaves would be displayed and sold:
It was great to see this structure in a thorough state of disrepair.
The beach was great, with shallow, calm waters. I didn’t swim too much, but still really enjoyed relaxing here.
There are a couple of little cafes by the church. I had a really nice meal for about $10.
I sort of got “on fire” with my writing, so I spent quite a bit of time here.
Late in the afternoon, I bounced back over the rough road.
Next stop was the colonial town of Paraty. This place was an important shipping center for many of the riches found in Brazil’s interior. I found a home at Cangru Hostel on the north side of town for $8/night. It was very pleasantly random.
I got lots of work done in the evening. My night was a little restless as there were tons of mosquitoes around. Thankfully, that’s been a real rarity during my time in Latin America.
Saturday, July 21st
I got a fairly early start and said goodbye to my new cat friend.
I didn’t have a lot of time, but I still wanted to check out the town of Paraty. Anytime a place bills itself as “colonial,” what that really means is that they have terrible streets and have no intention to fix them. I almost went down among the cobblestones a couple of times. 🙂
Most of the buildings in this town are over 250 years old. I definitely could have spent more time here.
Not surprisingly, it is a major tourist hotspot. There are plenty of boats for hire lining the coast.
I made my way out of town, doing my best not to crash in front of a group of tourists.
I’ll end it there for now. This definitely wasn’t a very exciting update, but these were important days nonetheless. Going straight from São Paolo to Rio de Janiero would probably have been more city than I could handle. We’ll have some more iconic back drops as we take on Rio next time.
Stay thoroughly covered in sunscreen, everybody.
Realtime update: Ok…I’m in Ouro Preto, another classic colonial town in the state of Minas Gerais. This state is also home to our next song place, Diamantina. I may pass through Belo Horizonte on the way, or maybe I’ll go straight there.