It’s a bit of an epic journey from Paraty to Florianopolis: a seven hour bus to Sao Paulo, five hours at the bus station, another overnight bus and a further two local buses. Finally, more than 27 hours after setting off, we were dumped at the end of the line on Santa Catarina island, a stunning harbour town that’s been adopted by weekending Brazilians and surfer hedonists. We are staying at Banana Beach Hostel and manage to bag ourselves the best room, a two room apartment with a balcony overlooking Barra de Lagoa beach. It’s a great hostel in a brilliant location overlooking the bay and we are sharing with a lovely English couple. Just don’t expect much from the staff, as it’s run by a pack of surfers who are more interested in their own free stay in Florianopolis than making yours easier. Still, we arrive in baking sunshine, so we offload our bags and head straight for the beach.
This place is stunning. The beach stretches as far as the eye can see and it only takes a five minute walk to have the sand to yourself. I imagine at the height of the season it could get a little overcrowded but the sheer length of the beach must surely mean you can still get away from the masses. So if you’re a beach bunny or a surfer dude, definitely make your way here if you’re passing.
The second day, the clouds roll in, as well as an evil cold. I feel rotten so we have an easy day and after some amusing miming in the pharmacy, Leah manages to procure some drugs and nurses me. That evening, we even dust off our aprons and attempt to cook a proper meal for the first time in four months.
And that’s it. Our last stop in Brazil. For now. So we leave, a little lighter in the pocket – there’s no getting away from it, Brazil is expensive, regardless of your budget. We certainly don’t want to bypass any of the amazing sights whilst in South America but we need to get out for now before we bankrupt ourselves. Hopefully we return, in ‘Brazil: the sequel’, some time towards the end of the year, when we intend to boat down the Amazon using only local transportation and sleeping overnight in hammocks on the boats. By then we should be hardened travellers and hopefully mosquito repellent.
Time to get busy again, we need to make our way across Brazil, through Argentina and into Chile to Santiago for the following weekend, where we have tickets to the Lollapalooza music festival. So it’s back on the road – next stop Porto Alegre for a budget flight to Rosario, then a quick breather for a few days before an overnight bus to Mendoza followed by another bus over the Andes to Santiago.