Vale la pena
Find out more about our absolute highlight on our Brazil trip – to us one of the best places to visit in Brazil.
“I think the woman next to me thinks I have yellow fever…” our adventurous way on the dreamlike really DREAMlike island Ilha de Boipeba took 17 hours, nevertheless Vale la Pena. Unfortunately one of us caught quite a cold, which makes the odyssey even more unbearable.
Our day starts at 2:30 am from Cuiabá to Saõ Paulo. Then from Saõ Paulo to Salvador. From the airport we go to the port to take the ferry for 5 Reais pP to Bom Despacho. Once there you can buy a bus ticket for 26 Reais pP to Valenca, the journey takes about 2 1/2 hours. Once you arrive in Valenca at the bus terminal, it is best to take an overpriced taxi for a total of 20 Reais to the port. There you buy a ticket for a boat to Ilha de Boipeba for 45 Reais pP. The last stage is the approx. 1 hour boat trip on which I can finally breathe through my nose again.
To get to the Pousadas, take the road that leads slightly to the left directly into the city, up the hill to a large square and from there straight on into the small streets. Fortunately, our check-in is super fast and we are happy that it is not so humid. The small room will be our home for the next two weeks.
With the last energy we explore the fishing hippie village. The houses have a maximum of two floors, are colourful and life takes place mainly on the street. There is no lack of small supermarkets, restaurants or drugstores. So on the first evening we end up in an Italian restaurant because we are extremely craving Pizza Margherita. The dough is crispy, thin in combination with the hot cheese and tomato sauce exactly what we needed after such a long day. The pizza is 48 Reais and you can easily share one.
On the large square in the middle of the village you can order freshly made Tapiocas filled sweet or spicy. In the evening there is a stand from the bakery, which sells freshly baked Acarajé on the street. The fried bean dough rolls are the traditional snack dish in the Bahia region. The roll is fried in palm oil and filled with tomatoes, onions, puree and shrimps according to taste. Nevertheless, the puree is actually much too complex to be prepared to simply gobble it up. The puree is called Vatapá which is traditionally made from fish, nut kernels, dried crabs, soaked bread, dendê oil, coconut milk and spices (coriander, parsley, ginger and more). A must for us when visiting Bahia, in Salvador there are probably the best but here on Boipeba they also taste delicious. Another tip about food: On Sundays you can buy fresh Pollo Assados for 30 reais at a fruit and vegetable shop.
The next morning all our spirits are awakened by a loud “Bom Dia” of the always smiling employees in the breakfast area. Our host Henrique was probably right that the people here on the island have an incredibly loud organ. We greet back as loud as possible and already have a good laugh – simply because we have a wonderful day ahead of us. The breakfast is rich; fresh juices from fruits that we partly never tasted before, scrambled eggs, breads, fruits and freshly baked chocolate cake with coconut flakes. We stock up with water and some food that we store in the small fridge in our room. Fortunately we are allowed to use the kitchen from 3 p.m. and we can also wash our clothes for free once as we ask politely.
So we make our way through the village to the beach. The 20-minute way leads mostly over sand so beware of wearing flip flops, it can get hot. First of all we are speechless … this beach … bright fine sand surrounded by 100ths of palm trees decorated with small wooden stalls and the beach as far as the eye can see. We would have also taken 24 hours journey on us to arrive here. The attitude to life on the island is obviously very different than in the city. You feel safe, greet each other and start with an extra portion of “tranquillo” into the day.
First we explore the beach before we sit down. We walk to the left around the top of the island to find another beach section that is at least as beautiful. So we turn around again towards Guidos, a fish restaurant which is thanks to Google and Co super hip and popular with the Brazilians, but we don’t like the atmosphere also the prices are a little bit adjusted. You will certainly find extremely tasty lobsters here. We are drawn to the first stand where we were friendly approached – Barraca de Paúca. Paúca has this “barrack” (this is the name of all the small restaurants which are not barracks at all) on the beach here already for some years and prepares us ingenious Caipirinhas. We chat for a while in Spanish and are happy that we did not go to Guidos. His nice wife creates the most delicious dishes in the small beach kitchen, we tried Pulvo (approx. 70 Reais) and Lobster (approx. 100 Reais) during our time in Boipeba and were thrilled. So you sit on the chairs directly at the beach, the sun shines, the fresh sea air washes through all airways and the mild water rolls under our feet. Aaaachhh you don’t want to leave this place anymore!!!!
A walk along the beach to the right to the end of the section leads to a river that flows into the sea. You can’t see the sunset from this side, but we manage to get home after dark anyway. During a round of UNO near the billiard table in the pousada we get to know some local people, as it turns out our host is having a little spontaneous party today – such a luck that we stumbled into it. We get to know his local friends and a Japanese couple from Saõ Paulo which Henrique has known since childhood. A mixture of English, Spanish and Portuguese takes us through the night. Later we find out that the Japanese Brazilians in their 60s are not even together anymore, they just spend their holidays here together and share a room – oh well, you can do that ^^ an old buddy of Henrique serves his wife fresh cheese slices, salami and wine, a few other locals play billiards (allegedly the first billiard table there was here on the island), a few more relaxed smokes and we get fresh mussels served – we have to try them out. After some Caipis and many beers we fall knocked out to bed.
Moreré – Praia de Bainema
We have made some excursions on foot, some relaxing some very exhausting. The trip to Moreré and to the beach “Praia de Bainema” was rather exhausting; up to two hours through the heat in the sand, followed by a walk on the beach of one hour up to a restaurant as we ran out of water. We needed a quad back home because we were so busted. Of course, you can also take a quad up to Morere and then stroll relaxed along the beach.
Fauna & Flora
The variety of plants in our pousada alone is amazing; from the flower of the passion fruit (the queen among the flowers) to special climbing plants, there is already a lot to be found here. The hummingbirds fly from one naktar place to the next and also there are also some “hanging leg flies” like on Ilha Grande. We only saw wasps once and they were really only looking for sweet things, so they were not after our meat and everything like in Germany.
There are many dogs around on the island, some have a owner, some are simply part of the island community. So we also get to know “Sandy” our island dog. We don’t know how she manages but she has been waiting for us in the village every day that we go to the beach to walk with us to the seaside. When she arrived there she took some bites from the restaurants here and there during the day, went for an evening walk with us at the beach and then went home with us. We only gave her some water as we didn’t had proper dog food with us, because it was so unbearably hot.
Not only the dogs run free on the beach, one day Sandy ran off with some other dogs as if bitten – the free running horse had left his meadow and seems to have the nerve to ride ALONE on the beach territory of the dogs. A big sensation, all the dogs after him, the horse gallops and everyone has to laugh. Where have we landed here?! What a dream.
Party like it’s hot
The visit to the church on Tuesdays usually ends with a small party on the street. A few men grab drums, rattles and guitar and sing to the music. The adults and children dance to it on the street or sit at the edge and talk. Shortly before we want to go to bed, as we have to leave the next day, our host stumbles across our terrace and asks if we don’t want to go to a party in the village centre. We are curious and immediately agree, our neighbours from Saõ Paulo also come with us and so we set off together.
As the island is usually flooded with fresh rainwater early in the morning or at night, we stomp through the unasphalted mud to the small village “Diskothek”. The music clatters enormously loud from the little house that is covered with palm leaves. First we stop in front of the little house and chat a bit before we go in. The first drunk ones are dragged home by friends in tow. Our host doesn’t want to go in yet, it’s too loud for him, so the two of us go in.
The whole house is shaking, nobody’s standing still. Only one girl at the bar who has thrown herself into a pink dress and is not particularly enthusiastic about the “dance attempts” of her admirers. She seeks refuge with us and does not leave our side. A group of stylish queens with make-up is dancing in front of the boxes. They put their finest dance moves on the sand parquet and are also happy that we keep the somewhat annoying older gentleman away from them. After two weeks on the island we already know some of the people and are greeted heartwarmingly and we talk with hands and feet, it is much too loud to understand each other anyway. From very small to very old all inhabitants are represented here, probably our host is right, that the kids are exposed to such a loud sound already at a young age, that one just permanently speaks a louder tone.
The next day we tow our backpacks to the harbour, slightly hungover, and leave this little paradise. Hopefully we will have the chance to come here again sometime.
P.s.: unfortunately one of us sprained his foot during our time on Boipeba therefore we have spent some days simply in the room, otherwise we possibly would have made a boat trip.