RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – When I was in Thailand a few years ago working on a writing project I met a great Hungarian couple, planning to set up a Harley Davidson rental business on Koh Samui. Sadly their plans didn’t materialize, but I picked up two things from Chico: first, Budapest (Hungary) is different from Bucharest (Romania); and second, referring to travel excursions for the fun of it as “adventures”.
It’s not a new word but is seems to be used less in modern times, and it sounded perfect at the moment; ‘We’re going on an adventure to this island or that’.
Often we adventure for a purpose, but sometimes just for the experience, and we surely hope to see something new and noteworthy, as we explore the world.
Since starting The Rio Times I’ve curtailed my adventuring quite a bit, and some of the stories this week made me miss it. Ilha Grande has an especially soft spot in my heart; it was what hooked me on Brazil during my first vacation trip in 2002.
Of course visiting Ilha Grande is three-times more expensive than it was then, but we’ll let that go, for now.
I first heard of the island oasis from a Brazilian girl working at Stowe Mountain in Vermont during a lunch break from skiing. She had Brazil on her shirt and I was just starting to plan my trip, so I asked her for a remote beach recommendation – and she told me about the “big island”.
Ilha Grande is no secret, but it is a magical rustic place on the brink of over-exposure. While becoming a UNESCO world heritage site will not make it less expensive to visit, I couldn’t agree more with moves to protect it.
UNESCO lists 936 properties around the world, about twenty have been approved in Brazil, and another sixteen on the wait-list. While being listed does not change the sovereignty of the location, it provides financial support from the World Heritage Fund to curtail plundering.
But adventures, that is the point, and another article this week piqued my interest in a place I hadn’t known about – right here in Guanabara Bay, the Ilha de Paquetá. I work too much, and need to find a way to slip over there on a Thursday morning for the day.
Of course Brazil is full of adventures, either across the continent to the Amazon, or across town to Complexo do Alemão. The idea of taking a sixteen minute, 3.5 kilometer-ride with a panoramic view of Rio is very interesting, especially over a sweeping favela complex with such a notorious past.
It brings to mind my next adventure on the short list of semi-remote beaches to explore close to Rio, Trindade. But I also need to get back to Ilha Grande, it has been over a year since my last excursion was rained out during the torrential “águas de março”.