You’d think the first few weeks of travel are supposed to be the honeymoon period, right?
When it’s all llamas and roses and you’re one of those jarring people plumping up Instagram with pictures of heart-wrenching sunsets. Staring into them pensively, with wide, wanderlust eyes and honeysuckled smiles:
#Love #Life #Laughter
So we were never that lame but if flooding our guesthouse and being abandoned on a tropical island were part and parcel of our honeymoon, we needed you to pray for us all.
In the meantime we’d have to bank on an excorcism from a sh*tfaced shaman to keep us alive and kicking.
For what would be our final week in Brazil, an epic saga of bus rides awaited us. We’d tick Florianopolis and Foz do Iguacu off our list, before crossing the Argentinian border.
Now if you’re on a £30 daily budget like us, the only time you’re flying is in a damn good dream- so here’s a quick tip as seasoned bus stop hustlers.
Most companies charge around £35-45 for night bus transfers but these prices should always be taken with a hefty pinch of salt.
Be sure to chat to other companies, pair them off, ruthlessly haggle, get savvy, get sassy, pout and purr, show them Puss In Boots eyes, stun them with an Oscar performance like Leo’s this season, fight off a 10ft bear, and after all of that, hopefully with all limbs still intact, you’ll be able to wipe away your profuse perspiration, and take a bow for sparing yourself twenty quid.
Easy enough right?
(At times we’re so broke it hurts).
Now I’ll spare you the yawn-friendly details of how our limbs spent most of this week getting rusty on buses. Just know our journey to Florianopolis was going oh so well.
Oh so swell.
Up until a car crashed into the back of our bus.
Lo and behold, our exorcism from the one and only ‘Jungle Amazon’ had not been legit.
We learnt that nothing says ‘Good Morning’ at 8AM like an earthquake soaring off the Richter scale.
Thanks to anon. boy racer, just under a day’s travel from Ilha Grande to Florianopolis (via Rio), spiralled into a grand total of 32 hours of transfers upon transfers and post-apocalyptic, honeymoon hell.
When our three rotting corpses were eventually turfed out onto Florianopolis’ shore, it was a good thing we liked what we saw.
Floripa – The Low-down
- Florianopolis or Floripa is a trendy coastal city by the sea and ended up being my big spot of Brazil.
- Floripa’s got all the surfer town kookiness and laidback aura of Ilha Grande but it’s of a far more lively character (without being anywhere near as manic as Rio). It was Goldie Lock’s cliched ‘just right’ for me. Plus Ilha Grande is a chill, rather than crazy place, so after a week there, we were ready to party.
The night we found a merman washed ashore
- Lagoa da Conceicao is the beating heart of Florianopolis where you’ll be lavished in all the main shops, cafes, clubs and restaurants.
- The beaches (like Praia Mole) are about a 45 minute walk away from Lagoa da Conceicao. However, for the ease of falling from a club, into your bed and then into a breakfast bar, I’d stay here.
- Last but not least, food here is good and it’s cheap. If you’re foodies and big fatties at heart (like us), this is your golden nugget of information. Later on I’ll be serving up some recommendations for dessert.
K.O.-ed at Koze
Koze Hostel is an attractive party hostel located right in the centre of Lagoa da Conceicao and where we called home for the next couple of nights. The owner seriously cracked us up and we couldn’t get enough of this sitting room with a view.
Koze was the first time we popped our cherries staying at a ‘party hostel’, or as we preferred to call them, ‘organised fun marathons’.
Koze’s discounted club entry at local hotspots was great but their organised bar crawls, not so much. The problem is, the Koze Hostel Bar is so fun, there’s nowhere buzzier from prime time till close.
So we made a pact.
The only bar crawling we’d be doing, would be around the Koze bar floor.
The Koze Hostel Bar, borders onto the main strip and its big playlists magnetise locals and other travelers alike. By the third night we knew it off by heart. Jumpman was blasted out so many times it’s now been inked onto our brains. However, memories beyond that become more wobbly than a jumping man.
We blame it on the watermelon caipirinhas.
They were definitely what got Beyoncé Drunk In Love and rambling about watermelon…
Dunes and Tunes
Dunas Joaquina is a fun, sand boarding destination by daylight and even more fun destination to visit when you’re intoxicated at night. You can rent a board for around £5 for one hour or just use your body as one into the early hours.
We sauntered down to the dunes one time, as the sun was beginning to rise. At 7AM we’d normally be sloppily dressing ourselves for the daily grind. Instead we found ourselves rolling with the sand dunes and to Frank Ocean’s Pyramids.
Just another week in the office right?
Feeding a Hangover
As far as the food scene goes, Shoreditch better watch out. Pop-ups spring up across Lagoa da Conceicao like Jack in the Boxes.
Our favourite was “Food Truck“, a very East London style street food joint. Sublime stir fries, gourmet burgers, banging burritos and many more hipster favourites. We ate very cheaply and very well here. If you ever fancy churros served with a chocolate sauce dripping in gold from heaven’s gates- holla!
If you’re feeling more on a health-kick flex, you can taste some of the best Acai at ‘Veggie Aragua’, (located by Praia Mole). They’ll give you a menu with so many sensational, superfood add-ons, it’ll set off Catherine Wheels in your brain. Their general sandwich and salad offering is delicious and detox-friendly enough to nurse any throbbing head.
Yes, I’m sure you’ve detected the recurring theme by now.
Our four nights in Florianopolis were pretty much one prolonged hangover. All the same, it was always broken up by enough delicious food, enjoyable company, and spots of sunbathing and shopping, to keep sky rocketing our moods.
When we rocked up to the falls, I soon realised, I did not do my homework on this at all.
What was I expecting? I guess a steep hike up and down some rugged, secluded hills, before coming into a clearing which would reveal a sprinkling of pretty, glittering waterfalls.
Not a soul told us when you reach the Iguacu Falls site, it’s like a theme park. Okay, one without all the rides- but still!
The entrance boasts orderly queues, while the Iguacu National Park flaunts polished walkways and daredevil, river rapid rides. It’s essentially a Jurassic World of big lizards and raccoons.
We initially threaded through wooden cabins to catch our tour bus, right to the start of the waterfall trail. As we were told to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, our excitement intensified.
I genuinely think I’d have ignited if we’d taken the boat.
Besides the bus, you can get a big’n’bumpy boat that takes you right up and into the falls. It seriously looked worth every second of saturated fun. Sadly at £50 per person, we would of had to sing for our supper.
So we solemnly shuffled away. All heartbroken eyes, as our dreams of the ‘ultimate river rapid ride’ sunk further into the abyss…then next thing we knew we were over it.
When we got off the bus, all the words were drained from our lips.
Taller than Niagra falls and wider than Victoria falls, the Iguacu Falls are one of the most humbling sights I’ve ever seen.
Scrap one cute waterfall. This was an almighty chorus of crystal currents and a panoramic of star-studded streams.
The falls are even more impressive for stretching across both Argentina (Puerto Iguazu) and Brazil (Foz do Iguacu). Three quarters of the falls might be nestled on the Argentinian side but the epic 270ft tall and 85m wide ‘Devil’s Throat‘ straddles both sides.
As for the fairest side of them all?
From the Argentinian side you can get up close and very personal, by pretty much walking up and right into the falls. Meanwhile the pano from Brazilian side enables you to appreciate their sheer scale.
We only had time to see the falls on Brazilian terrain but this still wowed us beyond belief. For anyone who says you don’t get as wet from the Brazilian side, I can tell you for free, the Devil’s Throat holds no mercy.
The falls’ trademark rainbow is visible on both sides
That’s almost it for now- just one last memo.
If you’re crossing the Brazilian to Argentinian border by bus, remember to actually get off the bus to get your migration stamp.
Don’t sit there like the Queen of Sheba waiting for someone to cordially come on or enlighten you when to get off.
But really, what airheads abroad would leave one place and then gain entry to another without a single trace…
(Thank our shining stars our bus was late enough for us to go bouncing between borders)
Next post- Weeks 4 & 5 : Buenos Aires (Argentina). The city which seduced us more than these tango dancers…
Until next time, as always, love from the llamas X