17 – 28 December
A short busride south brings us back to the coast, to a tropical place called Ubatuba. What Ilha do Mel is for the people of Curitiba, Ubatuba is for the folks from São Paulo – a perfect get-away and very popular vacation paradise.
The day we arrive though, is not very paradise-like as it is raining heavily. Earlier, we made a reservation at a hostel/camping and decided to go for the tent option – not our own, low-quality one but a proper one provided by the accommodation – that’s what we hope at least. However, when moving into our accommodation for the upcoming few nights it turns out that the tent is not really water or rain resistant. It almost has a swimming pool character as the air matress is basically floating in the water at the bottom of the tent. Fortunately, a nice couple from Brazil offers us to share their room with them that has some spare beds. It really seems that our camping approaches are doomed somehow, accompanied by great luck at the same time though. When setting up our own tent the next day it snaps and one of the two bars breaks in half. In other words, this is the end of the era in our tent.
As we are approaching Christmas and thus the high season (summer break) the main beaches are packed with sun worshippers as well as vendors trying to sell Caipirinhas, ice cream, sandwiches, sunglasses, hats, selfie-sticks and, and, and…
After a short walk to the first beach in the worst heat of the day (around 36 degrees Celsius in the shade) I cannot wait to get into the refreshing and very ripply waters. However, as soon as I reach the point where the water level gets up to my knees I get approached by a lifeguard who tells me that it is not possible/allowed to swim at this beach due to the big waves and the strong current. Trying to explain him that I am not swimming but just standing in the knee-deep water washing my face does not really result in any sort of understanding. Thus, we don’t have any other choice but to find another beach, if we want to swim. We do want to swim and we do find some gorgeous beaches (six out of 80 and all differ from another) that are less popular and just made for some relaxing days with sun, sand and sea.
Just a few kilometers further east awaits Paraty, a small coastal town with a stunningly beautiful, colonial center. The cobblestone streets are so historic that it is literally impossible to walk around in a normal speed or to look at the pretty buildings at the same time without getting injured. Maybe this is part of the reason why the atmosphere is so tranquil and peaceful here. The combination of wonderful beaches and cultural world heritage mixed with fresh fish and Cachaça (Brazil’s national spirit often consumed in form of Caipirinha) is the perfect Christmas cocktail and simply invites to stay longer.
However, once Christmas is over and after having spent almost an entire week here we say goodbye to lovely Paraty as another, very special place is calling in the end of this absolutely amazing year.