Ladies and gents… Ubatuba, SP, Brazil!
Ubatuba is a coastal town in the State of São Paulo and, according to its locals, it has over 100km of beach. From Guarulhos airport where we landed, it’s a 3 hour drive (we rented a car at the airport) across scenic Serra do Mar mountain range. Ubatuba was our detox, our transition to the new life of nomads that we’re having. Our friend Fernando and Jorge’s brother Joel recommended the place to us. They simply mentioned that they enjoyed Ubatuba, that it is near by the airport (“near by” – in Brazilian terms, ok?) and that it is an amazing place to visit. We Googled “Ubatuba” for about 10 seconds before deciding that this will be the first place we will visit on our trip. For us, it did not really matter where we will go first. One criteria was simply to be near the sea and in the sun – we really needed to recharge! Oh boy, we did not regret it at all, it was a perfect little haven, placed in between a lush tropical forest and a beautiful beach. This is where we stayed:
The room/chalet was basic but had everything we needed – big bed, shower, toilet and a small kitchen to make our morning coffee. But, the views and the nature sounds around chalet were absolutely spectacular, second to none and worth every cent (for Lux standards, chalet was super cheap – less than 30€ a night – quite expensive in Brazil for the moment though). I know it’s nothing special to Brazilians but I was and still am amazed every time I see bananas growing right next to me and the chalet was surrounded by banana trees.
After a 12-hour flight, we arrived super exhausted to the chalet but forced ourselves to stay awake – fighting jetlag is tricky but has to be done (I still had to take a little napsie, otherwise I would have fainted). We even made a song about our physical state; the state of mind becomes obvious from the nonsense we’re singing about. We left our bags in the house and then walked 100 meters to the Praia Vermelinha, a beautiful small surfers’ beach perfect for coffee and coconut water. Plus, there was a little swing that became my favorite thing every time I visited the beach.
We also heard nice things about a small beach called Praia do Cedro, some 30 minute walk from our chalet. Locals told us that you have to go there early in the morning if you want to have it for yourself. We didn’t listen, and went to check it out in the afternoon. After a 2 km hike uphill, we reached this beautiful beach which was, indeed, crowded but nice anyway for an afternoon snack, beer, diary entries and sitting on a rock pretending I didn’t know Jorge is taking a picture of me.
Jetlag did a wonderful thing, unimaginable thing to us. The second day in Brazil, sun and birds woke us up at 7 am. We were entirely energized and rested and ready to explore. So, what did we do? We went hiking! My friend Majlinda would now just roll her eyes and tell me to calm the f**k down and chill. LOL.
Trilha das 7 Praiais – 7 Beaches Trail
We were pretty sure that hikes around Ubatuba would be spectacular and we found (on the “Alltrails” app) a 12km hike called “Trilha das 7 Praias / Trail of 7 Beaches”. 12 km seemed easy-peasy to us after two years of walking everywhere like crazy people, and so we went… The way towards Praia da Fortaleza where the hike starts was more of a roller-coaster adventure than a car ride; super bumpy and muddy roads to get to the destination but worth every kick in the kidney and every smash against the car window.
Guys, hiking in a tropical forest is not a joke, especially just before the noon when no smart person does it. I could barely breathe in what was probably a 90% humidity environment. Jorge was like a breeze, for him humidity did nothing. I mean, look at us:
Trilha das 7 Praias. Find the difference.
The forest is amazing, unlike any I have ever seen before – and I have seen many many many in the past few years. Here, dozens of plants grow on huge trees, making the forest super rich, thick, with no way of just wandering and getting off the trail. Some trees look like giant broccoli, for real! I sweated so much going up and down on muddy trail, I thought I lost at least 2 liters of liquid from my body. Some parts had climbing ropes to help hikers climb big rocks and difficult passages (as presented in the elegant picture above). It was super worth it, anyway. If not for the amazing experience of hiking in the Atlantic forest and seeing all the amazing plants (I have so much more to report on these plants that impress me so much), then for the views like this:
Luckily, this trail does open up to amazing beaches every few kilometers. This is where you get the reward of moving your ass and doing new things. Rewards for me (am I a dog?) come in the form of food and drinks (and well, more views and more nature).
After manioc (cassava), beer, açaí (sooo yummmyyyy, you gotta try it!) and a quick swim (Jorge swam, I basically ran away from waves and dipped my body in water for like 4 minutes) at the beach that we had just for ourselves, we decided to go back and finally did 8 instead of 12 km. Once the hike was over, I was so happy we have done it. It felt great. I was also happy we didn’t see any snakes and that mosquitoes pretty much left us alone that day (unlike other days in which mosquitoes were amazed by the taste of my legs). The next day we went to visit Trindade and Paraty, first cities on the border between the state of SP and RJ, and a “must-do” when in the neighborhood.
A day visit to Trindade & Paraty
Paraty is one of the most famous cities in this region. It has well preserved and very colorful colonial architecture (it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site) and a bunch of restaurants and cafés. A perfect little town for a day stroll.
Paraty, RJ, Brazil. December 2021. Personal Archive.
After Paraty, we stopped in a small town called Trindade. This place reminded us so much of the cities in Thailand – probably because there is a lush forest on a hilly surrounding right next to the beach. When we just arrived there it rained like crazy, locals told us that they were waiting for this rain to come for a while now. It was that crazy tropical shower that soaks you in a second, and people coming out of the ocean and protecting themselves from the rain was a funny thing to see. Others, just enjoying the rain and minding their own business, as if nothing happened at all. Us? Walking around and trying out some local snacks from street vendors. Loads of meat options here so Jorge was the one to try it out (see pic below).
Paraty, with a must-do stop at Trindade – we highly recommend it!!
It was raining cats and dogs our last two days in Ubatuba. We only went out to get some food. Our Airbnb host recommended this very nice pizza place called Forno e Flora. Brazilians can be crazy when it comes to making pizza: sometimes they put 100 toppings on it and choose 3 different flavors in one pizza. Not to mention the size. But this place was not like that, it was a “normal size” pizza with “normal amount” of ingredients:
There is so much more to say about food in Brazil, we will do it in some other post 🙂
Anyways, our time in Ubatuba was coming to an end. We have spent the last day there lazy in bed, listening to the rain, reading and trying to figure out how this blogging thing works. We went for the last little visit to the pretty swing on Praia Vermelinha before we packed our bags. Once again, we crossed the Serra do Mar to reach Guarulhos airport where we took the flight to Curitiba, Jorge’s hometown.
More about our adventures in Curitiba – in the next post 🙂