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São Sebastião To Ilhabela, Six Kilometres Further, On The Island…

There are signs pointing the “balsa” everywhere in São Sebastião. “How hard can it be to find the ferry to Ilhabela?” I wondered. “Just… head to the seashore? To the port?”

I get it now. If you’re crossing with your car, well, good luck. Wait times are brutal. Think Los Angeles traffic jam in rural Brazil, even off-season, even on a cloudy Sunday like today. So the vehicle lane starts long before you even see the Atlantic Ocean or suspect it’s right there.

Obviously, I don’t have a car, so not my problem. There’s a separate boat for pedestrians and cyclists.

I wish I had a car an hour earlier, though, when I was standing outside of my Airbnb, desperately trying to get a Uber ride to the ferry terminal. “Sorry, we couldn’t find a driver.” Taxi? Ah, ah, good luck. Bus? You’re funny, aren’t you.

So I walked.

“It’s a bit far, isn’t it?” Feng noted later.

“A thirty-minute walk. With my backpack. My true backpacker moment.”

“You’re going to catch the 12:30 p.m. boat,” my Airbnb host texted.

I checked the time and quickened my pace. Almost there.

Phew, right on time.

The twenty-minute boat trip is free for cyclists and pedestrians, which is pretty awesome. Next thing you know, I was in Ilhabela, texting my Airbnb host who had offered a ride. Just as well, I didn’t really have an address, just the neighbourhood.

Rua dos Carangueiros.

He lifted a garage door and pointed to a hallway.

“Last one.”

This is where I realized the apartment was technically inside the family house, kind of like a suite with my own door. This Airbnb was cheap, but remarkably short on details. Nice place, though, simple but a brand-new addition to the house.

I didn’t have much info on Ilhabela either. It’s an island, a big one, a popular one in São Paulo state. I figured I’d spend four days exploring it, why not, it was on the way.

The thing is, I’m not an island person. The unique secluded island vibe usually kind of creeps me out—plus I hate feeling trapped and I feel trapped by default on islands.

So logically, I’m going to spend a few days on an island. Pure masochism? Maybe. Travelling is also about going out of your comfort zone and exploring places where I just wouldn’t want to live. It’s okay to be just uncomfortable enough to be happy to move on at the end of your stay.

I’ll give Ilhabela a try.

But first, apparently, I have to gear up.

Umbrella, because it’s pouring.

And “repelente” because the island is covered with black flies.

Should be fun.

Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
Travessia de Balsa São Sebastião – Ilhabela
My Airbnb in Ilhabela
My Airbnb in Ilhabela
My Airbnb in Ilhabela
My Airbnb in Ilhabela
Centro, Ilhabela
Centro, Ilhabela
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Zhu

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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