After a lovely beachside camp spot at Itanhcem, backed in beside a small kiosk, we head north following the coastline to avoid the huge city of Sao Paulo. With its population of over 18 million we don’t fancy driving through it. The cities on the coast aren’t too tiny either! There is lots of traffic so we stick to the freeways and eventually continue up the gorgeous coastline.
We take a detour to Sao Sebastio to explore the old colonial city. A guy we meet warns us to be careful where we camp, so with that warning in mind we stop that night just before Ubatuba, right beside the beach, in a Camping do Brazil campground. We had been advised to bring our Camping International card. We forget to get a new one, but our 6 year old card does the trick. The price drops from 95R to 33R($16) per night! Here we meet a lovely Brazilian couple who are travelling in their “bells & whistles” motorhome. Her English is great & she gives us lots of places to visit. It is a holiday weekend “All Soul’s Day” to remember the dead, but most are going to the beach and the roads will be crazy. So we stay 2 nights. It rains! & still hasn’t stopped when we leave, but it really is time to get this show on the road.
Passing yet more gorgeous beaches we head to Parati where we mingle with the local tourists on a wander around town, and indulge in some yummy cake. Then on to Rio. We have GPS reference points to follow to a camping ground south of Rio. We make it right on dusk. Phew! We are very relieved to see it, even though it is a bit of a dump. At least the beach is over the road and we can bus into Rio. Each bus trip costs the huge sum of R2.75 ($1.50) for any distance. One day we catch 6 buses! After exploring the central city area we head up into the hills to catch the cog railway up to Corcovado to see the famous views from Cristo Redentor. There is a 2hr wait for the train even though it is raining at the top. We decide to leave it until tomorrow & bus back down to Copacabana to sit at a beachside café for a late lunch. After all the beach is the centre of life here in Rio.
The next day it is still cloudy & we have no plan B. So we head into the city early, but it still takes 2hrs. At least it is only a 1hr wait for the train. Finally we head up the steep hill. We get to see the statue, but sadly the views of Rio are very elusive. Finally back down & head to the cable cars at Pao de Acuar/Sugar loaf (our second must do) and do OK until the 2nd cable car, when we are again engulfed in mist! We bus back home with the craziest bus driver. We are quite relieved to get off in one piece.
Finally after 3 nights we head off bright and early into Rio’s rush hour, following the coast right into the city. Today is much clearer so we stop again at the cable car for another go. This time the views are fantastic. To top our morning off we see Cristo Redendor standing on top of his lofty peak. What a way to farewell Rio!
After the huge city it was nice to see green paddocks and lush jungle. We decide to follow the coastline. There are back to back little towns, and nasty bumpy roads. We finally find a nearly deserted beach to camp just past Saquarema. On the map the road continues, but it is all sand dunes suitable for buggies only, so we backtrack and continue to Cabo Frio with its lovely beaches. There are heaps of highrise, so after exploring, we head on. After a swim at Buxios beach we decide we have had enough of speed bumps, 40km signs, speed cameras & crazy cars. We will return to the main road inland to head north.
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