Country Brazil | Date April 25 | Related Post On Ubatuba
We awoke early, bruised from the excessively hard hostel beds. We snuck (ran) out of the hostel to pick up our rental car before any of the guests could awake and invite themselves with us.
Beaches of Ubatuba
Although downtown was weird, Ubatuba has 102 beaches so we rented a car to see them (cheaper than a tour and more flexible). I drove up and around the mountain and jungle at the Tropic of Capricorn, so right in the most tropical area of Brazil), and down many a treacherous road; fearing I was going to damage the rental car at every second, of course. After dodging bikes, motorcycles, rogue dogs and children running and random traffic not obeying traffic signs, we got to the highway and drove to our first stop.
Understood to be a beautiful and remote beach on the edge of a fishing village, we were surprised to go far down a scary road and then be approached by a man attempting to collect a steep parking fare…with no swimming beach in sight. We drove by, feigning language barrier (actually it was not a feign). Suddenly we were among boats, parked cars, and people on a barely 1-lane road. More people tried to collect money from us (still did not pay), and I panicked as I tried to backup slash do a 10-point turn while a child/dog ran behind the rental car. Fail.
Beach attempt #2 was described by our hostel host as a “beautiful spot where river meets ocean.” I drove down a treacherous dirt road with huge potholes, bumps, rocks and mud AGAIN, passing chickens, a clothesline and a random school. Miles down the road, without another soul in sight, we hit the end. We got out and saw…a weird muddy river area which, incidentally, was not beautiful. The ocean was in sight but not accessible through the thick brackish river. Suddenly, a random man emerged from the woods and sat on a tree right next to us. I half ran to the car while Sarah lagged behind hoping to be kidnapped. Fail #2
Praia Do Pruirim
Secretly regretting the car rental, we made our way to stop #3, which was finally as expected! Beautiful beaches, blue water, lush green forest mountains in the backdrop. I quickly ran into the water and swam a LOT, walked the beach, climbed some rocks and took in the view. Reinvigorated, we continued on to our next stop!
Cachoeira do Prumirim
Our next stop was a waterfall! After three highway turnarounds to attempt to park, we went over a curb into a dirt rocky lot with brush labeled “estationemendo” (parking) and left the rental car behind. It seemed ok? We trekked along the highway, over the road barrier, and towards the sound of the falls. There was a sign warning death, so we obviously pressed on.
Praia do Felix
We tried to park without paying here, but a blue-vested man arrived so we forked up the cash. This beach was OK, more crowded and touristy and less beautiful, so we then took a nap, swam, and [greedily] headed on in search of a more pristine beach.
Praia do Itamambuca
Described by our clearly reliable (not) hostel host as a surf “village,” this was a long, beautiful beach with whiter sands and a stronger current. It appeared great for surfing. The drive in was not ideal; more huge potholes and long roads. We were pretty tired at this point and decided to head back. In fear of being charged for a dirty rental car we emptied out the sand aggressively and filled the tank, believing we may have been swindled for the gas prices (prob not).