Country Brazil (Ubatuba) | Dates April 24 – 26 | Accommodation Withheld as I believe hostel owner monitors Internet for mentions
On the bus to Ubatuba we drove through the mountains/jungle past beautiful views, which I quickly moved out of my assigned bus seat to get a window and view.
When we arrived we attempted to find a payphone to call our hostel host as instructed. After 3 failed attempts and circling downtown at dusk with bags like conspicuous idiots, we finally found one a street corner and dialed – but it didn’t go through. We debated the options:
- Walk in the dark down sketchy streets over 2 miles to an unknown location
- Pay for a cab (not in budget!)
- Return to bus station and use limited Portuguese to ask (beg) ticket lady to call for us
Of course, we went with option 3. She looked highly annoyed (visual eye roll) but did it, and before we knew it an overzealous man arrived to get us. He energetically told us his life story from city lawyer to hostel ownership, stating “it’s never too late.” Inside, we were immediately accosted by a girl who invited herself to go food hunting with us. Also she was 18 years old. After visiting several dilapidated and moderately sketchy local spots, all of which were closed for the night except for beer and billiards, we determined it was best to cook and begrudgingly bought eggs + tomatoes…which we burned badly in the unsanitary hostel pan while some young boys watched and mocked us, “we’re just spectating.” The hostel owner then tried to photograph our passports and repeatedly called us “girls.” Others were aggressively friendly, and a sketchy local man who stays in the hostel frequently for some unknown reason asked us to go for a 2.5 mile walk with him “later” (it was already after 9:30). No.
Later, in the Hostel Room…
The sheets were stained with what might be described as blood. The mattress was moldy. The door had no lock. And there was no soap in the bathroom. Although Hostelworld and Tripadvisor alike had top ratings, and the side of the building is painted with bold letters yelling, “Best hostel in brazil” and “Best hostel in Latin america,” it was not the best hostel — something was amiss! Upon further investigation, we noticed there were ZERO negative or terrible online reviews…impossible. We now believe that there is a hostel conspiracy underway! There is a BBQ on Tuesday nights with unlimited caipirinhas — our working theory is that hostel-goers are coerced into leaving positive reviews after drinking copious amounts. We did not attend said BBQ but hid in our room instead.
*See the next post to read about the beach adventures on April 25!
Praia do Perequê-Açú & El Centro
We awoke early and watched the sun rise over our beach.
I ran to centro of Ubatuba for some photography. Ubatuba was not as expected; something between local and sketchy, erring on the side of sketchy (lots of barbed wire and graffiti – not the pretty kind) with an overall “ick” vibe in el centro and some unsavory-looking characters milling around. We did see a few “cute” sights – a historical church, monument of a monk, and teeny-tiny lighthouse.
The beaches are amazing, but the actual town leaves something to be desired. There is one small section with cobblestones and decent-looking restaurants/bars, and we ate meats and an unknown banana crumb thing at an exceptional restaurant, O Limoeiro, but the rest can be skipped. We didn’t feel unsafe at any point – even when we walked back in the dark about 1.5 miles at 8pm – but we didn’t feel wildly secure either. I certainly wouldn’t describe it as an attraction to be seen.