Birds sang their early morning songs amongst the coconut palms surrounding the little house we awoke in, a rooster crowing in the distance and the faint rustling of the locals waking up and going about their daily routines echoed in the area. I climbed up to the small rooftop of the house to soak in the morning, taking a peek at the disorderly houses surrounding ours, spotting chickens, guava trees and all manners of items hanging from windows. The sky was cloudy, of course, but hey, at least it wasn’t raining… with this news, we made a speedy exit in the car, armed with our beach gear once again, ready to take advantage of the only full day we had in Itacaré.
A crazy dog that was waiting for us outside our house hahahhahaha.
We drove toward Resende beach and Tiririca beach, as we had the previous day, but decided to explore a little further, there being one long road connecting the main beaches on the coast. Where the road ended was a stunning closed off paradise, Ribeira beach, flanked by large grey rocks battling the waves on one side and a large canopy of palms and jungle trees on the other. Only a family occupied the near-empty beach at one far end, the early morning deterring locals and tourists alike. We jumped out and went to explore (and conduct a compulsory photoshoot, of course).
On exiting the car, some local guides offered to take us to one beach a bit further away, Prainha beach, which required going on a hike through the forest. It was being described as one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil and so, of course, how could we say no? We left all our belongings behind, bar my camera and sunglasses and, to my detriment, my suncream, and set off on our adventure.
It had been raining heavily overnight and so the ground underfoot was muddy and wet. It was quite the challenge being dressed in my (not-so) trusty Birkenstocks and a bikini and long-skirt. The trail was narrow and slippery but not too steep or difficult to manoeuvre, so I can’t complain. The suncream I had slathered on before departing only took 20 minutes or so to totally melt off my body, the heat of the approaching midday sun and the sweat from the sheer humidity of the forest being unavoidable. But I was distracted, oblivious to my forthcoming severe sunburn and lost in the sounds and sights of the hike. Tall trees swayed gently overhead, brushing against each other around us, while the running streams and sporadic waterfalls rushed and ebbed and flowed. Birds tweeted now and again whilst crickets chirruped in the far distance. The plap-plap-plap of our sandals accompanied the serene sounds, with the occasional crunch of a twig or nugget of info from our guide adding to the soundscape.
A dende fruit.
It took about 40 to 60 minutes in total, with occasional pauses for photos and to gawk at waterfalls. Toward the end, we reached and crossed cliff-edges, filled with tall, uniform palm trees, with dangerously sharp rocks at the sea-front, violent waves crashing incessantly into them. After passing what seemed like a giant palm-tree garden, Prainha was revealed: paradise.
Except for a few local fishermen, who quickly scuttled away when we arrived, the beach was totally empty. Only the sound of the waves crashing into rocks nearby and ebbing and flowing onto the shore accompanied our gentle footsteps on the floury white sand, it being so fine and so soft that it literally squeaked underfoot. We approached a set of wooden benches next to a wooden hut, serving a few snacks and drinks, to drop off our things and purchase some sustenance, still wary about eating food from our previous illness yet still starving from our non-existent breakfast. Of course, a nourishing few sticks of grilled cheese and cans of guarana were ideal.
We inhaled our food and quickly proceeded to soak in Prainha, playing on the incredibly soft sand, chasing little white sand crabs around and splashing in the salty water to our heart’s content. A large group of tourists arrived soon after, disturbing the magic and serenity and, like the water, we became salty to their arrival.
We retreated to our bench and scorned their loudness, trying to block them from our vision and remembering this wasn’t actually our own private beach (although it felt like it could’ve been for ten minutes or so). Alas, we continued to document every second, diving in and out of the water, spinning around the sand and perching on the bench when we got exhausted, occasionally rolling our eyes at the loud newcomers in disdain.
TEENY SAND CRAB EEK
The midday sun had arrived and it was our time to head back. My skin was frying and I had only realised at this point that the sweaty hike must’ve washed off any remnant of suncream on my body. Red rashes coated my skin and we left promptly to find shade in the forest. The severity of the burn only became obvious when we reached Tiririca beach once more. Later in the evening, we had to purchase some emergency After-Sun and I swear it sizzled when it was applied to my scorching skin… So the moral of the story is, kids… DON’T FORGET YOUR SUNCREAM.