We listened to the spiel expecting it to be like every other boat tour company in Vila do Abraão. (I never counted the number of boat companies, however there had to be at least 150, which is heaps considering the village’s population is only 3000). However, this one was different!
Jeronimo Tours was run on a small boat, took only 20 tourists MAX, visited DIFFERENT locations to the other boats, or at least the best same locations at different times to the other companies (meaning we would have the places to ourselves) and included a massive BBQ lunch and a couple of cheeky bevvies. All this taking roughly 9 hours for R$120, roughly $55AUD. We were sold.
We packed our things, woke Sammy up (as always) and headed for the meeting point on the beach (under the big tree…..). There were multiple big trees all along the beach, but nonetheless we found it. We were taken out to Jeronimo’s boat via a smaller dingy, set ourselves up on the bow and got ready for an exciting day ahead.
Jeronimo turned out to be a real person! He was an Argentinian who moved to Ilha Grande almost 20 years ago, so he knows the island and all of its nooks and crannies incredibly well, he was also one of the original tours.
All of Jeronimo’s crew were incredibly helpful and friendly, including his shaggy 4 legged crew member Pepa. Especially helpful to us was a guy called Joaquin, from Argentina also. He spoke great english and resultantly was our lifeline to what was going on at each stop etc. He was also really interested in the island and it’s history which really showed when he would tell us facts and information about the sites we were visiting and the island itself.
Ilha grande has a really interesting history involving slaves, pirates, political prisoners and gangs. Again, I don’t think we can do the story justice (so here is a link)
The day included 3 separate swimming/snorkelling/kayaking stops.
The first of which was Monkey Island. It was a deserted beach (that none of the other companies were allowed to visit) with a single house inhabited by an old woman who was there to sell soft drinks and water if we wanted.
On the island Jeronimo and his crew supplied snorkels, kayaks and a large 5 person hawaiian outrigger canoe.
We stayed here for roughly 3 - 4 hours swimming, snorkelling, kayinging, sun baking and getting incredibly full on the insane lunch they provided.
The next stop was Lagoa Azul (The blue lagoon). We visited this around 4pm which was perfect as we had it to ourselves! Throughout the day we had seen heaps of other tour boats visit and all sit together at this tiny location. There was upwards of 15 boats visiting the same site at the same time!
The last stop was Bananal Beach. Here we had a swim and then went for a walk up to the Islands oldest church, and oldest Imperial Palm (which was huge!). Both of which were built/planted in 1834. Joaquin gave us all some information on the site and again, more on the islands history.
From the church site we walked down to another beach and were picked up by Jeonimo and the crew.
On the way back to Abraão we were given a couple of drinks. A caipirina made from the famed 51 (the sugar cane liquor that had contributed to a few of our hangovers thus far) and a mix of juice and 51.
The day was amazing and the weather could not have been better. We would DEFINITELY recommend this company.
Thank you Jeronimo, Joaquin and the crew!