Jaza's World Trip

Aquario, Ilha Grande

Aquario Pousada Hostel is probably the most famous and the most popular backpacker's lodging on Ilha Grande. Located about 10 minute's walk from the main town on the island (Abraão), it's close enough to have all the island's conveniences nearby, and yet far enough to also offer a bit of peace and quiet. Not that Aquario is a peaceful or a quiet place, as such — what with its seaside bar serving drinks and pumping out music all night, every night. Aquario's good fun, although the staff are not the most accommodating I've ever come across, and the place is not the greatest value-for-money to be found. Probably better to stay somewhere else, and to just hang out at Aquario in the evenings, to mingle with the gringos and to enjoy the ambiance. Oh yeah, and they have a Jenga set — good fun playing this after a few caipirinhas!

Rooms: quite nice, and quite cosy, 4-bed dorms with private bathrooms. Just don't take the room that's next door to reception, as the cleaning lady walks in and starts chit-chatting at 10 decibels every morning — get one of the rooms round the side.

People: very friendly, very suntanned crew of backpackers — including plenty of my fellow Aussies.

Staff: quite good-looking young ladies, but honestly, not the most helpful or the most accommodating lot. Expect a rude response, if you ask them to do anything that they might find remotely difficult or challenging.

Location: like I said, not too near and not too far from Abraão, and also right on the water.

Food: the free breakfast (not a buffet, by the way, just one tray per person) is a bit disappointing — the cake, bread, and fresh papaya are OK; but the rubbery cheese and the watermelon are inedible. And once again, only coffee, no tea.

Internet: one very old PC, on a painfully slow (I assume satellite) connection. Ostensibly you have to pay a flat fee of R$8 to use it, but if you just hop on when the reception desk is unmanned (i.e. anytime after about 7pm), nobody will ask you for it.

Hot water: hot when at very low pressure. Also a bit eletrifying — wear rubber sandals or flip-flops.