Ilha Comprida, Cananeia and Cardoso Island, São Paulo, Brazil

We spent a weekend in Ilha Comprida in November 2016.

São Paulo has lots of beaches, but the Southern São Paulo Beaches aren’t the best ones. Since we were staying in Itanhaém (Southern São Paulo coastal town), we heard that Juréia, Cananéia and Ilha Comprida (2 hours drive from Itanhaém) were the best places to see crystal clear waters, so we booked a weekend through Airbnb (if you book your next vacation through this link you and I will receive a discount!)

ilha comprida são paulo brazil

Ilha Comprida and its broken sewage pipes. Not fun, but pretty

We booked a house in Ilha Comprida and went along with my mom, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and cousin. It was a full house.
The weather forecast was terrible, it predicted thunderstorms on all of the 3 days we had there but it missed.

The house was simple, and we expected it, but it was dirty and smelly. We entered, opened it and went out to get some cleaning supplies. It still wasn’t great. The mosquito nets had holes and the TV was in a very uncomfortable place (not that we had any time to watch it). There was no water filter but there was a nearly empty gallon of water that we didn’t use. We just bought some new water.
But it was OK, plenty of parking space, more than enough beds and pillows and cooking supplies. We did buy a sponge to do the dishes, though.
It would work, you know, we would be out most of the day anyway.

cananeia são paulo brazil

Walking around Cananéia central square

We arrived on Friday at around 4 pm. When my sister and her family arrived, we went out to eat. We went on foot. My Goodness, we walked a lot, for around 40 minutes, on flipflops. There were broken sewage pipes on the streets, with sewage all over. There was rubbish scattered on the floor. It was tough. It was tougher than tough with a puddle lover Coral around.

The pizza, though, was pretty good. We ate at O Portuga 2 days in a row because it was the only place that offered vegan food (my sister and her hubby are vegan).

There was this street market nearby the pizza place and we had a lovely coconut sweet. It was basically coconut pieces covered in sugar, but man… it was delicious. It couldn’t go wrong, now, could it?

vultures cananeia brazil

The vultures, oh so many of them… (we couldn’t stop singing ‘Food Glorious Food’ from Ice Age 2)

On Saturday, we decided to go to Cananéia. We never thought it would be so far away. It took us over 2 hours from Ilha Comprida to Cananéia. Over 2 hours. We arrived there so tired we just needed an ice cream. Then one guy came along saying about the boat ride to Ilha do Cardoso (Cardoso Island) and how he could offer us a deal since our group was pretty large. We chartered the boat for R$ 200.

We walked around to have lunch. The town was super charming. If it wasn’t for the hundreds of vultures swooping around, it would’ve been amazing.

When the time came for our boat ride, our guide was waiting for us. He guided us to the boat – crossing vultures, watching them eat the eyeball of a fish and watching the other few dead fishes floating on the water. It was not what we expected, but we faced it.

José saw a life jacket floating on the water and freaked out – he’s not very fond of the water and that was enough to make him scared. We comforted him and he decided to give it a try but he didn’t relax. On the way back, though, he was just fine.

cananeia brazil

This little alleyway was one of my favorite places there

In around 15 minutes we saw the first dolphins. There were many and they were adorable, but the water was brownish and we could only see them when they jumped.

We got to Cardoso Island soon after that and along with us, came the rain. We did not let it get to us, though. Even though it was raining and the water was brown, my sister, João and I went for a swim. It was pretty fun – it had been a while since we swam in the ocean. Once a dolphin even came very close to us and left. I don’t know if I was more disappointed or relieved. It was over, though, when João and my sister got stung by a jellyfish.

Even though it was fun for us, the swimmers, it wasn’t very much fun for the others, who waited at the bar/restaurant all the time. There were loads of mosquitos and the poor people were full of mosquito bites.

We learned a lesson then: don’t forget your insect repellent.

cananeia street são paulo brazil

In front of the ice cream parlor – tell me if the street wasn’t charming?

To shorten our drive home, we decided to take the ferry. Turns out it did NOT shorten our drive, just made us take the other way around. The ferry itself was super quick, around 5 minutes, but the drive home…

So we got off the ferry and found out that in order to get to Boqueirão Norte, where our Airbnb was, we had to cross all Ilha Comprida on the beach. We asked a lady and she said that that was the only way. We then waited to see if a regular car (not a 4WD) would be able to cross it, and one did, so we decided to try.
It was a fun experience, but it was tense and scary.

drive on the beach

Driving on the beach – exciting yet kinda scary

The worst thing about it, though, was the huge amount of rubbish all around. There was washed out by the sea kind of rubbish, but there was household rubbish too. So many freaking vultures and trash, it was super sad.

On Sunday it was raining and we’d had enough of it, so we decided to go home early.

It was great to spend all the time with family, but the beaches aren’t nearly clean and it wasn’t worth it going all the way there.

Check our smiley faces at the end!

Do you know a beach that isn’t worth visiting?

2 replies
  1. Tatiana Saito
    Tatiana Saito says:


    Esse fim de semana foi muito engraçado. Lendo, fica mais engraçado ainda!!

    O caminho de volta foi a coisa mais bizarra! A praia é utilizada como rodovia mesmo, tem até placa! kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk


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