If you`re tired of the craziness in Rio, you can take a boat to a happier land – the Paqueta island, only 40 min away with the ferry from the city center. It`s a very quiet place and it`s the first place I`ve been where cars aren`t allowed. The life pace here is very slow, it`s like they`re living a continuous siesta.
I`m not sure what kind of jobs they have, I guess most of them take the boat to Niteroi or Rio every day. Of course, there are restaurants and shops and there are fishermen, so some of them work on the island. But it`s a perfect example of lazy Brazilian life – people spend time at the beaches, they swim or relax in the shadow, they play cards in the street or they ride bicycles across the village.
The views the island offers are great because you can admire the ocean, similar small islands and huge rocks that rise above sea level that form interesting patterns in the water. It`s so easy to forget Rio while you`re in there, it`s like you`re in a completely different place where problems don`t exist.
On the eastern part of the island there is a public park. You can climb on the top of the hill to a gazebo that offers an amazing 360 degree view. We also found some nice monkeys in a tree called marmosets. They are really small and cute and it was obvious that they are used to tourists because they started gathering waiting for food when they saw us approaching the tree. I later found out that they`re an invasive species, but I still like them.
In conclusion: Paqueta – fast and cheap way to escape the city (4.5 R$ one trip, approx. 40 min), a chance to discover wildlife and to enjoy great views and warm water! Travelling tip: it`s a good idea to have a picnic there, but you`d better buy the food in the city because the supermarkets and restaurant are pretty expensive.