Tattoos and Turtles in Brazil

by Ugly Travel
December 9, 2021 | 5 min read

Tattoos and Turtles in Brazil

During my five weeks in Brazil, my partner and I travelled to heaps of places and got to see heaps of things. As I love the beach, some of my best memories of Brazil are of the various beaches we visited and the different experiences each beach brings. However, there’s one situation I didn’t really enjoy, that kind of turned in to a pretty big focal point of my trip

During our time in Brazil, we spent a lot of time in Caraguatatuba (or Caragua), a beach-side city on the east side of Sao Paulo state. This is where my partner’s dad lived, so we were able to set up base here, and do little day trips and visits to surrounding areas. Caragua has an awesome beach that was only a few minutes walk from our base, that had a zipline in to the water, and a cool overhanging rock (awesomely named ‘Alligator Rock’) that’s perfect for jumping into the water from.

After spending most of our time there, we decided to check out another popular local beach named praia brava (which translates to Angry Beach, which makes a LOT of sense). We jumped in the car and drove there, and I noticed we seemed to be heading up a hill. While the hill wasn’t huge, I didn’t think much as we parked the car and started to make our way down the hill on foot.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The way down would be somewhat of a scenic bush walk, except it had rained the night before, so it was essentially a slippy, messy mud walk. And I mean, REALLY slippery. It was almost impossible, slipping and sliding down the hill inch by inch, trying your best not to fall over. I was using a large stick that I found in the bush as a crutch of sorts, helping me make my way down. Now on top of this, as we’re in Brazil, the temperature is in the mid 30’s, so it is HOT. So we had 4 people who are hot, sweaty and muddy when we finally make it down to the sand.

When I took a look at the beach, my heart sank. It wasn’t really swimmable – the waves were too big, and the undertow was too strong. We were barely able to stand up to our knees in the surf, and wash our feet and lets off (also my bum, as I had slipped over on the way down).

I was feeling a bit bummed out (no pun intended), when one of the group yelled out ‘turtle!’, and looking into the water, we could see one, then two turtles pop their head and flippers out of the water. It was soooo cool seeing this – I had never been a huge fan of turtles other than Michaelangelo and Donatello, but seeing the turtles swim around, pop their heads out of the water to check us out was a really cool experience. We watched them for a little while longer, and not too far after that we went to leave. I stayed for an extra minute or two to see if I could get one last glimpse of one of the turtles. To my surprise, one of them popped their head up, looked in my direction, and then lifted his flipper out of the water, and waved at me. I looked around to see if anyone else had seen this, but no one was there. Of course, when I told everyone that the turtle waved good bye to me, I had a lot of funny looks and silly responses. But I don’t care, me and the turtle know the truth 😛

A couple of days later, we checked out the turtle conservation centre – Project Tamar in Ubatuba and again was blown away by the amount of cool stuff on offer. While they had heaps of turtles at the centre, they also had heaps of cool information about the ocean and local conservation efforts in the area. It’s definitely worth a visit when you’re in the area!

Trying to get that elusive turtle fist bump

Finally, in my last week in Brazil, while roaming around Santos, I made a spur of the moment decision to get a tattoo. We were walking around a mall, and my partner told me the best place to get a tattoo was at Nautica Tattoo – check out their Facebook Page here. I couldn’t think of anything to represent my time in Brazil, more than the little turtle who waved at me. My partner had a great idea to incorporate a beautiful leaf only found in Brazil into the design. I thought this was a great idea, although shortly after getting the tattoo I found out that this leaf ‘only found in Brazil’ was common almost everywhere across the planet 😀 Still, it’s a cool leaf and I love the design! I want to say a big thanks to Nautica Tattoo, they were super professional and really helpful, I can’t thank them enough. If you’re looking for a tattoo in Santos, definitely hit them up!

The finished product, 2 years on.

Cheers everyone,


Save to your trip

Any thoughts, tips or questions?

Rhod is a 30 something guy from New Zealand who has recently taken the plunge into the blog world with Ugly Travel, a page that looks at the less glamorous side of exploring the world.

You might also like to read these...