- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
- Water Sports
- Place or Historical Monument
- Off the beaten track
During my first trip to Brazil, Ilha Grande was on my list of places to visit and turned out to be heaven on earth. Time stands still; peace and calm reign over the island. This is helped by the lack of cars (or any motorized vehicle)!
Walks through lush forests took me to numerous beaches that line the Island's coast and gave me great views, in particular one that overlooks the 'main town', Vila de Abraao.
As well as walks, the island has great swimming spots. To find them, I suggest you pay for a ride on a fishing boat. We found a young couple, who took us out to tour the island and find the best place to stop for a swim. It was a great idea, as the color of the marine life we saw was amazing.
And afterwards, I suggest you relax with a caïpirinha on the terrace of a 'pousada' or restaurant, before heading back to the buzz of Brazil's cities.
Getting to Ilha Grande is an adventure in itself. You can catch a ferry or catamaran (depending on your budget) from the port at Angra dos Reis, which is about 100km south of Rio. The crossing is fun and you'll be blown away when you reach the jetty at Vila do Abraão. It's astonishing and the panoramic view amazing. You'll think you've landed on Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island'. Who knows, maybe this is where he got his inspiration from?
Across the horizon, a picturesque blue sea, jungle covered mountains and multi-colored schooners create a picture postcard image. As well as being a beautiful island, there are also a host of fun activities on offer, from diving to hiking. And if you don't believe me, just read the welome sign when you arrive - loosely translated as 'if there's a heaven on Earth, it's not far from here'. I agree and I was really happy that I'd included it in my Brazil trip itinerary !
The town, so to speak, is tiny and mainly consists of inns. You can get to the numerous beaches by foot or catamaran, as cars are prohibited here (or at least they are for tourists).
Naturally, I headed to the famous Lopes Mendes Beach, but I'd also like to give a mention to Aventureiro Beach as well. There are lots of outings you can go on, with or without a guide. One I recommend is climbing to the top of the Pico de Papagaio, a tough walk but the view from the summit is more than worth the effort.
It's true that this part of Brazil is tourist orientated. It's not a place that you visit in order to learn about the country's cultural heritage, that's for sure. The main attraction here is the stunning landscape. But it merits its reputation - you should definately come here!
Duringmy trip to Brazil,I arrived at Ilha Grande as everyone does, by boat. Cars are not allowed on the island.
60 miles to the west of Rio de Janeiro, in the bay of Angra Dos Reis, I discovered that there was a large island, Ilha Grande, alongside dozens of smaller ones. They say that there are as many islands as there are days in the year. Some are inhabited, some not. The sea is crystal clear and is great for sailing and diving. The islands are mountainous, dotted with coconut trees, some with villages or picturesque houses alongside pousadas (cheap inns) and great restaurants.
I set off to see Abraao. It's a little one-time fishing village that has become a tourist trap, but still manages to keeps its charm. I took a long walk along the Lopes Mendes beach and can say that it is a immaculate, with fine, white sand. The next day I took a tour of the lagoon by boat, where we stopped next to a reef to watch fish swimming through the corals.