5 reasons why Ilha Grande (Brazil) feels like a little paradise

“If you want to relax, come to Ilha Grande. If you want to be active, come to Ilha Grande”. Just a few hours from Rio de Janerio, the brazilian island Ilha Grande has seduced locals for decades. Many international travelers now also head off to the lovely island to relax after a few days in bursting Rio de Janeiro. Hikers or beach lovers, all meet at the end of the afternoon by the beach to sip a few caipirinhas.

No cars

Just listen. Did you hear the silence? Maintenance trucks aside, there are no motorized vehicule on the island. Locals like tourists go around by foot, by bike or by boat, highly contributing to the laid back atmosphere of the island.

Chances are you will fall in love with the island even before you leave the boat

Beautiful beaches almost just for you

With more than 20 beaches, each more beautiful than the next, there is space for everybody. Lopes Mendes beach is considered as one of the best and is accessible after a 3h of hike (or you can take the boat!).

No problem to find a spot for our towel on Lopes Mendes beach


Fauna and flora

The island is covered by jungle forest and one forth is protected in a biological reserve. Hiking around the island offers you many birdspotting opportunities. For those who prefer marine life, the clear waters of Ilha Grande are perfect for snorkelling or diving (tours are arranged on the island).

Be ready to spot monkeys!


Accessible self guided hikes

The island is covered with hiking trails. Bring a picnic and plenty of water and off you go, ready for a day of beach hopping. Popular hikes include: day trip to Dois Rios or Lopes Mendes beaches or hike Pico do Papagaio, second highest point of the island to enjoy the sunrise. For even more freedom, bring your camping equipment and hike from beach to beach.

Cooling down on the soldiers’ fountain, a natural pool on the way to Lopes Mendes beach.



The problem with paradisiac islands is always to get there. With multiple connections a day from/to 3 different towns (Angra dos Reis, Mangaratiba or Conceição de Jacareí) on the mainland, you won´t feel traped on Ilha Grande. These good connection make Ilha Grande a reasonable option even for a short stay of 2 or 3 nights, but really you will probably want to stay more…


The bay of Abraão on Ilha Grande. In the background, the mainland.


Make it happen – relaxing on Ilha Grande (Brazil):

When to go: Ilha Grande is a popular week-end and vacation place for the locals. For some quiet time, choose week days. For weekends and between Christmas and Carnival, book ahead.

Getting there:

  • It takes around 3h by bus to reach Angra dos Reis from Rio de Janeiro and 8h from São Paulo.
  • To get on/to the island, you have the choice between speed boats (30min) and normal connections (1h-1h30) all arriving in Abraão, main town of the island.
  • Short on time? You can get a door to door transfer to the island by minibus from Rio de Janeiro (R$80)

Good to know: There is no ATM on the island so make sure you bring enough cash. Charge devices before coming: power shortage of a few hours are frequent over there.


Share your thoughts!