“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.
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.
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!).
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).
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.
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…
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.
- 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.