Travel Guide to Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande is an island in Rio de Janeiro surrounded by beaches, masked by Atlantic forest, and rimmed by winding trails.

The island, which is 75 sq mi in area, is a favorite tourist destination famous for its picturesque beauty, wholesome tropical beaches, lush vegetation, and hilly landscape.

How to reach Ilha Grande?

To reach here, you have to take a ferry from either, Conceição de Jacareí or Mangaratiba which is nearest to Rio or Angra dos Reis which is adjacent to São Paulo. It is around 100 miles from Copacabana.

Here are places to explore in this Brazilian beauty.

Hiking in Papagaio Peak: With no private cars permitted on the island, hiking is the best and most satisfying way to explore Ilha Grande’s beautiful landscape. There are numerous hiking trails on Ilha Grande that lead you into dense Atlantic forests full of mystic and mystery. Home to various groups of the endangered monkey amongst other unique wildlife, the muse of the forest alone makes for a fantastic ambiance as you make your way to one of the many impressive and isolated beaches on Ilha Grande. Papagaio Peak or Parrot’s Peak is a rugged hill on the beautiful Ilha Grande. It is situated in the eastern part of the Ilha Grande State Park, a steady 3.7miles, 3 hours hike north of the main town; Vila do Abraão. The trail is marked and safe. Don’t forget to carry water as it is exhausting. 

Lopes Mendes: A sea-shore covering 1.86miles, Lopes Mendes was chosen as one of the top 10 most beautiful in the world by Vogue. Rocky at some parts, the ocean is fit for surfing but is also suitable for swimmers and even children in other depthless points. The beach is free and has no signs of humans, making it even more appealing. There are no restaurants or bars and no sign of any nightclubs around. It’s an ideal place for those who want to unwind. It’s a practically abandoned beach, with the edge enveloped by almond trees that holds an elegant natural beauty.

Candido Mendez Jail Ruins in Dois Rios: The ruins of Ilha Grande’s Candido Mendes Prison, destroyed in the late 1900s, can still be explored to learn the history of this land. It’s not conserved or restored, but come here and remember that Brazil’s most deadly criminals were jailed here. You can hike your way to prison. Beach and prison are reached via a trail from Abraão.

Diving at Sitio Forte: This region is one of Brazil’s most attractive parts and a trip worth making, especially if you have a knack for scuba. It is located in Enseada do Sítio Forte at Angra dos Reis.

What to eat in Ilha Grande?

In Ilha Grande, you can blend original native dishes and the Dark Continent’s cooking traditions. The favorite local dish has a unique name that sounds strange for outsiders – ‘feijoada.’ This dish has been prepared by locals already for more than 400 years. The ingredients for feijoada are black beans and pork with pepper, bay leaves, and garlic. The dish is served with cabbage, flour, and rice. Feijoada is served in a soup plate. Even though the ingredients may seem contrary, it turns out to be a really striking and surprisingly tasty dish.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.