Ilha Grande, a fairly large island less than 100 kilometer to the west from Rio de Janeiro, is an interesting place. Look at practically any shot taken here and you would swear you are looking at one of those utterly perfect paradise beach resorts in perhaps Thailand or the Caribbean. Surely a place like this, turquoise waters and white sand beaches and located near a megacity of 12 million people, would draw crowds and developers and its coastline will be lined with skyscrapers by now, right? Wrong.
Don't look too happy though, we are not about to let you in on one of the greatest untold secrets of the travel world. Rather, this bounty island initially used to host a leper colony and later a prison filled with the most dangerous prisoners in the entire country. Yep, so you can see why people stayed away from it for a little while. Nowadays some light development of (eco-) tourist infrastructure is encouraged and visitors have started trickling in (mostly coming over by ferry from Angra dos Reis), but as there are no roads and most of the island is a protected area it remains largely unspoilt.
Vila do Abraão is the only town of any significance and a good place to base yourself in for further exploration of Ilha Grande. You can hike around the island (note that camping is illegal in most places while accommodation is limited) to explore it's pristine Atlantic rain forest or discover its beaches. Lopes Mendes at a few hours by foot from Abraão is quiet and seen by many as one of the best beaches in the world. [Review by travelindicator]
- Ilha Grande is a region in Brazil. It is situated at an altitude of 3255ft and the best airport to fly into is GIG (Galeao Antonio Carlos Jobim, Rio de Janeiro)
- The main spoken language here is Portuguese, and the average English skill is low
- The currency used in Brazil is the Brazilian real (BRL)
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Rio de Janeiro, Fernando de Noronha, Iguaçu Falls, São Paulo, Pantanal, Fortaleza, Recife, Florianópolis, Brasília, Ilha Grande, Salvador, Manaus, Chapada Diamantina, Belem, Porto Alegre, Ilhabela, Natal, Vitoria, Porto Velho, São Luís, Jericoacoara [Browse all]