Along the coast of Brazil there are a number of beautiful beaches. Forested islands and hidden sandy coves dot the turquoise waters of the coastline. It would be hard to argue that that any of these places are as beautiful as the popular Ilha Grande. In the summer months this tropical island becomes a getaway from flocking residents of Rio de Janeiro and international tourist alike. On Ilha Grande you can feel like a true explorer hiking through the lush flora, paddle the shores in the saddle of a sea kayak or just lay on the beach and listen to the waves gently lapping against the soft sand beaches. Although Ilha Grande has become fairly developed recently, the island is big enough that there are still a number of places where one can get away.
Things to do in Ilha Grande
- Beaches: The main draw of Ilha Grande is the beaches, and when you get there you’ll see why. The best beaches are a hike to get to, but they are worth every step to get to. In my opinion, the best beach on the island is Lopes Mendes beach which takes about 2 hours to get to via foot.
- Hiking: If sitting on the beach isn’t for you there are plenty of opportunities to hike around the island. Try hike to the Parrot’s Beak (the highest point of the island) which is about a 2 1/2 to 3 hour hike depending on your fitness. Along a hike to another beach Dois Rios, there is are the ruins of an old prison. It is worth the hike alone to get to the beach, but the prison ruins make the hike all the more interesting.
- Kayaking: There are a couple kayak rental places along the water and at the beach, but be prepared to be shocked at the prices. Most rental places charge around 30-40US$ for an hour on the seas. You can also organize organized paddles if you want a more extensive trip.
- Diving: Diving has quickly become a popular activity for visitors to Ilha Grande. The waters here are crystal clear and you’ll find a number of fish and maybe even sea turtles or dolphins if you’re really lucky.
Where to Eat in Ilha Grande
Seafood is the food of choice on the island but it wont come cheap. By far the most popular restaurant amongst the budget level travellers is a place called Banana Blu which has a great location and very good food. The price of a good meal will run you about 15US$.
Where to Stay in Ihla Grande
The Che Lagarto Hostel on Ilha Grande has one of the most amazing locations of any hostel in all of South America. It basically hangs over a calm ocean cove. The hostel has so much promise, but I’ll be honest in saying that I was a little bit disappointed. The staff just didn’t seem to care that the hostel was untidy, and it could definitely use a better cooling system. That being said, you wont find a hostel with a much better view. I stopped in at the HI hostel as well which was called Hi Holandes and it appeared to be very nice, and a great choice for a place to stay.
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