First time I’ve been in Ilha Grande, I wasn’t supposed to. We couldn’t find a ferry to this other place we wanted to go, so we took one to this beautiful island. And it was the best thing I’ve done on that trip.
The island is full of mountains and vegetation that you can see from the sea when you are arriving. And is the ecoregion of the Angra Dos Reis Bay. Part of the island is a Wild Life Reserve that you have to visit!
I arrived at Vila do Abraão, the main “town”, and the only one prepared to receive tourism. This little village is only allowed to pedestrians. Meaning, there are no cars, trucks, vans, smog, horns, etc. in the complete island. It’s like a time machine.
Charming is the best word to describe this place, and its amazing and warm people (as Brazilians always are), make a lot of travellers fall for this magical paradise, and never leave.
By night you can walk around the “village center”, where you will find restaurants and small bars. The food is mainly seafood, fish, fruits and natural juices, all local, and super fresh.
There are a few villages more around the island, but as I mention, is mountainous and selvatic and there are no roads between them. You can reach them by boat, or you can go by feet. This is the island’s main attraction: the trekking trails. There are many trails properly marked in different colours, according to their difficulty. Some of them are two or three hours long, but the most complicated go around the complete island in 4 or 5 days (recommended only for professionals). In this paths, you will find waterfalls, rivers, wild animals, caves and much more.
If you are not a huge athlete, it will be more attractive to go by boat to some of the 106 beaches Ilha Grande has. Lopes Mendes and Lagoa Azul are the breathtaking ones,in my opinion. And that is not a surprise: blue water, white sand, jungle all around… just a beauty.
Aventureiro Beach is another paradise that most of the surfers choose. Here you can also practice scuba diving and snorkelling, but only in some restricted areas, as it belongs to the wildlife reserve I mentioned before. Aventureiro has a small village, of around 100 people. There are no hotels there, and if you want to camp in the areas where is allowed, you have to fulfil permission before in the tourism office.
I was already in love with this amazing island when I found out about the long history of it. Centuries ago was the hiding place for pirates and their treasures. And not that long ago Brazil kept the people with contagious diseases here, isolated from the rest of the country. After that, the hospital was converted into a prison for dangerous criminals so they couldn’t escape surrounded by water.
Nowadays it’s mostly a conservation island, that receives year after year travellers from around the world. Some of them stay there more than just a vacation…