Definitely a location for those sailors who like to tread on less travelled waters, the Ilha Grande (or Big Island) has no road system, is covered in lush rainforest and is surrounded on all sides by beaches. Sound tempting? We think so too, in fact, we consider it to be a great yacht charter Brazil location, though not one for the faint of heart, since the island was largely used as a prison where the country’s most hardened criminals were kept.
150 km down the coast from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil there is a small municipality called Angra dos Reis, consisting of some 365 islands, the biggest being Ilha Grande (literally meaning “The big Island”). The fact that is most appealing about this island is the fact that the rainforest here is the most pristine, thus being a veritable experience for any adventurers.
Because it’s part of the Ilha Grande State Park natural reserve which is aimed at protecting the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil, construction and urban development on the island is strictly controlled but ecotourism is encouraged, which translates into a myriad of dirt trails, coastal villages, lodging hamlets and many beaches for the tourists to enjoy.
Travel & Arrival
Let’s get one thing straight from the start; the only way you are going to get to the Ilha Grande is by boat. There are ferry services leaving from Mangaratiba which last an hour and a half, and from Angra dos Reis which take 90 minutes. For the people who are in a hurry, there are also services.
By land, the town of Angra dos Reis is accessible by car and by bus, daily runs leaving from Rio de Janeiro and from São Paulo. From there, groups can take the ferry.
Avant & Apres Sail
The main thing to remember that since the island is so undeveloped, there are a few modern inventions which aren’t accessible to tourists, things like cars and credit cards. Since there are no roads on Ilha Grande, there are no cars allowed, and since there are no banks, your group better carry cash.
For those of you bother to make the trip down here, there’s an upside, the beaches on this island are considered to be the best in all Brazil and some of the best bits of Atlantic coast. And just because most of the island is covered in forest, it doesn’t mean that there are no sights to see. First, visitors should check out the Art gallery inside the Vivenda das Bromelias Inn, the Aqueduct and of course, the Brazilian equivalent of Alcatraz, the Candido Mendez Jail which is in ruin today.
Also on the island there are 30 restaurants with prices ranging from very expensive to very cheap. It all depends how much money you want to spend on dinner. A thing the locals specialize in is the seafood, which many establishments serve in casseroles with several dishes for two. So take your buddy and buy him a meal!
The nightlife centers around the bars that serve local beers in copious amounts, as well as guarana, Brazil’s number one soft drink and the Caipirinha which will definitely get a party started. Live bands play anything from bossa nova to samba so bring your dancing shoes.
Picking up a trinket or two to remind you of the time you spent here you’ll have to head out to the souvenir shops in Villa do Abraão but don’t expect any local crafts, it’s just T-shirt and fridge magents.
Events & Actions
The Lopes Mendes beach was voted one of the best 10 beaches in the world by Vogue magazine some years ago, due to the stunning setting, the crystal clear waters which are shallow a long way out, thus making them perfect for surfing. When you’re done with toasting in the sun, you can take your group and go snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, diving or hiking on the many trails of the island.