So after a few chilled out days wandering the streets of Paraty, we decided to spend the next few days at a place where Brazilians came on their holidays, and get a few days in at the beach. We came to Ilha Grande.
Ilha Grande, literally ‘Big Island’, is an island situated off the coast of Angra dos Reis, a port town two hours east of Paraty and two hours west of Rio. After getting to Angra by coach in the morning, we took a thirty minute ferry ride before reaching the island. You see beaches as soon as you arrive at the main pier of Abraão, and it was a nice feeling knowing that this would be home for the next few days!
With most Ilha Grande covered in jungle, there are no motorised vehicles on the island, nor are there any ATMs! The place is a great throwback to places where everything was done by man and not machine. The island therefore was fairly peaceful on arrival, even if there were plenty of people around.
There are plenty of beautiful and secluded beaches around the island. Some people do get boat tours to take them around the island to check out the beaches, but a satisfying way to see them is to hike your way through the jungle to get to them. So on arrival, we went on a short hike to see five local beaches to us, each one coming into sight every ten or so minutes after hiking through the jungle greenery. It was a nice way to spend a few hours on the first day.
An amazing seafood meal on the beachfront topped it off! The place is full of these seafront bars and restaurants, and eating whilst your feet are in the sand doesn’t happen every day. We took advantage of these places over the next few days!
The next day, we went on the island’s famous trail through the jungle to reach a beach that has been regularly voted as one of the ten best beaches in the world, Lopes Mendes beach. The trek goes up and down through the mountainous jungle, before finally getting to Lopes Mendes.
The trek itself wasn’t too tough, but we were glad when we got to the beach.
The sand is the softest sand I’ve ever felt. You couldn’t feel any grains of sand when you picked some up, almost as if it were powder. The place was quiet and peaceful, and the beach itself stretches quite far, so there was a lot of room. We spend a good few peaceful hours on Lopes Mendes before heading back.
We loved Ilha Grande. The hikes to the beaches were great, as were the beaches themselves, and we came across the best beachfront location to eat and chill, Café du Mar. Sipping drinks at night on the beach whilst feet away from the water was such a relaxing place to be.
In the morning, we left Ilha Grande by ferry once again.
We were both sad to leave, but the excitement of our next destination quickly eased the pain somewhat. We were only a few hours away from our final destination of our six-week South America trip, and from a place that was easily one of the most anticipated of the whole trip..Rio de Janeiro!