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Best things to do in Ilha Grande

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Where in the world: South America  /  Brazil  /  State of Rio de Janeiro  /  Angra Dos Reis  /  Ilha Grande

Top 15 things to do in Ilha Grande

1. Praia Preta, Vila do Abraao

Praia Preta is a rare place indeed with its black sand, which is not something you come across too often. The warm and calm waters are ideal for swimming and the abundance of trees create a nice respite from the sun. A river running through it forms a unique combination and the natural pools of water provide an alternative to swimming in the sea. Nearby, you can visit the ruins of Lazaretto, which functioned as a prison and a quarantine for sick people during colonial Brazil.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Aventureiro

On the southwest corner of Ilha Grande, Aventureiro is a picture-perfect sandy spot fringed with slender palm trees and other tropical vegetation. Due to its remote location, the beach is rarely crowded, but it is still included in some schooner tours. Coming from the sea, you will be greeted by a crooked palm bent over a picturesque pool that seems to get the most attention from the visitors. The trail behind an old church leads to a small but picturesque waterfall. If you get hungry, check out the beach restaurant with the simple but tasty seafood menu.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. LiG Lanchas, Vila do Abraao

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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5. Aquamarina Mergulho

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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6. Abraaozinho Beach

Reached via a short, pleasant hike along the water's edge, or by a speedier taxi boat, Abraaozinho Beach offers pristine white sand, shady palm trees, and two small cafes selling cold beers and fresh seafood. Swim or snorkel in the calm, clear waters, teaming with fish, or grab a beach chair and soak up some sunshine.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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7. Pico do Papagaio

Hike through the rainforest and up to Pico do Papagaio, the highest point on the island. Take some light food, plenty of water, and hire a local guide to take you up this steep climb. The trek can take several hours to complete, and you do need an experienced local to show you the way through the thick Brazilian jungle. This trail is worth every drop of sweat, because at the top (which looks like a parrot, hence the peak’s name) you are rewarded with a view of the entire island and the town below . Pick a clear day to avoid clouds obscuring the final vista. Lucky visitors also get to see howler monkeys, the region’s noisiest residents.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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8. Lagoa Verde, Ilha Grande

Emerald green waters populated by schools of fish make Lagoa Verde, Ilha Grande a refreshing place to stop on a boat tour. Charter a boat that includes snorkeling gear, so you can appreciate the life teeming in the watery world below you. There you will see iridescent finned friends, along with some larger species prowling near the lagoon's floor. Some hotels offer boat tours of the island and include a stop at the lagoon, or you can rent a private boat for the escapade.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Freguesia de Santana Beach

At only 300 m (984 ft) long, Freguesia de Santana Beach is small but perfectly formed. Fine white sand is met by calm, crystal clear water, and you won’t be able to resist diving in and swimming among the shoals of fish. A trail through the vegetation leads you to a beautiful, simple church, neglected cemetery, and numerous ruins; all that is left of the once great and prosperous 17th century parish of Santana.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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10. Lopes Mendes Beach

On an island world-famous for over 100 beaches, Lopes Mendes Beach stands out with its 3 km (1.9 mi) of white fine sand. The water remains quite shallow a long way out, providing visitors with nearly perfect surfing conditions. Frequently ranked among the world’ most stunning beaches, this long strip of warm sand can be reached from the main settlement on the island by a short boat ride, followed by a hike up a relatively steep footpath. Walk through the lush island vegetation to get some exercise and prepare yourself for a refreshing dip in the crystalline waters. Before hitting the trail, remember to bring lots of water, bug repellent, and a good flashlight, as darkness descends rapidly under the thick forest canopy.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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11. Feiticeira Beach

Calm water laps a wide stretch of warm sand at Feiticeira Beach, which is surrounded by native forest teeming with wildlife. You can swim all day in these crystalline waters, or take long boat rides along the shore. Few visitor facilities are available in this secluded area, so bring your own snacks and drinks when you come. You can also hike up to a small waterfall, where huge rock formations provide tourists with private sunbathing and diving platforms. Visitors looking for a bit of adventure can try rappelling down these rock faces, or climb to the top of them for a panoramic view of the entire coastline.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Abraao Beach

Take a boat or hike up to Abraao Beach, located in the largest village (only 1900 residents) on an island of few roads and almost no private cars. Right next to this secluded beach you can buy cold drinks and listen to live music, performed by village bands on popular BBQ nights. Make a stop here to enjoy fresh fish straight from the grill, along with juices, cocktails, and ice cream made with local fruit. This beach is popular with swimmers, kayakers, snorkelers, divers, and bodyboarders. Equipment for all water sports can be rented nearby. From the pier you can board a boat or ferry to Mangaratiba, where you can catch a daily connection for Rio de Janeiro.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Tropical Forest

The entire island of Ilha Grande is covered in Tropical Forest, a forest of lush an varied vegetation. There are plenty of trails for you to hike and explore. You can walk for miles through this rich jungle, which provides a cool atmosphere, sheltering you from the hot sun. It’s abundant with monkeys, colorful birds, beautiful lookout points, exuberant fauna, coves, and waterfalls where you can take a refreshing dip. Bring your own water, as there is no one who sells it along the way. Enjoy a picnic with your loved ones at one of the tables and benches along the way. Tropical Forest is truly a sensory experience with all the colorful sights and interesting sounds provided by the monkeys and the birds.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Caxadaco Beach

Caxadaco Beach is noted for clear waters surrounded by lush vegetation and huge rock formations, which adventurous visitors often use as diving platforms. At this small secluded beach you can swim or sunbathe in almost complete privacy. You can reach it by boat or on foot by a series of trails leading through the native forest. There are no tourist facilities here, so make sure to bring your own food and water when you come. Spend a quiet family day here, or set up your tent near the water and spend some time hiking to other popular beaches on the island.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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