Brazil’s Must-See Island

RTW travel ideasIf you need a reason to visit Ilha Grande, simply give another glance at the photo above, taken a short walk from town on the way to a secluded beach on the other side of the island. Ilha Grande has some of the most picturesque beaches we visited in all of Brazil, and we would definitely add it to any “must-see” list for South America.


RTW travel ideasDay 1: The ferry to the island leaves once per day (so check the schedule) but there are numerous schooners that make the two-hour crossing for around $12-18USD. As we rolled into this Jurassic-Park- like island, I mentioned that it resembled the movie to Anne, and the guy directly to my left interjected that he had just told his wife the exact same words–so you know it was other-worldly.


brazil travil ideasIn order to remain flexible, get the best views and the best rates, we roll into every new city/pueblo/port without a hotel booked, and our entrance to Ilha Grande followed suit. At the dock, a gentleman from France, who fell in the love with the island a few years back and never left, approached us about his “hotel” at the top of town. He said it was a bit of a hike, but he guaranteed the best view on the entire island. After a 15 minute walk, and two flights of wooden ladders up into a rock-tree house, we saw the view above and debated taking up residence too.


rtw travel ideasDay 2: We explored the local beaches, strewn with huge boulders, black-and-tan sand, crystal clear water, palm trees bending for a drink of sea water, and exploding purple flowers. The one thing these beaches didn’t have? Crowds.


rtw travel ideas honeytrekAs this island has no cars, there are two ways to access the beaches: by boat or via the amazing system of trails that dissect the island. We opted for the later and took a two-hour hike to this amazingly secluded beach (it was a 200-meter rock scramble from Lopes Mendes beach with 200-300 people, and we had this cove all to ourselves–score!)


rtw travel ideas for brazilDinner around town is more than likely outdoors, and involves tree lights and live music. This spot, Pé Na Areia, was also right on the ocean for the quadruple whammy.


brazilian sweetsAfter dinner everyone in town stops at the most abundant and delicious sweets cart we have ever experienced. The island’s resident pastry chef spends his days spinning out magical treats, and his nights fighting off the crowds. (Note: He has an imposter that sets up closer to the ocean, who is more expensive and not as good. We know this because we did extensive testing for all our blog readers who may visit).


isla grande travelDay 3: In the mystical land of Ilha Grande tree trunks turn into showers and waterfalls to cool your sun-kissed shoulders and sooth your sore feet from long hikes. (Honestly, how brilliant to use an pretty old tree to cover up an ugly metal shower !)


rtw travelThe Brazilian pride presents itself wherever you look– flip flops, graffiti, and, here, a sarong waving like a flag in the breeze.


rtw cuisineSacolé is a mix between ice-cream and Italian ice that you eat out of a plastic baggy pulled from Gram’s freezer…and they are fantastic. They come in all the local flavors: mango, passion fruit, caju, capuasu, coco, and– by far our favorite–peanut butter (Please don’t ask us if we have found peanut butter in the 25+ grocery stores we have looked in since we started the HoneyTrek….it’s a bit of a sore subject).


rtw travel brazilA beautiful sunset as we boarded our boat back home on Day 3. While our stay in Ilha Grande was too short (we would recommend 5 full days to explore this national park meets relaxing resort town), we had such an amazing time, and we will definitely be back in our lifetimes. Wanna join us?

17 thoughts on “Brazil’s Must-See Island

  • April 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Andrew and I spent about ten days there in 2005 – it’s ahhhhhmazing!!!! glad you guys got a chance to check it out 🙂

    • April 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Yeah Andrew was telling us you guys rocked it out. What a place right? Do you remember which beaches you went to? Did you hike or boat?

  • April 2, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I wanna join ya!

  • April 2, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Me too! I wanna go.

  • April 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Wow – it looks amazing! It sounds like you guys are having a blast. Where to next?

    • April 4, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Yeah it was ridiculous rabbit. The trip has been more than we ever dreamed. Thanks so much for the comment, we have really missed hearing from team WISC! Iguazu falls post coming soon!!!! Then Buenos Aires!

  • April 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    The dining-under-the-tree lights photo is a very simple and inviting.  It   captures a magical feeling that makes me want to be there – regardless of the menu.  Ilha Grande looks like a must-go-there place.

    • April 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Yeah those lights were inviting for sure. Something about lights in trees that is always a good move! Ilha is def in our top 5 must see towns so far!

    • April 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

      Oh tell us about it Robin. We haven’t been to a single place yet that we didn’t want to spend longer. The analogy we came up with sitting above a vineyard outside of Santiago Chile with some new friends was this…..”this trip is our “wine-tasting” we sample lots of varieties, then the next trip is when we buy a few of our favorite bottles” 😉

  • April 5, 2012 at 9:31 am

    This looks like one of the best places you have been so far!  I love that sweets cart!  Looks fab!

    • April 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm

      Yeah it was definitely one of the coolest places, and that room we had made it all the more amazing. Oh and that sweet cart was just a mecca (and we made a nightly pilgrimage 🙂

  • June 1, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Do you know the name of the “hotel” in which you stayed?  May be going in December…Thanks!

  • January 22, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    Agree that Ilha Grande is beautiful. Honestly, we had some bad experiences in Brazil and wouldn’t be back. But the geography is amazing. Couple of things; the hike from Abraoo to Lopes Mendes is gorgeous with some great views. Our hotel manager also recommended a hike to Dos Rios. DON’T. Really not worth it.

    Also close to Ilha Grande is Paraty which is also worth a visit, very pretty old colonial town. More:

    Good job with the post!
    Frank (bbqboy)

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