Swinging on a hammock drinking an ice-cold Brahma looking out over paradise, is the best way I can describe the wonderful Island that is Ilha Grande.
You won’t find any high-end hotels or familiar high street chains. Cars or bikes will not be found on this island, so you can roam bare foot and breath in the exhaust free air. It really is back to simple living and zoning out.
Little known facts
The largest of 187 Islands on the coast of Costa Verde, it’s an easy extension from Rio De Janeiro. With an unusual history, that’s far removed from what you see today.
Originally used as a pirate’s lair, it then went on to become a leper colony, and finally a penitentiary for Brazil’s political prisoners. It’s this history that slowed development, and when you see the beaches and rainforests (that have now been protected), this can only be a good thing.
Hikes & Canoeing
If your up for more than swinging from a hammock, there are plenty of trails around the island. Some more strenuous than others. The most rewarding is a 6km hike from the main town of Abraao to Praia Lopes Mendes (the Guardian previously ranked it #7 in Brazil’s top ten beaches).
Start your day with an Acai bowl (frozen mashed Acai smoothie, topped with granola and banana) to get those energy levels up and make sure you have plenty of water, as even if the sun isn’t shining it can be very humid.
Ilha Grande is 116km with lots of hidden coves. To really explore everywhere, you can take guided canoe excursions over 4 days and camp along the way. You will be rowing for over 4 hours a day so its not for the faint hearted.
Or like me you could just swing in that hammock and make new friends whilst switching off from your usual everyday thoughts…. Heaven!