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Ilha Grande

Photo © CBAdv2010

Travel Guide South America Brazil Rio de Janeiro Ilha Grande

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Introduction

Ilha Grande view from boat

Ilha Grande view from boat

© All Rights Reserved daveliz

Ilha Grande is an island off the coast of the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro and is a popular place to enjoy both lush Atlantic rainforests as well as tropical beaches. The island is know for its rich biodiversity and therefore the entire island is a protected area, with most of its territory included in Ilha Grande State Park, and the rest subject to stringent development restrictions. It was home to a notorious prison, which is closed now.

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Geography

Ilha Grande is part of the municipality of Angra dos Reis. The land area is 193 square kilometres and the highest point is Pico da Pedra D'Água, at 1,031 metres above sea level. Beaches, hills and mountains, lush rainforests, waterfalls and rich surrouding waters are all part of the Ilha Grande experience.

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Sights and Activities

Apart from relaxing in a hammock at your accommodation or at a beach, the island has around 150 kilometres of hiking trails between the villages and across the rainforest. There is wide range of animals, some of which you might spot during hiking, including endangered ones like the brown howler monkey, the red-browed Amazon parrot and the maned sloth. There are numerous bird species, lizards and of course the ubiquitous insects so bring repellent.

Ilha Grande is one out of 365 islands of the Angra dos Reis region so a great thing to do would be to rent a boat to explore the nearby islands where you might discover some hidden gems and some truly off the beaten track places. You can either rent a boat, or negotiate to get on one with a local from Isla Grande or from the town of Angra.

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Events and Festivals

  • Festival of Music and Ecology in Ilha Grande - During this festival, known and unknown local musicians offer free Brazillian music performances to the public. These shows are free, and can be seen in the village of Vila Abraao. The first part of this festival is held on the main land, at the wharf of Santa Luzia, but during the first week of July, the festival comes to Ilha Grande.
  • Procissão de São Pedro (Saint Peter's Procession) - Saint Peter's day is a day locals pay homage to the Patron Saint of Sailors, Saint Peter. On this day, fishing boats and sailboats are decorated and float in a procession to visit the venerated statue of Saint Peter. This event happens every year on June 29th.
  • Festa Caipira Arraiá do Abraão Ilha Grande - This lively festival occurs every year in July. Visitors can expect a variety of local bands playing loud music, an array of colorful costumes and traditional dresses, and the best in local cuisine will be served along with delicious desserts. In traditional Brazilian style, the festivities last long into the evening - where visitors can dance the night away!
  • Carnival - The Carnival party in Rio may be internationally known, but the party in Ilha Grande (Big Island) is also a lot of fun! Brazilians know how to throw a party, and the party in Ilha Grande is no exception to that rule. Visitors can expect extravagant parades, beautiful costumes, and lively dance parties that last all day long. This event occurs every year just before the Lenten season begins.
  • Festa Caiçara - Lots of sun, clear ocean water, beautiful scenery, live music shows, snacks and cold beer are the ingredients of this annual festival held every year at the end of July. The more athletically inclined visitors can enjoy canoeing, volleyball and soccer on the beach. Evening events include more music concerts, and the pier is turned into a catwalk parade. This festival also hosts a culinary competition where guests can sample the best in local cuisine.

More information about events and festivals on Ilha Grande can be found at the city's website.

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Weather

The island has a tropical climate with slightly more variation throughout the year compared to places closer to the equator. Summers are from October to April with high temperatures and sometimes heavy showers. Humidity can feel oppressive during these months. May to September is better with somewhat lower but agreeable temperatures and less rain.

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Getting There

By Boat

Barcas leaves from Mangaratiba (1.45 hours) and Angra dos Reis (1.5 hours) (both reached by bus from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo) to Vila Abrao on Ilha Grande. Boats leave the mainland around 8:00am and return during the late afternoon. There is one extra boat on Friday evening.
There are also private fishermen's boats which regularly make the trip from Angra dos Reis. Daytrips from Rio de Janeiro are possible but are expensive and don't do justice to Ilha Grande as this island really deserves at least 2-3 days.

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Getting Around

The island has no roads and thus no cars. Getting around is either by walking around or you might charter a boat.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Aquario Pousada - HostelPraia da Julia AbraaHostel83
Pousada CasablancaRua da Praia 719, Jardins BuganvileGuesthouse-
Che Lagarto hostel Ilha GrandePraia de Abrão n/n (left side of the beach)HOSTEL83
HI HolandesRua da Assembleia 162 Vila do Abraão Ilha GrandeHostel85
Mata Virgem HostelRua da Assembléia 155 - Vila do Abraão - Ilha GranHostel68
Overnativa Green HostelRua Getulio Vargas 517 Ilha Grande Vila do Abrao Rio de JaneiroHOSTEL78
Pousada da CachoeiraVila do Abrao ,Rua do Bico 50 AngraGUESTHOUSE84
Pousada PalomaAbraaoGuesthouse80
Studio Beach HostelRua Santana, nº 7 -ao lado da padariaHOSTEL84
Pousada Mar AzulRua da Praia, 30 - AbraaoGUESTHOUSE82
Biergarten HostelAv. Getulio Vargas 161, Vila do Abraao Ilha Grande-RJHostel90
Pousada Canto VerdeRua Francino I. Nascimento, s/nGUESTHOUSE-
Island TravelRua da Praia 653Apartment-
Pousada D' PillelRua do Bicao, 51 AbraaoGUESTHOUSE85
Hostel Casa VerdeRua das Flores, 150HOSTEL85
Pousada Bossa NovaRua Santana 145, Vila do AbraaoGUESTHOUSE-
Pousada Mata NativaRua das Flores 44 Vila do AbraoGUESTHOUSE-
El Misti Ilha Grande Hostel & PousadaHostel-
El Misti Hostel Ilha GrandeRua Alice Kury da Silva, 8 Vila do AbraaoHOSTEL76
Mapa da Ilha HostelRua das Flores,351Hostel75
Bambu InnRua da Assembleia 250 Vila do AbraaoHOSTEL-
Hostel Mãe NaturezaRua da Assembléia nº88Hostel-
Pousada Aconchego IlhaRua Amancio Felicio de Souza , 14GUESTHOUSE-
Aloha SuiteRua do Bouganville s/n Vila do AbraãoAPARTMENT-
Che Lagarto Suites Ilha GrandeRua Getulio Vargas, 718HOSTEL-
Mango Tree Ilha GrandeRua Pedra D'Agua, Ilha GrandeHOSTEL81
Pousada Armacao dos AnjosAvenida Buganvile, 6 AbraaoGUESTHOUSE-

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This is version 28. Last edited at 10:56 on Jan 31, 14 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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