Ilha Grande Bay Travel Guide

Ilha Grande Bay is a Brazilian Costa verse with an incredible coastline between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Here the Serra do Mar emerald jungles plunge into the Atlantic Ocean in a spectacular fashion. Ilha Grande Bay is a two-hour bus ride from Rio. It offers visitors rhythms that are in tune with nature. Once you are here, you will care less about finding a good Wi-Fi signal but more about a deeper kind of connection.

There are endless ways to lose you in Ilha Grande Bay from the colonial town’s worn cobbled streets to the Atlantic forest’s cicada hum, the churches sacred hush, and the lazy tunes from the bars and cafés. There are also endless lessons to be learned here from the local dishes which generations of cooks have perfected to the fishermen who ply the art of net mending.

Angra dos Reis is a historic port town that is about a hundred miles to the southwest of Rio. It was the port that many space ships unload their human cargoes bound for the different coffee and sugarcane plantations of the interior. It is now a popular escape for many harried locals.

With each day set by the sea’s rhythms, life is simple here. Visit the Culture House to learn about the poets and artists who were inspired by this port’s daily theatre and mountainous backdrop.

There are endless beaches you can enjoy once you have explored the town. One of such is the Praia do Bonfim which is just a stroll from this town’s square and it is a great spot to cool off on a sunny day. Other beaches include Biscaia, Eguas, and Praia do Camorim. They are all a short bus ride away and a great place to disappear for a few days.

There are over 350 islands offshore calling. Many of these islands are exclusive to the rich and famous although some islands like the Gipoia Island are open to everybody. For much of last century, Ilha Grande Bay was home to Brazil’s Alcatraz, but it is today the heaven for lovers of nature. Vila do Abraao is the island’s main town. It was home to prison guards and their families until 1994. This hamlet is today filled with eco-tourism guides willing to help visitors discover one of the richest ecosystems in the world. There are no pads or cars here, only walking trails and boats connecting the island’s over a hundred beaches.

From Vila do Abraao, take a 3-hour walk or a small boat to Praia Lopes Mendes. Pirates once spent many days here in search of gold-laden Portuguese ships sailing from their home ports to mainland Paraty.

The pirates and the gold prospectors have long gone but a new kind of treasure seeker has arrived today. They find their riches in the afternoon light, the evening lamps, the warmth of the people and nature. If you are seeking a different kind of treasure, the riches in Ilha Grande Bay know no bounds.