Ilha Grande Brazil

Ilha Grande is a tropical island with 193 square kilometers of rain forest, with spectacular beaches, walking trails and without motorized vehicles. For nature lovers and anyone seeking a slow-paced beach holiday, this island along Rio de Janeiro’s Green Coast is one of Brazil’s great treasures.  Ilha Grande’s isolated setting, along with its history as a leper colony and prison, kept development at bay for centuries. Then in 1971, much of the island was officially enshrined as a state park. Today human habitation remains limited to a handful of fishing villages and the main port of Vila do Abraão. Easily reachable in four hours from Rio de Janeiro, it has become one of Brazil’s most popular ecotourism destinations, suitable for everything from an overnight break to a two-week hiking adventure.

When it comes to picturesque beaches, few places offer such rich beauty. There are more than 100 beaches on the island, each accessible only by foot or boat. The most famous is Praia Lopes Mendes, a 3km crescent of fine white sand backed by palm trees and wave-sculpted rocks. Facing the open Atlantic, it’s perfect for surfing, with rental boards available onsite.  For Ilha Grande’s other swimming and water sports hot spots, walk the short trail east of Abraão to the pretty coves of Júlia, Crena and Abraãozinho, popular with kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders, or hop aboard a round-the-island boat tour. All-day tours stop at seven or eight beaches including Caxadaço, with its giant rock outcroppings; Parnaioca, a long expanse of sand peppered with local fishermen’s houses; Aventureiro, in the Praia do Sul biological reserve at the island’s remote southwestern corner; and the sparkling blue-green lagoons of Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde.

Ilhe Grande Weather (When to Visit)

Ilha Grande can be visited all year round, but the best times are from March thru June, and from August thru October.  During these times the weather will be clear, beautiful with a pleasant temperature.  These are great seasons to visit the Island. The tranquility provided by the weather and the reduced number of visitors make the Island an exclusive paradise.  Sunny days are frequent on Ilha Grande, and rainfall usually occurs in the months of November, December and January, but they are sparse and occasional. In winter, the rains are rare and the climate is very pleasant, which despite the lower temperatures, do not detract from the walks and the beach.

Best Ilha Grande Beaches

Aventureiro Beach, Ilha Grande Brazil, best hotels in Ilha Grande, best restaurants in Ilha Grande, best bars in Ilha Grande, things to do in Ilha Grande, Ilha Grande beaches, best Brazil beaches, Brazil beaches, beach travelAventureiro Beach

This amazing beach has hardly changed the last few decades. The area has no commercial activities nor hotels – just a 1,967 feet stretch of white sand framed by rows of palm trees and a turquoise sea. It is instantly recognizable for the L-shaped palm tree that hangs over the shore. It can only be accessed by boat, a fact that protects the shoreline and keeps it in pristine condition.

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Lopes Mendes Beach, Ilha Grande Brazil, best hotels in Ilha Grande, best restaurants in Ilha Grande, best bars in Ilha Grande, things to do in Ilha Grande, Ilha Grande beaches, best Brazil beaches, Brazil beaches, beach travelLopes Mendes Beach

Often voted one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil, Lopes Mendes is a 2 mile stretch of white, fine sand that is fringed with wild vegetation and forests. The shallow crystal clear water is ideal for bathing and the waves further out make a perfect spot for surfers. To get there, take a boat from Abraão, the main town on the island, to Pouso. From there, it’s a 20-minute jungle trek before arriving on the gorgeous shores of Lopes Mendes.

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Dois Rios Beach, Ilha Grande Brazil, best hotels in Ilha Grande, best restaurants in Ilha Grande, best bars in Ilha Grande, things to do in Ilha Grande, Ilha Grande beaches, best Brazil beaches, Brazil beaches, beach travelDois Rios Beach

The yellow sands and blue-green waters of the Dois Rios beach makes for a pleasant setting for an afternoon of working on getting that sun-kissed glow. Either side of the beach is flanked by a river that runs into the ocean and gives the beach its name of Dois Rios, which translates to Two Rivers. The nearby mangroves that grow in the freshwater of the rivers create a thriving marine ecosystem that is best explored snorkeling.

Santo Antonio Beach, Ilha Grande Brazil, best hotels in Ilha Grande, best restaurants in Ilha Grande, best bars in Ilha Grande, things to do in Ilha Grande, Ilha Grande beaches, best Brazil beaches, Brazil beaches, beach travelSanto Antonio Beach

With similar characteristics to Lopes Mendes yet without the high-status name, Santo Antonio is ideal for those looking for a stunning beach setting without the tourist crowds. It’s smaller than Lopes Mendes and the surrounding vegetation seems to close in around the beach, creating a wild, untouched feel. It’s a great spot for surfing – just be wary of the rocks that sit just out of sight from the water’s surface. To get there, follow the same route as you would to Lopes Mendes, yet turn right on the forest trek rather than continue straight on. The path is well-signposted so just keep an eye out for the directions.

Parnaioca Beach, Ilha Grande Brazil, best hotels in Ilha Grande, best restaurants in Ilha Grande, best bars in Ilha Grande, things to do in Ilha Grande, Ilha Grande beaches, best Brazil beaches, Brazil beaches, beach travelParanaioca Beach

Now an isolated beach free from human development, Paranaioca was once the home to a thriving slave community that built homes, shops and a church in the area. Nowadays, the 1 kilometre (0.62 mile)-long beach is a natural retreat with no electricity and no hotels nearby. However, it still remains a popular spot on the island due to its serene settings and stunning surroundings. To get to the white sandy shores of Paranaioca, you need to take a boat from Abraão or take the two and a half hour long trek through the forest.

Best Ilha Grande Tours & Tickets by Viator

Viator.com – Tours, sightseeing tours, activities & things to do

Rio – Ilha Grande – Rio One Day Tour

Ilha Grande Tours will pick you up at 5:30 am from your hotel in Rio de Janeiro. The trip in a private car takes two hours to Mangratiba, there and our team will organize your connection to Vila do Abraão, on the island.  You will arrive at Ilha Grande around 09:30. We will be waiting for you at the pier to help with more information about the island, tours and weather conditions.  Learn more about the Rio to Ilha Grande One Day Tour.

Shared Speedboat Tour – Ilha Grande Route

Walk on the white, fine sand of Cataguases Island, swim with the little fish in the Blue lagoon, refresh yourself with a river bath on Camiranga beach, marvel at the shades of blue water on Grumixama beach, visit Freguesia de Santana the first village of Ilha Grande, try our Caiçara cuisine in the Japariz beach restaurant.  Learn more about the Ilha Grande Speedboat Tour.

Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande Day Trip from Rio de Janeiro

Relax on the pristine, uncrowded beaches of Ilha Grande and Angra dos Reis during this 12-hour excursion from Rio de Janeiro. Take a break from the urban pace with a sightseeing cruise through the islands, passing Ponta da Piedade, Lagoa Azul and Ilha de Cataguases. Stop to swim and snorkel in the azure waters or dig your toes into the soft sand. Enjoy lunch aboard the boat; drinks are available for purchase. Round-trip transportation from Rio hotels is included.  Learn more about the Angra do Reis & Ilha Grande Day Trip.

Best Ilha Grande Option (Transfer, Jet Ski, Kayaking & Hotel)

Transfer from Rio de Janeiro. Know the islands around Ilha Grande, providing stay in one of the most beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Nautical motorbike tour by little frequented and very beautiful beaches. Overnight in a Pousada by the sea. There is free use of Stand Up Paddle and Kayak for guests to use. Breakfast and transfer to Mangaratiba pier, access to Ilha Grande.  Learn more about the Best Ilha Grande Option.

Ilha Grande Boat Tour with Lunch

Begin your full day tour with a 136 km (85 miles) ride from Rio de Janeiro to Conceição de Jacareí, in the Costa Verde (Green Coast) region. After your arrival at the port, board the boat (schooner) destinated to Ilha Grande. Sit back and enjoy the views of paradise.  Learn more about the Ilha Grande Boat Tour w/Lunch.

All Ilha Grande Tours & Tickets

Best Ilha Grande Restaurants

Las Sorrentinas  $11 – 30

Superb homemade sorrentinos (ravioli-like stuffed pasta pockets) are the specialty at this breezy Argentine-run upstairs restaurant. Fillings range from gorgonzola, walnuts and mozzarella to ham, cheese and basil, accompanied by your choice of sauces. The place wins extra points for its friendly service and potent caipirinhas.  Telephone:  55 24 3361-5063  Web:   Las Sorrentinas.

Dom Mário   $11 – 30

This popular restaurant doesn’t hold back on portion sizes, serving up huge amounts for reasonable prices. The chef is locally known for his tender fish fillets and seafood dishes, yet the meat-sharing options are not to be sniffed at. The mix of a casual setting and potent caipirinhas set the scene for a fun, relaxed night. Save room for the scrumptious desserts, including his trademark caramelized bananas.  Telephone:  55 24 3361-5349  Web:  Dom Mario.

Cafe do Mar  $11 – 30

This candlelit beach bar and lounge is perfect for sundown cocktails, with reasonably priced (by Ilha Grande standards!) pratos do dia (daily specials) and frequent barbecue nights. The bar-meets-lounge sets a peaceful scene, making it just as popular among groups of tourists as solo travelers who can enjoy some time out reading a book. The food comes in huge portions, a typical style of the island where businesses are run by close-knit families or groups. It’s also known for its potent caipirinhas that are flawlessly blended with a range of different fruits.  Telephone:  55 24 3361-9446  Web:  Cafe do Mar.

O Pescador  $11 – 30

The Italian-run Pescador is one of the island’s best choices for a fancy beachfront dinner, with mean caipirinhas, authentic Italian risotto and Mediterranean-style fish, meat and poultry dishes such as the grigliata mista al salmoriglio (fish and shrimp grilled with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano).  Telephone:  55 24 3361-5114  Web:  O Pescador.

The Secret  $11 – 30

Every evening, Argentine expats Cris and Nel invite up to 10 pre-reserved guests into their secret garden in Abraão village for wonderful home-cooked dinners accompanied by chilled-out music and convivial conversation. Contact them via WhatsApp to check out the nightly changing offerings (typically Mediterranean, South American or vegetarian), reserve a time, get directions and learn the secret (shh!) password.  Telephone:  55 24 99921-1124  Web:  The Secret.

Best Ilha Grande Bars

Coruja Empanadas

Best drinks, bar staff, music and empanadas on the island!  Telephone:  55 24 99902-9168  Web:  Coruja Empanadas.

Biergarten Bar E Restaurante

This is the bar which is behind the restaurant and at the entrance to the hostel. The bartender is great and service minded. The caprinhas are great. Nice little place to hang out. They have a tv with soccer on as well.  Telephone:  55 24 3361-5583  Web:  Biergarten Bar E Restaurante.

Restaurante Morango de Palmas

Idyllic spot to relax away from the crowds.  Telephone:  55 21 97268-4239  Web:  Morango de Palmas.

Best Ilha Grande Hotels

Bonito Paraiso Ilha Grande


Situated in Ilha Grande, right at Abraãozinho Beach, Bonito Paraiso Ilha Grande features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. Certain units have a seating area to relax in after a busy day. All rooms come with a private bathroom and sea views. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. You will find concierge service at the property. You can engage in various activities, such as snorkeling and hiking.

Suites Encanto do Pai


Boasting sea views, Suítes Encanto do Pai is set in Praia de Araçatiba, 700 metres from Bananal Bay. The accommodation features free WiFi. The bed and breakfast has a flat-screen TV. A continental or buffet breakfast can be enjoyed at the property. Staff at the reception can assist guests at any time of the day. If you would like to discover the area, hiking is possible in the surroundings.

Pitanga Ilha Grande Cama e Café


Pitanga Ilha Grande Cama e Café is located in Ilha Grande, only 200 metres from Abrahao Beach. Free WiFi access is available, as well as a well-kept garden. Each room here will provide you with a TV and a minibar. Private bathroom also comes with a shower. Extras include bed linen.

Atlantica Jungle Lodge


Just a 10-minute walk from the scenic Lopes Mendes Beach, this guest house boasts a deck with panoramic sea views, plus a regional restaurant. It features stylish air-conditioned rooms.

Pousada Cibeles


Pousada Cibeles is located in Praia de Araçatiba. Built in 2014, the property is within 9 km of Bananal Bay. All rooms include a patio with sea views and free WiFi. At the hotel, the rooms have a wardrobe. At Pousada Cibeles each room has air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. A continental breakfast is available each morning at the accommodation. Speaking English, Spanish and Portuguese at the 24-hour front desk, staff are always on hand to help.

Pousada Naturalia


Pousada Naturalia is located in a 1000 square metres tropical garden only 60 meters from Abraão Beach, in a quiet area. It offers accommodation with balcony and free Wi-Fi.  All rooms are facing the ocean and the private balconies have hammocks.

Click here for our list of Beach Travel Essentials you will want to take with you to Ilha Grande.

32 Comments

  1. Chrissie Spurgeon

    Hi Leahrae

    Your photos of Ilha Grande are stunning! Just looking at them on a cold rainy day makes me long for the sun!

    You suggest that visitors travel by road, but please could you tell me where the nearest airport is, as I would be travelling from the UK?  I guess that I would then need to hire a car – have you any idea how much that would cost? 

    I would really like to know what the average temperature is in Ilha Grande please? Living in a colder part of the northern hemisphere, I am not really comfortable at temperatures much above 30 degrees, so when would you think was the best time for me to visit?

    I am happy to learn that I will not need a visa!

    Ilha Grande sounds so enticing, I am seriously considering taking a holiday there.

    Very many thanks for your brilliant information.

    Chrissie 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Ilha Grande is beautiful. You will most likely fly into Rio de Janeiro, and then ferry to the island.  If you want milder temperatures, then visit between October thru December as it will still be pleasant, between 20°C and 27°C.  It is a small island, and no vehicles are allowed. Please let me know if you have any other questions Chrissie, and thanks for visiting Ilha Grande Brazil.

      Reply
  2. Robb

    Thank you for the wonderful post on Ilha Grande…  The cold rain on Vancouver Island has me dreaming of a tropical get away! Your review suggests that this is not the time however to go there. Can you suggest what I could expect for rainfall, temperature and likely hood of tropical storm (hurricane) this time of year? I have never been to Brazil but it is on my to-go-to list. I have heard some scary stories about Rio Janeiro that would have excited me as a young traveller, but as I age I am more concerned about things like this. Are you aware of any concerns to look out for?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      The weather is pleasant this time of year, but you have a 50% or better chance of daily rain.  Ilha Grande has an average temperature of 84°F (29°C), but this time of year it will be slightly cooler, but not much.  The likelihood of a hurricane or tropical storm now it pretty much non-existent as this  season is over.  Ilha Grande is very safe and you will not have any problems on the island.  I hope I answered all of your questions.  Please let me know if you need anything else.

      Reply
  3. Roldan Medenilla

    IIha Grande Brazil, Flexible in their package deal is really great for all the people love to travel.I love the lay out of the website. I`m Impressed,It`s a the best refuge from home,there is luxury,there is fantasy,Pure comfort and Reassurance.Great site, All you need to know before you travel are all there,WOW…

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Roldan, I am glad you have enjoyed visiting my site 🙂  Please come back when you are ready to plan!

      Reply
  4. Juliet

    These beach photos are really beautiful and very inviting. Brazil looks like an ideal place for a holiday.  I especially like the information about the restaurants. Dom Mario seems to be my favourite with the generous portion of fish and seafood dishes. Also, I would like to have the fancy beach front dinner. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am a foodie, and I love to try different restaurants and cuisine when I am traveling and just enjoy.  Dom Mario is a great choice!

      Reply
  5. Kenny Tang

    After looking at the first picture, I have to say wow. This area of Brazil is a magnificent place for vacation. The Dive & Cia caught my attention because I am big fan of scuba diving. Having the chance to dive into that crystal blue water and seeing all of the marine life sounds like a good time. There is so much to see and do here. Thank you for sharing, you have convinced me to take a vacation here.  

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      If you love scuba diving, then yes you will have to vacation here.  It is one of the top 10 diving sites in the world…and for a reason.  You will be mesmerized.  Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  6. Otis Dube

    Hello 😉

    This is what i really need, rain forests with spectacular beaches walking trails and without motorized vehicles. When it comes to picturesque beaches, few places offer such rich beauty i like that, as we need that peace of mind at times to bond with nature. The fact that you can visit all round the year is a bonus, about the visa i don’t have to worry about that as I am based in the UK.

    Thank you so much for you very informative site will be looking at booking a holiday to Ilha Grande Brazil, as i have been looking for somewhere to go and chill out so to be part of nature.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Otis and glad you enjoyed your digital Ilha Grande Brazil visit.  Please let me know if you need anything else.

      Reply
  7. Huy

    I was doing to research on where to head for our next family vacation and I think I just found my spot. I didn’t realise that this Island has no motor vehicles that is great for a relaxing atmosphere, you really don’t think about all the noise that vehicles make when your around them all the time but when your in an area that has no motor vehicles it can be super peaceful. Thanks for the recommended places to stay!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Huy super peaceful is right!  It is great to not have to worry about traffic and noise etc.  I enjoy this type of beach destination more than any other.  No worries on Ilha Grande Brazil!

      Reply
  8. Fiona

    Oh my goodness those beaches look absolutely amazing! I would love to visit – my husband is Portuguese so he’ll mostly be able to communicate with the locals, which would make travelling there easier. We have two kids under 5 – would you say that Ilha Grande is a family friendly holiday destination? 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I would say that Ilha Grande is very family friendly.  They will really enjoy the nature, wildlife, playing at the beach, and in the water.  You and your family will have a great time!  Thanks for visiting Ilha Grande Brazil.

      Reply
  9. Janice Gustafson

    I am convinced that our next holiday will be in Brazil. It sounds beautiful and peaceful. I live in the Arizona desert, and a little “beach time” is what I need. I have visited beaches in Australia, Hawaii, Mexico and Trinidad; but I did not know of the Brazillian beaches. Thanks so much for the wonderful tour.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Janice and thanks for visiting Ilha Grande Brazil! Come on back when you are ready to start planning!

      Reply
  10. julienne murekatete

    Thank you for sharing with us this review on Ilha Grande Brazil-Beach Travel Destination.It is amazing place for people who need to relax and enjoy the vacancy.The place looks peaceful and attractive so that I wish I could visit this place one day.

    The View is incredible and I bet many people dream to visit this place after reading this post.

    Keep it up to share such great places.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed reading and learning about Ilha Grande Brazil. I hope you can vacation here one day soon!

      Reply
  11. Taetske

    Good afternoon Leahrae,

    Looking at the first and lovely photo of your post I woud l like to go on holiday. Probally also triggered by the fact that I have not seen the sun much these days as it has been raining a lot.

    In your post I read there are no motorized vehicles on the island, how pleasant for the ears. How is the transport, I suppose on a bicycle or horse and wagon?

    There are some lovely beaches to chose from and great acquatic activities like diving or a boats tour.

    When visiting a new country the culinary delights are a must so your list with the places where to eat comes in handy.

    Including your recomendations of where to stay I think I am well prepared to go on a great holiday.

    Regards, Taetske

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed 🙂  You can walk, bike or even use a golf cart 🙂  It is not big, so no worries.  I love the fact that there is no vehicles. Makes it so peaceful.  Thanks for visiting Ilha Grande Brazil.

      Reply
  12. freddie

    Ilha Grande

    This is a great place to vacation any time of year .However they say if you want to avoid the rainy season .Better to come in may or june.The beaches are beautiful and lots of adventure as there are different ways to reach the beaches.I might consider a vacation here in the future.

    Thanks for the imformation

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is wonderful Freddie and the beaches are easily reachable.  Perfect destination if you love beaches and the relaxed slow vibe.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  13. Barry Bullard

    I just started research on traveling to Brazil and so glad i came across this post!  IIha Grande looks stunning and a breath taking.   Definitely adding this to my travel plans!

    Some of the places to eat that you recommended really look awesome.  The two that really caught my eye are Cafe do Mar and The Secret.

    I think ill make reservations at the bed and breakfast through your link.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Barry.  The bed and breakfast is a great choice in Ilha Grande and you will have a wonderful time.  Please let me know if you need any additional information and thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  14. Cathy Cavarzan

    Oh my goodness after reading your article I can not wait to go to see Brazil,it is beautiful and breathtaking. Have you been yourself? i like the  Pousada Cibeles – Bed & Breakfast . I am putting this one n my bucket list as I plan on doing a lot of traveling next year.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I have been to Brazil and I love Brazil!  The people are wonderful, a great mix of culture, and you cannot beat the beaches.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

      Reply
  15. Michel

    It’s wonderful to see there are still places in the world that haven’t been ruined by humans. This is about as unspoiled and close to nature as it gets. There are hardly any beaches left in the world that aren’t commercialized in some way or another, and lets hope that this destination stays this way for years to come.

    I love that you have included a section on things to do on the island, as many people like to have this as a reference before visiting a destination. Personally I would love to take a boat tour.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      A boat tour is a great idea here.  And you are right, there are very few places as unspoiled as Ilha Grande Brazil.  I love that there are no cars, so peaceful and relaxing to me.  I think just having a bicycle to tour around is perfect!

      Reply
  16. Nathalie

    Wow! What a thorough article! I love the photos and the video! It really makes me want to go. I want to go!! Would you be able to suggest a 7-day tour of the island? With activities and restaurants? For example, what would YOU do if you could spend 7 days doing whatever you want there? Thanks!! 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Nathalie!  If I had a week, I would visit, do and eat at all my recommendations.  Those are my top choices, therefore exactly what I would do for my week in Ilha Grande Brazil 🙂  I would make sure I have a bicycle to rent for the week, so no worries on getting around the island.

      Reply

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