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Visiting the Brazilian Tropical Island Ilha Grande

Updated on July 8, 2015

Location of Ilha Grande

One of the most popular islands in Brazil is Ilha Grande which is a rather small, contrary to its name, with only 6000 residents and a surface of 193km². Its calm crystalline waters make it an ideal place to go scuba-diving and swimming, while exploring the marine beauty of this tropical island. The Ilha Grande national parc makes up 25% of the island of which about half is covered by thick Atlantic rainforest. The fauna of Ilha Grande includes howler monkeys, parrots, snappers, different snake species and the Guiana dolphins. From the peak of Pico do Papagaio, a mountain on the island with a high of 982m, you will have a wonderful view of the Baía da Ilha Grande. The mountain owes its name to the peak which looks like the head of a parrot from far.

One of the reasons why this island is such a magical place is thanks to its numerous untouched beaches. There are over a hundred to choose from and one is so wild that you can only reach it by boat. But also trekkers will find something for their taste on many well-laid out trails.

Keep in mind when booking and planning your trip, that Brazil is on the southern hemisphere which means seasons are reversed just like in Australia. The summer is from December to February and the "winter" (don't expect temperatures below 19°C (66.2°F) is between June and August.

Video in Brazilian Portuguese with Beautiful Images


Pousadas are family-owned small guesthouses in the countryside. Pousadas often do not have more than ten rooms. In most of the Brazilian megacities, pousadas have been replaced by hotels and are by far more expensive. On Ilha Grande, however, you will find a great number of such cozy guesthouses where you will be directly in contact with the Brazilian culture, cuisine and hospitality. It is a much more personal environment and you might even be able to practise your Brazilian Portuguese with the natives.

Some of the Pousadas I can recommend:

Casablanca Pousada received the Traveller's Choice Award 2013 by tripadvisor. The website will show you the colorful interiour and exotic surroundings of the pousada. In addition, you can listen to a Portuguese song on the website, which will get yourself into the mood for your upcoming Brazilian vacation. Prices range between 60 and 200 US Dollars per night depending on the season and the number of people staying in one room.

Pousada Tropicana is another beautiful pousada where you will open your bedroom windows to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. It is in the village Vila da Ilha. The rooms are very cozy, traditional and have that tropical touch you are looking for. Prices range between 44 and 170 US Dollars.

Pousada Riacho dos Cambucás looks more like a giant treehouse than a pousada. At this pousada, you can also book trekking and boat tours that take you to beaches, natural pools, viewpoints, waterfalls, mangroves, the abandoned jail and the eco museum. Prices for accommodation range between 53 and 130 US Dollars.

Cachoeira da Feiticeira



Trekkers and hikers will find a paradise on 16 hiking trails which various levels of difficulty. It should be considered, however, that you can get easily lost in the rainforest and you should plan your treks accordingly. First of all, it is highly recommended to start your treks early and get back by 3 or 4pm as the sun sets early in the rainforest. Enough water, bug repellent and some nourishing snacks should not be forgotten. Otherwise your journey could end in a disaster. Below, you will find a selection of those treks with the distance you will cover and the time it will take you.

Aqueduto - Saco do Céu

On this 6km-trail, which will take you approximately 3 hours, you will find the amazing waterfall Cachoeira da Feiticeira where you can take a refreshing bath before you continue your journey. The level of difficulty is medium.

Ancient Jail


Circuito de Abraão

This trek covers a distance of 1.7-1.90km and will take you 1-2 hours. It is an easy trek which will take you past two beaches to the ruins of the ancient prison Lazareto which was closed in 1954. Along the way you can get some pretty views of Pico do Papagaio and take a swim in the natural pool Poção. You can enjoy the sounds of various tropical birds and other creatures.

Praia Grande de Araçatiba

Praia Grande de Araçatiba – Provetá

This trail has a medium level of difficulty and it takes you approximately 3 hours to cover a distance of about 4.5km. It will take you directly to the village of Provetá. Provetá has 3000 residents and is inhabited mostly by fishers. The fishing industry is still very active here but tourism is becoming more and more important. The beach is beautiful with green, warm and clear water. Provetà is an excellent diving location.The marine life includes turtles, groupers and huge sea stars.

Praia do Pouso


Pouso – Lopes Mendes

You can reach the Beach Praia do Pouso by boat. The trail leading to the beach Praia de Lopes Mendes is approximately 1.2km and is an easy one. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the ocean scenery, appreciate the radiating sun and getting a rest from one of the more difficult trails on this island.


Pico do Papagaio

The Pico do Papagiao is one of the most popular destinations on Ilha Grande and the second highest peak on the island.You will be able to appreciate a marvelous view of Ilha Grande and its bay. The trek Abraão - Pico do Papagaio is a difficult trail and it will take you between 6 and 7 hours to cover the distance. The distance is between 10.4 and 10.8km.





Ilha Grande has many worthy diving locations. One of them is Gruta do Acaiá. The entrance of the cave is 6 meters deep. After the entrance you can reach a long area where you can come to the surface and marvel at the strong green colors coming from the depth of the ocean. Species that live in the cave include the Red Squirrelfish (adioryx rubra), the Angel Fish and the Salema fish.

From Praia de Ilha dos Meros to Praia dos Meros, you can find fascinating diving points with a depth of between 3 and 10 meters. You fill encounter various species of fish and rays.

Between the island Ilha das Palmas and Baia da Ilha Grande, you will find a beautiful coastal area with stunning marine life such as sea urchins, starfish, red gorgonians, schools of anchovies and bonitos.

Turtle at Ilha Grande


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    • poetryman6969 profile image


      4 years ago

      Love the gorgeous photos!

    • Ilona1 profile image


      5 years ago from Ohio

      I have been to northern and central Brazil, but never to the south, this island sounds wonderful and I agree that the Pousada experience is much better than grand hotels. It is the warm Brazilian culture and the people which makes this beautiful land so special.

      This is a great hub, thanks for sharing the info and the photos :)

    • Away24 profile image


      5 years ago from Jakarta, Indonesia

      incredibly beautiful , I really can not wait to get out there

      Raja Ampat to be one of the best diving spots in the world

      not only diving and swimming , you can also do a lot of activities there

    • ivanka junot profile image

      ivanka junot 

      5 years ago

      Not too long when, three hours drive from Rio de Janeiro and four hours from Sao Paulo airport we could enjoy the party here to eliminate busy in the office.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is a big world out there that I have not seen. Maybe some day. :) Thanks for the tour and I hope you have a great weekend.


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