Ilha Grande | Our Top 5 Things to See and Do
Ilha Grande is a gorgeous island off the small, coastal town off Angra Dos Reis. The island is renowned for its sandy beaches, crystal clear water and relaxing culture. We had such a great time exploring this unique island, we have finally picked our top 5 things to see and do.
boat tour and snorkelling around the Island
We spent our very first day doing a half-day tour around the island. This can be organised when you arrive, there are a lot of stores advertising these tours. There was about 10 of us on a boat with a driver and we visited the Green Lagoon, Blue Lagoon, Freguesia de Santana, and Japariz.
At each stop we were able to get out and snorkel and swim around, play music, drink beers and hang out. It was a great way to visit all major parts of the island! We stopped for lunch on a beach where there was a small restaurant, there we shared a local dish of fresh seafood stew and rice.
2. Go diving or get your dive ticket
One of the main reasons we ended up at Ilha Grande was to obtain our Open Water PADI ticket. We organised this through Elite Dive School and it was the highlight of our time on Ilha Grande! Caio was our instructor and he quickly became one of our very good friends. The course was very well organised, easy to follow and a great way to start off our diving future. We dived at various spots on the island and saw numerous sea turtles, sea horses, stingrays, spider crabs, starfish and thousands of fish!
3. Eat at Lonier Garoupas Restaurant
When travelling, we like to try a large variety of restaurants however whilst staying on Ilha Grande, we couldn’t stay away from this restaurant! The quality of their fish was incredible; we highly recommend trying the passionfruit sauce option! We also had the Shrimp with cream cheese sauce etc and fell in love with this dish! Their food comes out with multiple side dishes such as salad, rice and delicious salted potatoes.
4. Hike to Dos Rios and spend the day relaxing on the secluded beach.
The hike takes approximately 2 hours – one hour uphill and one hour downhill. The hike is well walked track and is easy to follow. When you are near the top of the hill, you will come across an incredible lookout point where you can see the entire town below and out to sea.
If you would like to reduce the hike from 2 hours to 1.5 hours, you can take a shortcut through the bush along another easy to follow track. As you are descending, you will come across two boulders sitting on top of each other on your left hand side. You will see a parting in the trees directly ahead of you as the path sweeps left. Go through this tree parting and follow it until you come out the other end where you will meet back up with the original track.
5. Visit Lopes Mendes
We did a day trip to the beach Lopez Mendes. We organised a boat from Abraao that took us to a small beach, from there we hiked 20 minutes to Lopez Mendes. The hike was uphill and downhill and we saw monkeys along the way. The beach was really pretty and vast, we were able to buy basic sandwiches and drinks from a stall, however I recommend bringing your own food and snacks as those beach stalls can be overpriced.