Ola viajantes! We are Ju and Rodrigo from @judrigoem. Welcome to our travel guide on the best things to do in Ilha Grande, Brazil. We’ve been together since 2010 and have always loved traveling. At the beginning, we traveled and published photos on our individual Instagram profiles.
Then people started to suggest that we create a joint account offering travel tips and inspiration. Our profile started out as just a hobby but today we have plans to live and work as full-time content creators. We’ve always been into photography too – so everything lined up nicely for us.
Visiting Ilha Grande for the Third Time
We have been to Ilha Grande three times now. Previously, we camped at Grande das Palmas Beach and didn’t want to leave that amazing spot. We spent our entire trip on the same beach! On our most recent visit, we explored several different places on the island of Ilha Grande.
Vila do Abraao was our base this time around. It’s located in the center of Ilha Grande. We wanted to go back to this beautiful island for a long time and managed to plan a trip this year. And it was fantastic. We stayed for a week which was enough time to get to know the main points of the island.
Of course, we didn’t get the chance to see everything that we wanted but six or seven days was plenty of time. Our main recommendations for Ilha Grande would be visiting Lopes Mendes Beach, Lagoa Azul, Lagoa Verde, Botinas Islands, Cataguases Islands and Cachoeira Da Feiticeira waterfall.
Our favorite places in Ilha Grande were Lagoa Azul and Lagoa Verde. The water at these spots was so transparent and the marine life was just spectacular. Anyone who goes to Ilha Grande has to visit these lagoons.
Top 10 Things To Do in Ilha Grande
Ilha Grande is the definition of a Brazilian paradise. The island is blessed with some beautiful tropical beaches and lush rainforest. Much of the island is protected as state parkland and the island is home to a small community of locals. Below you can find our top 10 recommendations.
1. Go Swimming at the Beautiful Lagoa Azul
Lagoa Azul, otherwise known as Blue Lagoon, is a natural pool with a sandy bottom, rocky surroundings and blue water. The lagoon is located between two islets in the historical region of Freguesia de Santana in Ilha Grande. There are a couple of other beautiful beaches nearby too like Baleia Beach.
2. Visit the Stunning Lagao Verde
Lagoa Verde was another one of our favorite places on Ilha Grande. This lagoon is a stunning green color. At high tide the lagoon is separated from Ilha Grande while at low tide it is connected to the land by a narrow strip of sand and stones. Go diving with an incredible range of sea creatures!
3. Discover Paradise at the Cataguases Islands
The Cataguases Islands are located just off the mainland of Brazil in between the coast and Ilha Grande. These islands offer crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches. They really are little slices of paradise. We recommend going snorkeling and diving here to make the most of your visit.
4. Take a Boat Trip to the Botinas Islands
Once you’re on Ilha Grande, you’ll realize pretty quickly that there are many boat trips available. One of the boat trips goes to the beautiful Botinas Islands. The Botinas are two small islands bursting with palm trees. Enjoy a day of swimming, snorkeling and floating in spectacular turquoise waters.
5. Relax at the Picture-Perfect Dentist’s Beach
Another amazing place you can take a boat to is Praia do Dentista (Dentist’s Beach). Trips leave every morning from Abraao’s beach but you should always book your trip in advance. Dentist’s Beach is one of the main stops where visitors can walk on beautiful sand and swim in clear waters.
6. Spend a Day at Lopes Mendes Beach
Lopes Mendes Beach is the postcard version of Ilha Grande beaches. This is by far the most popular and famous beach on the island. It stretches a long way with white sand and gorgeous waters to revel in. There are two ways to get there: walking which takes three hours or by boat from Abraao’s beach.
7. Swim in the Shallow Waters of Piedade Beach
This is another beach which can only be accessed on a boat trip. The beach is located on Ilha da Gipoia – right by Ilha Grande. Praia da Piedade offers a small sandbank with a strip of sand and shallow waters. It’s the perfect place for families to go swimming with their kids.
8. Get to Know the Main Town of Vila do Abraao
Vila do Abraao is Ilha Grande’s main town and has transformed itself in the last 30 years into a tourist gem. Before the 1990’s, the town was a sleepy fishing village. Here you can wander around the beachfront, discover a unique orange church and enjoy a few drinks on the waterfront at night.
9. Hike to the Lush Cachoeira Da Feiticeira
Cachoeira da Feiticeira is the ultimate natural paradise. The waterfall is 15 meters high and has a natural pool at the bottom. To get to the waterfall, it’s necessary to hike through a trail that takes one and a half hours. You can take a tour guide there if you want guidance on your adventure.
10. Try the Seafood Dishes of Ilha Grande
The main dishes of Ilha Grande are seafood dishes with Brazilian recipes. There are many fantastic restaurants of all types and prices on Abraao’s beach. This is the go-to spot to enjoy delicious food right on the edge of the beach. We loved the shrimp dishes and recommend everyone try them!
Favorite Memories of Ilha Grande
The diving at both Lagoa Verde and Lagoa Azul was just phenomenal. We dived with fish, seahorses and starfish. It was an incredible experience and made it the most memorable part of our trip. We also loved walking through Abraao at night. The island’s climate is lovely in the evening.
Travel Tips for your Visit to Ilha Grande
It’s important to respect the natives of Ilha Grande. The people we met were lovely and helped us in many ways. You can also find many foreigners around too – especially from South American countries like Argentina.
You should know that Ilha Grande is not a luxury destination. The island is simple and the perfect place to contemplate nature. It’s a destination for those who love the beach, snorkeling with fish, exploring nature, diving in the sea and taking boat journeys to nearby islands and beaches.
Our main tip would be to visit during summer. The more sunlight you get the more clear the water becomes. But also try to avoid local holiday dates and the peak season. The island can get full during certain months. That is all. Go to Ilha Grande and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Brazil!