What is Ilha Grande?

June 21, 2024


Ilha Grande is a stunning island located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush rainforest, Ilha Grande is a popular destination for tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. In this glossary, we will explore everything you need to know about Ilha Grande, from its history and geography to its top attractions and activities.


Ilha Grande has a rich history that dates back to the early 1500s when it was first discovered by Portuguese explorers. The island was originally inhabited by indigenous tribes, but it was later used as a penal colony for political prisoners and criminals. In the 1980s, the prison was closed, and Ilha Grande was declared a protected area, preserving its natural beauty for future generations to enjoy.


Ilha Grande is the largest island in the Angra dos Reis archipelago, spanning over 193 square kilometers. The island is characterized by its rugged terrain, with towering mountains and dense forests covering much of the land. The coastline is dotted with secluded coves and sandy beaches, making it a paradise for beach lovers and nature enthusiasts.

Top Attractions

One of the top attractions on Ilha Grande is Lopes Mendes Beach, a pristine stretch of white sand that is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in Brazil. Another must-see spot is Pico do Papagaio, the highest peak on the island, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can also explore the ruins of the old prison, hike through the rainforest, or go snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.


There are plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained on Ilha Grande, from hiking and birdwatching to kayaking and diving. The island is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers. Visitors can also take boat tours around the island, visit nearby waterfalls, or simply relax on the beach and soak up the sun.


There are a variety of accommodation options on Ilha Grande, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts. Many visitors choose to stay in one of the charming pousadas, or guesthouses, that are scattered throughout the island. These accommodations offer a unique and authentic experience, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the local culture and lifestyle.

Getting There

The easiest way to reach Ilha Grande is by taking a ferry from the town of Angra dos Reis, which is located on the mainland. The ferry ride takes about 1.5 hours and offers stunning views of the surrounding islands. Alternatively, visitors can also take a speedboat or private boat charter to the island, depending on their budget and preferences.


Ilha Grande has a tropical climate, with warm temperatures year-round. The island experiences a rainy season from December to March, but the rest of the year is generally dry and sunny. The best time to visit is during the dry season, when the weather is perfect for outdoor activities and beach days.

Local Cuisine

One of the highlights of visiting Ilha Grande is sampling the local cuisine, which is a delicious blend of Portuguese, African, and indigenous flavors. Seafood is a staple of the island diet, with fresh fish, shrimp, and lobster being popular dishes. Visitors can also try traditional Brazilian dishes like feijoada, a hearty stew made with black beans and pork.

Conservation Efforts

In recent years, there has been a growing focus on conservation efforts on Ilha Grande, aimed at preserving the island’s natural beauty and biodiversity. Local organizations and government agencies have implemented various initiatives to protect the environment, including beach cleanups, reforestation projects, and sustainable tourism practices. Visitors are encouraged to respect the island’s fragile ecosystem and minimize their impact on the environment.


In conclusion, Ilha Grande is a hidden gem in Brazil that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and adventure. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the rainforest, or immerse yourself in the local culture, Ilha Grande has something for everyone. Plan your trip to this tropical paradise and experience the magic of Ilha Grande for yourself.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.