Located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro and part of the municipality of Angra Ilha Grande, is one of the most pristine remnants of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest, one of the richest ecosystems in the world, and a hotspot for biodiversity and conservation. You can choose to hike the many trails or take a boat tour around the island to explore all the Ilha Grande has to offer. Since I’m not much of a hiker (I’m sure you figured that out already) and prefer the aquatic life we opted for one of the boat tours by Phoenix Tourism /Island Revals. There are thousands of beaches, coves and caves to explore, doing one of the tours is really the best way to make the most out of your experience in Ilha Grande, I mean come on, who doesn’t love jetting around on a speed boat to cool hidden beaches?
Our first stop was Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon). This turquoise blue seawater pool surrounded by small islands was named Lagoa Azul due to its resemblance to Port Antonio Jamaica where the movie Blue Lagoon was filmed. These shallow, calm waters are one of the best snorkeling points in Ilha Grande. We had a blast swimming around with the colored fish, and seahorses! Then we headed Laje de Matariz to snorkel the Helicopters shipwreck. Its pretty deep so I would recommend doing one of the dives to really explore it. Note: there are over 50 shipwrecks to explore so if you like to dive, this is the place for you!
Next we headed to Aripiba, a beautiful secret beach nestled into a cove, a great spot to explore the island, hike on the rocks and swim in the crystalline waters. This was one of my favorite spots, I had a great time hiking around the rocks (my kind of ‘hiking’). Onto Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon) another fantastic spot for snorkeling! This huge green pool is a true spectacle of nature and home to rare green corals (hence the color). Besides a cute little pagoda restaurant you will feel completely at one with nature (once the other tourists leave).All the snorkeling and swimming around works up an appetite so we headed to Maguariquissaba beach for lunch at Restauante Peixe com Banana (shown below). It was a great set up, the boat driver called in our order from the boat so it was ready when we arrived(perfect since I was starving!). Delicious seafood options and a number of beef/chicken options for those who didn’t want seafood. Located on the beach, the restaurant is very relaxing and the food was great, totally hit the spot.
After lunch we went to Praia de Amor (Beach of love), which is tucked away so tiny you might miss it, but this beautiful peaceful little beach should not be skipped over! Check out the video of Praia de Amor
The last beach we visited was Feiticeira (shown below), a small beach with rocks to climb on and an area to explore surrounding the beach. It was beautiful but at that point the sun was going down and it was pretty chilly out there
The boat ride around was a blast, I must say touring around on a speed boat instead of one of the schooners made a huge difference and it was way more fun! If you are going to Ilha Grande definitely do one of the boat tours- seeing the incredible beaches and coves, swimming and snorkeling with the beautiful fish… really completes your Ilha Grande experience