The Big Island or Ilha Grande in Portuguese is a popular field trip from Rio de Janeiro known for its beaches, green mountains and the fact that there are no cars on the island. The island is located between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Once you reach the island, you will have numerous beaches and restaurants at your disposal. We advise you to board the ferry as early as possible in the morning to have time to enjoy the island. Visits usually last from 6am to 8am.
In the northwest part of the city there is a small hiking trail that you should visit. It is located inside the Estadual Park, which covers a large part of the island. This special trail is great because it takes less than an hour and features several beaches, several wooded trails, colonial ruins and an old aqueduct. You will enjoy the nature that surrounds you.
In addition to enjoying the beaches, you can walk along Getúlio Vargas street where you will have the opportunity to see amazing murals painted on the concrete walls. Although the street is not located next to the beach, it is truly worth the visit.
Although there are numerous restaurants, hotels and other services on the island, tourists mostly choose to visit the island because of the amazing beaches. And they really are magical.
First of all, the main port on the Big Island is Villa do Abraão, so you will head there. To get there, you must take a boat from Mangaratiba (closest to Rio), Conceição de Jacareí (nearest point to the Big Island) or Angra dos Reis (closest to Sao Paulo). There is a public ferry that you can take but they go very rarely, so we advise private carriers.
Arriving by boat from Conceição de Jacareí to Abraão is the most popular choice because the journey takes about 20 minutes and the boats run regularly. A one-way trip costs from 20 to 30 BRL.
photo credit: Tiago Falcao