Pop-Up Travel: Ilha Grande, Brazil

At the end of my recent trip to Brazil, my family and I spent two days on an island called Ilha Grande. Ilha Grande is reachable only by boat (ferries to Ilha Grande leave from the town of Angra, about an hour-and-a-half from Rio) and there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island.

Isla Grande boats

Lots of boats. No cars.

Ilha Grande is known for its unspoiled natural beauty and we were expecting a deserted island kind of vibe. But we happened to visit during the week between Christmas and New Years, which I’m guessing is the busiest week of the year on Ilha Grande. The island was crowded, especially in the main settlement of Vila do Abraão where we stayed. So our time on Ilha Grande was more about people-watching (and animal-watching), eating, and drinking than it was about laying on deserted beaches.

Isla Grande church

The church in Vila do Abraão.

Seafood

This was the most delicious platter of seafood I’ve ever eaten. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the restaurant where we ate it.

Isla Grande caipirinhas

A man making caipirinhas on a Vila do Abraão side street. That’s my sister in the shadows, petting one of Ilha Grande’s ubiquitous dogs.

Isla Grande bench

Holiday-makers. My favorite Instagram from the trip to Brazil.

If you’re planning a visit to Ilha Grande, I recommend going for at least two full days to allow time to check out different beaches on the island. We didn’t have time to venture very far from Vila do Abraão but we heard that the beaches on the other side of the island (reachable on foot or via water taxi) are stunning.

Also note that there are no ATM machines on Ilha Grande. And while I’m on the topic, my mother, sister, I all had serious problems using our ATM cards in Brazil. I’ve used my American ATM card successfully in many obscure places around the world, but the card was basically useless in Brazil. Maybe we were particularly unlucky but I recommend bringing cash to Brazil just in case.

White boat

But who needs cash when you can look at a view like this for free?

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6 Comments

  • Reply Gail Wilson February 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Just love the ‘Holiday-makers’ pic, well captured.

    • Reply 2summers February 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

      Thanks Gail 🙂

  • Reply Mvschulze February 4, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Looks like a mountainous island, and quite high at that. I’ll be going to my Google maps shortly about Ilha Grande. Thanks for the look. M

    • Reply 2summers February 5, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Yes, that whole part of the Brazilian coast is very hilly. Really interesting geography.

  • Reply Jonker - Firefly February 5, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Must have been an amazing trip. I think one of the best parts of a trip like this is discovering the food.

    • Reply 2summers February 5, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Yes, definitely. The foid is always the part that i remember most.

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