Off the coast, about a four hour drive from Rio is an island that attracts people from all over Brazil, as well as being on a well travelled backpacker route. Ilha Grande’s (literally Big Island) biggest town, Vila do Abraão, is where all the boats stop that bring tourists from the mainland, or the cruise ships that dock in the harbour.
It’s a lovely village, full of colourful buildings, slightly over- commercialised with pousadas, restaurants and identical souvenir shops vying for your attention.
The big draw of Ilha Grande is its plethora of beaches, all easily reached by taxi boat, or by hiking through the rainforest, following well marked trails.
During the hikes around the island, you come across remnants of the islands slightly depressing past. This now defunct aqueduct used to provide water to the prison/leprosy hospital that previously called the island its home.
Further on the same trail is Cachoeira da Feiticeira, a beautiful 15m tall waterfall with clear water that just calls out to you after a long, hot hike.
The beaches here are spectacular, with golden sand, calm seas and no beach sellers trying to sell you another pair of sunglasses.
And lastly, let me introduce you to Suzie. Suzie is joining us on our travels as we miss our niece growing up back in England. D’s brother is counting on us to give Suzie as many different experiences as we can while we’re away. Keep an eye out for Suzie’s stories – coming soon!