Ilha Grande is a tropical island, only 2 hours south-west of Rio de Janeiro boasting 193 square kilometres of mountainous jungle and 106 superb beaches.
Just off the Green Coast, tranquil, tropical, blissfully vehicle-free Ilha Grande ("Big Island") is a nature preserve of pristine protected rainforest, secluded lagoons, waterfalls, salt marshes, mangroves . . . and 106 beaches. The 90-minute ferry trip from the mainlands Angra dos Reis or Mangaratiba to Abraão—Ilha Grandes commercial hub, with fewer than 500 inhabitants—is a glide halfway into lovers fantasies. To slip fully into oblivion, hike from Abraão or boat directly to the more remote communities of Araçatiba, Sítio Forte, Bananal, Saco do Céu, Vermelha, or Itaguaçú.
The island has 3 settlementsm of which Vila do Abraão is the capital and has the best infrastructure. Here you can find several pousadas, bars, restaurants and tourist attractions all situated in a palm-studded beachfront.
One of the three hundred and sixty five islands of Angra dos Reis Archipelago in Rio de Janeiro State, Ilha Grande is an ecologically preserved area. So, most of the activities are nature related. Hiking on well-marked trails, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, swimming and boat tours are some of the attractions that makes it the ideal place to forget the daily tensions. From May to September you might be able to swim between the dolphins.
As it only opened up to tourism in 1994 (it was a penal colony before) the islands development has been limited and it retains much of its charm. Crystal clear green waters lap at palm-fringed beaches on the north side of the island, and sweeping white-sand beaches (including Praia Lopes Mendes, which is claimed to be Brazils most beautiful beach) and rougher seas characterise the south side.
The topping vegetation of Ilha Grande is a part of the remaining dense woods of the Atlantic Rainforest and is a Nacional Patrimony protected area. The local fauna and flora are very diversified. We find mountain range vegetation there, as well as coastal, mangrove and prairie areas. It’s inserted in the ecological zone known as Mata Atlântica, in which there is predominance of dense ombrofila (from low ground, submountains and montains). In small proportion you can find the pioneer formation areas, with marine influence (shoal) and fluvial-marine (mangrove), one of the most important ecosystems (responsible for maintanance of biodiversity), performing direct influence in local economical fishing activities.
Many local fauna and flora representative species are found in the area, including parrots, woodpeckers, Brazilian thrushs, saracuras etc. There are also different kinds of monkeys, squirrels, armadillos, pacas, hedgehogs and snakes.
Some extinction threatened species, like de Alouatta Fusca, generally known as Bugio monkey, are also find there. The whole Ilha Grande is in a Tamoios Environmental Protection Area and subdivided in 3 more especific areas:
State Park, Marine State Park and Biologial Reserve of Praia do Sul.