We took a regular transfer from Rio and started from our hotel on Copacabana at 7:30 a.m. with the shuttle service 'Top Transfer'. We were very satisfied with them, since they drove us to Paraty too a few days earlier and I must add, those are all licenced drivers who are trained professionals in cases something goes wrong on the way. In a country like Brazil we find that very important - safety first. But they all drive very fast, so fasten your seat belt :). We drove in the direction towards Paraty for about three hours or so, till we arrived to Marina Porto Real, Conceição de Jacareí.
Sitting at the beach around midnight by the fire, listening to a distant guitar playing, giving him neck kisses. That's how I imagine life here.
We waited for about half an hour for the speed boat to Ilha Grande and: 'Woohoo, here we go!'
We needed just about 25 - 30 minutes to reach the 'Big Island'. I would recommend you to take at least two days or more for visiting the island. For example, if you want to take a boat tour to the most beautiful beaches on the island, you can't visit all of them in the afternoon, because of the strong winds on the other side of the island. We asked every agency, but they wouldn't let us go, plus the only way to get there is by boat. I liked their concern for the travellers/tourists though, because in some other countries I've visited before, the tour organizers didn't care for the safety of the tourists that much.
The most visited and the biggest village on the island is called Vila do Abraão, with some accommodation facilities. We wanted to see Praia do Aventureiro, because of its special palm tree hanging above the sea and some other beaches, but because we came on the island around 1 p.m., we couldn't go there because of the winds – we were already too late. But nevertheless, you can see amazingly beautiful beaches and a stunning waterfall on foot too, if you start from Vila do Abraão along the shoreline. Because we visited Ilha Grande in November, there weren't any crowds, since the high season is considered to start in January.
There are many other options what to do on the island, for example many decide to go hiking, as there are few hiking and trekking trails. Staying at campsites it's also possible.
Did you know, that Ilha Grande, also known as Brazilian Alcatraz, first housed a leper colony? Later on there was a top-security prison Cândido Mendes (closed in 1994), which housed some of the country's most dangerous prisoners.
Mostly undeveloped island (there are no cars, yay!) was closed for almost a century by the Brazilian government to free movement or settlement, but today it is an absolute paradise far away from the city noise.
My hubby posing (he hates it though) :)
I guess I will always remember the sweet boy, who was trying to hide from me behind his 'surfboard'. Then he ran toward me and gently touched my hair. At first I didn't know what he was trying to tell me, as he smiled and screamed something in Portugues language, when he walked away. After a short while, when some thing fell off my head on the sand, I realised that he put a crabs shell into my hair and gave me the most innocent and gorgeous smile, only children can give to a total stranger. Thank you my little boy for that special moment. I hope you're enjoying yourself at the beach right now.
Our beach pillow :-)
There were a lot of dogs on the island - lucky me, because I missed my Mila like crazy :)
Ohh, the Brazilian smoothies are so much better than those at home... Exotico (Manga Maracujá Abacaxi Banana) and Frutas Vermelhas (Morango, Amora, Framboesa), each of them was 15,00 R$ (cca. 4 EUR).
Always take time for a brunch break...
Pros and cons:
+ This may be plus or minus for some travellers: they had fast internet connection, although on an island like this, sometimes I rather log off of all the electronic devices and just breathe.
- The only minus was, that on this part of the beach I almost stepped on a broken glass barefoot, then I noticed there were some broken bottles and glasses laying around the tables. Advice: put your Havaianas on - just in case :-)
This is not exactly a bad thing, if you ask me, it is simply liberating, but just for some of you who are maybe planning to visit Ilha Grande: there are no ATMs on the island, so bring cash. They accept credit cards though. There are also no cars - that we liked the most.
Maybe some of you will find it useful, if I add the departure times from Rio (Windsor Plaza Hotel) with prices (the prices include speed boat between Conceição de Jacareí and Vila do Abraão for both ways):
07:15 - 07:30 - 95 reais per person (we took this one)
11:00 - 11:15 - 100 reais per person
14:00 - 14:15 - 110 reais per person
Ferries and speed boats timetable:
Departure: 07:00, 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 11:00, 11:30, 12:30, 13:30, 16:00, 17:00 - every day; 17:30 - every day, except Saturday, 18:30 - every day.
At 6 p.m. we left the island and headed back to Rio (with our white shuttle on the right side). It took us about three or four hours to get to our hotel on Copacabana.
Bye-bye and hope to see you again some day, paradise island!