Six Beautiful Beaches of Ilha Grande Brazil
We have not met any other Americans here on Ilha Grande. It’s somewhat of a Brazilian secret. A weekend getaway or summer vacation for Brazilian families as well as the twenty-something backpacker set.
A few foreigners know the secret. We hear some French being spoken. A bit of German. Perhaps some Swedish. But mostly it’s Portuguese as we make our way with our limited language skills beyond English.
After nine days on the island, we can report first hand our favorite Ilha Grand beaches as well as report there isn’t a lot else to do. The tiny town of Abraão has some restaurants and a hand full of shops but not even an ATM. There are no cars here either. If you want to go you walk or take a boat. There is a bustling water taxi and boat shuttle business to remote beaches, other islands and the mainland. We walked and took the boat to discover our favorites. Walking however involves climbing, on this hilly and often muddy tropical island. Good footwear is a must. And for me, having my walking poles was a lifesaver. I took one tumble, with no damage done.
There are many more Ilha Grande beaches on the island we did not see, but here is our list of our favorite beaches of Ilha Grande;
Praia Lopes Mendes – at 3K long, Lopes Mendes is the largest of any of the beaches we visited on the island. Listed often as one of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches, the beach is a beautiful stretch of powdery white sand that squeaks when you walk in it. Very limited services at this beach, just a few hardy entrepreneurs selling cold drinks out of coolers. Getting to this beach is a challenge. You either hike about three hours from the village of Abraao or you take a nearly hour-long boat ride through rough and choppy seas then walk another twenty minutes to reach the beach.
Praia do Abraazinho – walking from the village of Abraao north you can visit five different beaches through a series of trails and beach walks. The fifth beach Abraazinho was my favorite. We spent a wonderful morning here after a hot and sweaty hike and the warm blue waters were a perfect reward for our efforts. This beach has a few restaurants offered and we enjoyed one of our best meals in all of Brazil here, a Fish and Banana stew that was huge, cheap and delicious.
Praia da Crena – after enjoying Abraazinho we walked back towards the village and stopped at the next beach of Praia de Crena. Smaller than Abrazinho, Praia de Crena offered a shallow swimming area and seemed popular with families. The water was ridiculously warm and calm. There was some shaded areas for the late afternoon heat as well as a small restaurant and bar.
Praia Palmas – a rigorous hike of nearly two hours on a very hot day brought us to the collection of beaches in Palmas. This was in my opinion the most beautiful beach we saw on Ilha Grande. A steep beach leads from the shady tree line down to the warm blue water, which on the day we were there had some good rolling surf.
Praia de Dois Rios – What a workout getting to this beach. Six mile hike each way from Abraão and straight up. But the result was a spectacular beach nearly all to ourselves. Lots of shade and really warm blue water. I loved it. A couple of vendors selling cold drinks. There is a town here too – a former grand company town where a penitentiary was. But now the once beautiful homes and buildings are mostly abandoned. Just a few people left to cater to the beach visitors.
Praia Preta – Close to town but prettier than the beach found right in town, Praia Preta has a little lagoon that is a favorite with families as well as shady area great for picnics. This beach abuts the original settlement on the island. Full of history, the site was originally a farmhouse, later a quarantine site for European travelers coming around the horn and suffering from cholera, and then a
penitentiary for many years before being abandoned. What remains of the buildings are large boulders and building blocks covered in jungle vegetation and moss. Additionally the remains of a historic aqueduct culminating here is also interesting.
It’s easy to see why Brazilians love this place so much. I had never even heard of it, so I am really glad Arne did his research and discovered it. A hidden gem I highly recommend you consider when you come to beautiful Brazil.