On the 28th, we arrived in Ilha Grande, an island that sits just off the Costa Verde, and boy what a journey. After the usual late departure (nothing in South America is ever on time, and the sooner you get used to this the better), we got our transfer to Angra dos Reis. In order to get there in time for the boat to the island, the driver made up for lost time by having no care or respect for the road, and generally driving like a maniac. After being stopped by numerous policemen peering into the van and making us feel like illegal immigrants, we made it to the dock, just as it started to pour with rain (there´s no such thing as a light drizzle in Brazil). Wearing shorts and t-shirts, we were suffering. The boat trip lasted an hour to the island, and I bet on a nice day it would be a lovely trip, but my main concern was trying to retain as much body heat as possible, and not get wet.

After disembarking, we made our way to the hostel. This is where I learnt the hard way that rain, flip flops, and a backpack, is a bad combination. On a slippery wooden deck, my feet went right under me, and I found myself flat on the floor like an upside-down beetle - unable to get up, and legs and arms akimbo. Luckily, the only person to witness this was Adam, who after composing from laughter, helped me up. Fortunately, the hostel was close and relatively easy to find. We turned up, soaked to the bone, to find that the electricity had gone from the whole island and wouldn´t be back for a few hours. So our first impressions of the island consisted of us trying (and failing) to dry ourselves off, and sitting in our dark room.

Ilha Grande is beautiful, but having fallen in love with Paraty, we were unable to rave about it as much as as a lot of people we´ve met.
The island has a typical laidback feel, from its sandy streets and no-vehicle policy (although we did spot a few that must have been exempt from this rule), to the endless amounts of power-cuts that can last hours and don´t seem to be any cause for concern for the locals. It is covered in jungle, and beaches hug the side of the island all the way around, meaning that there are lot of hikes to be done, as well as water-based activities.

Unfortunately, it rained a lot during the 4 days that we were there, and there always seemed to be an ominous grey cloud in the background whe it didn´t. Being a place where all of the attractions/activities are outdoors, this wasn´t ideal - perhaps this is why we didn´t seem to enjoy it as much as we thought.
When the sun did make an appearance, our time was mainly spent on the beach - my favourite being Lopes Mendes for its long stretch of squeaky white sand, clear sea, and jungle background. The beach is completely on its own but can be reached by boat or by foot. We did the hike from Abraao which took just over 2 hours, and it was great to walk through pure Brazilian jungle (although it was pretty strenuous at times - not to mention hot!)

Lopes Mendes beach. Bikini: Asos

Monkeys on the way to Lopes Mendes

Apart from that, all we seemed to do was eat and drink - there are a number of pretty good restaurants in the village of Abraao, some with great settings looking right out to sea.

Ilha Grande is gorgeous, and probably worth the visit (especially if you´re in Rio as it´s so close), although 3 days would be more than enough. Just watch out for bugs and stray dogs...and carry a torch!