Historical & Cultural Walking Tour
Duration: 3 hours
Tour Code: igb-001
Explore on foot the Portuguese-founded island of Ilha Grande, a bio-diverse wonderland that was once notorious as a pirate refuge, leper colony and Alcatraz-style prison.
Departing from the pier on foot, you will soon be immersed in Ilha Grande State Park, a biological reserve established in 1971. Along the way, a guide will discuss the park’s flora and fauna, which includes colorful parrots, exotic hummingbirds and stout capybaras, the world’s largest rodent. Because the entire island is protected environmentally, it boasts one of South America’s most diverse ecosystems. Unfortunately, many of the animals are endangered.
After pausing at the lovely San Sebastian church, you learn about Ihla Grande’s infamous past as an entry point for African slaves. Later, the island supported a leper colony and a political prison. The prison, known as the “devil’s cauldron,” is now in ruins. The guardhouse still stands though, and you will have the opportunity to take a photo there.
Another photo opportunity awaits you at Black Beach, a beautiful stretch of sand that is black because it contains so much dark quartz. You will also have a bit of free time to stroll along the shore of Preta Beach before following a trail to Ilha Grande’s old aqueduct, a beautiful structure partially covered with tropical vines. If you desire, you might then take a refreshing dip in a nearby lake before walking back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 1/2 hours of moderate to strenuous walking over uneven and natural surfaces. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Participants should be in good physical condition. Light weight trousers; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; insect repellant; a bottle of water from the ship; and flat, comfortable walking or hiking shoes are recommended. Those who wish to swim in the lake should wear a swimsuit under their clothing and bring a towel from the ship. There are no changing facilities and no restrooms.