Some of Brazil's most gorgeous beaches and exotic rainforests can be found 120 miles south of Rio de Janeiro on the Ilha Grande. Ilha Grande boasts over 200 beaches and historically was a pirates hideaway. Enjoy exploring this beautiful island hiking its trails, kayaking, snorkeling, diving to spectacular sites or simply relaxing on its gorgeous beaches. Savor the dense Atlantic forest, the birds, flowers, iguanas, monkeys and myriad wildlife found in this protected reserve. Please be advised that due to the under-developed nature of this destination, organized tours are not available.
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Sail on a schooner to two of Ilha Grande’s most idyllic snorkeling spots: the Blue Lagoon and an isolated beach on the north side of the island.
After departing from the pier in a schooner, you will sail off for the Blue Lagoon, a beautiful body of water known for its brilliant color and astounding clarity. During the hour it takes to reach the lagoon, you will enjoy a unique perspective of Ilha Grande, taking in its densely forested shoreline. The entire island is protected environmentally, so nature reigns supreme.
Upon arriving at the Blue Lagoon, you may see boaters feeding the fish with breadcrumbs, which attracts huge schools. The waters are typically calm and shallow, making the lagoon ideal for snorkeling. Countless species of tropical fish thrive here, and you may also see sea turtles, starfish and sea horses. Dolphins also frequent the lagoon, and it’s a real treat to see them playfully zipping through the sea. The setting couldn’t be more inviting.
Sailing on, you will pass Love Beach before coming upon beautiful Praia de Fora, another idyllic beach on the northern tip of Ilha Grande. During free time, you can do as you please. You may snorkel once again, sunbathe on the golden sand, or stroll along the shore. Because of its remote location, this beach is pristine and the vegetation is thick and lush right up to the sand. After approximately one hour at Praia de Fora, you will sail back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes limited walking, mainly at the guests’ discretion. Those who wish to snorkel should be good swimmers and in good physical condition. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Swimwear worn under a light cover-up; sun cap; sunglasses; sunscreen; a towel from the ship; and flat, comfortable shoes with a non-slip surface are recommended. There is a limited amount of snorkeling equipment on the boat so guests may wish to bring their own. Those who take part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility.
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. Those who take part in any water activities do so at their own risk and responsibility. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.