Ilha Grande is a touristic destiny well known in Rio for its clear waters and a huge number of trails and beaches.
The purpose of this post is to tell about the hit-and-back to Ilha Grande and the practical questions envolved, for those whose maybe are wondering if it is worthwhile or not.
So? Already convinced? OK, now I will give you the directions to the paradise!
1) Car or Bus to Mangaratiba.
The bus costs R$37,50. The bus leaves 04 times a day from the Novo Rio bus station and the schedule is available here. You can also go by Angra dos Reis or Conceição de Jacareí, but Mangaratiba is the nearest connection point from Rio.
2) Boat to Ilha Grande.
Cheapest option: Boat (CCR): rate price is R$ 14,00 and it takes about 1h30min. The problem is that they only have two times: 8 AM to go and 5:30 PM to come back. There is also one extra boat that leaves on Fridays, 10 PM.
There are boats apart, if you can not get there in time, but of course it is more expensive. Try to find other people in the dock station so you can share it! Or, if you won’t be able to get there in time, go to Conceição de Jacaraí (it’s between Mangaratiba and Angra dos Reis). The boats from there costs around 30 reais and they leave several times a day, almost hourly, from 08:00 to 18:00 and one extra at 21:00 only on Fridays.
For those who don’t have much time or just want to chill without stress, one good option is to stay in Abraão and hire boat services to meet other points of the Island. There are also a lot of trails starting from there.
In Abraão, I stayed at Inn Telhado Azul. The price for a couple room was ok, the breakfast was pretty neat and very nice service. I´d return and therefore I recommend.
We did two tours: one in Saturday, which goes through many beaches and other in Sunday only to Lopes Mendes beach – one of the most beautiful, in my opinion. Attention, hikers: this beach is also accessible by trail, but the boat helps in the matter of time.
Note: most of the boats have sound systems, which may annoy those who want to relax. I don´t know if this is negotiable, but its worth the notice. Ah, and have some snacks if you´re going to take the saturday boat tour, because you´ll probably arrive at the island just in time to hop on the boat. There is one stop for lunch, but it takes a lot for those who are starving, lol (me, always)
It’s a hurry to go only for one weekend, especially due to the unique time of the first boat to cross and of the tours. If you have a more flexible budget (or more people), hire your own boat, this should relieve the rush.
In the end, I usually think its worthy. Of course this kind of tourism is not what I seek to adopt nowadays, but this trip I did in 2012 and as a couple. Anyway, I still believe that its super valid for those who can´t visit the island otherwise. That old saying: better than nothing. Just go, and tell me later how it went! 😀
OBS: there are several tours companies that have day trips to Ilha Grande from Rio. You go and return in the same day, and that might be also a good option if you don’t have much time. I don’t recommend any company in particular, since I never did it and this kind of recommendation should be personal.