Aventureiro beach, Ilha Grande, Brazil
Brazil HIKING hiking South America

Ilha Grande, Brazil; day hikes and multi-day trekking routes

Ilha Grande is a beautiful tropical island a couple of hours away from Rio de Janeiro. It’s famous for long sandy beaches, warm calm water, lush jungle, and outdoor activities, it’s a real paradise for nature and hiking lovers.

Ilha Grande (Eng. Big Island) lies close to the mainland, about 30min. by boat, 1-1,5 hours by local ferry. The great thing about the island is that there are no roads, no cars. To get somewhere you either walk or take a boat. No roads but there are plenty of trails you can get to any place on the island walking. You can basically walk around it through the jungle, pristine beaches, and blue lagoons, etc. Here and there you can see or hear exotic animals or birds. Ilha Grande is just 193km2 but it has more than 100 beaches!!! Hiking you’ll have a good chance to see many of them!

If you don’t have enough time to spend a couple of days on the island but would really like to visit the island you can do a day tour from Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande that includes visiting several gorgeous beaches and snorkeling in crystal clear water.

Tips for hiking on Ilha Grande

Put on sunscreen when you go for a hike even if it’s overcast you still can get a sunburn.

Always take drinking water when you go hiking.

Wearing sunglasses and a cap or hat is strongly recommended.

Take some cash with, in case you want to buy a cool drink, water or snack on the way.

Pack a snorkel mask with if you snorkel at most beaches you can see some fish, sea stars and small corals.

If you’re planning to camp don’t forget mosquito repellent like in any tropical place there are many mosquitoes around.

Get a map with trekking routes at the tourism information in Abraão.

If you come to Ilha Grande during holiday time e.g. Christmas, Easter, Brazilian public holidays, etc. make sure to make a reservation it gets very crowded and busy.

The only motorized transport on the island is boats, to move between the beaches you can take a boat.

Map of Ilha Grande hiking trails
Ilha Grande Map

Best areas on the island to stay

If you want to hike around and visit several beaches but don’t feel like walking around the island for a week you can stay in one place and explore the surrounding areas. Ilha Grande can be divided into western and eastern parts, both have small villages, guesthouses, several campsites, restaurants, and nice beaches. As an option, if you have enough time you can stay on both sides of the island, spend a couple of days in one place exploring the nearby area and then take a boat and move to the other side for another couple of days.

Abraão

The main town on the island with many accommodation options, a couple of campsites, many restaurants and bars and one or two biggish food shops. Probably the best place to stay if you’re on a tight budget. The location is good for exploring the eastern part of Ilha Grande including Pico do Papagaio and Lopes Mendes beach. These trails are accessible as day hikes from Abraão; T-1, T-2, T-3, T-10, T-11, T-12, T-13, T-14, T-15. The town has direct boats and a ferry to Angra dos Reis (mainland). 

  • Hotels – yes
  • Hostels – yes
  • Campsite – yes
  • ATM – no
  • Supermarket/shop – yes
  • Restaurants – yes
  • Bars – yes

Budget accommodation in Abraão

| Laio’s Camping | Ilha Grande Hostel | Flor da Ilha Hostel | Biergarten Hostel | Harmoni Hostel & Pousada |

Middle price 

| Ilha Flat Boganville | Hotel Anexo D’Pillel | Pousada Nalu | Mambembe Hostel |

Luxury stay   

| Pousada Canoa da Praia | Pousada Só Naturalesa | Pousada do Canto |

Araçatiba

Much smaller than Abraão place with a beautiful beach, calm waters and chilled vibe. Its location is perfect if you want to explore the western part of Ilha Grande including spectacular Gruta de Acaiá, Lagoa Verde and many other beautiful and unspoiled beaches around. The following trails can be done as a day hike from Araçatiba; T-5, T-6, T-7, T-8, T-9. Araçatiba is connected by a direct boat with the mainland – Angra dos Reis. 

  • Hotels – yes
  • Hostels – no
  • Campsite – yes, ask at the church
  • ATM – no
  • Supermarket/shop – yes, small grocery shop
  • Restaurants – yes
  • Bars – yes

Accommodation in Araçatiba

| Suites Alguel | Paraíso Azul Retiro | Pousada Cruzoé | Pousada Tropical | Pousada Popeye |

There are several other villages on Ilha Grande where you can find accommodation and restaurants, find more options on this map.


Booking.com

Travel insurance for Ilha Grande

Whether you’re going to do short day hikes, multi-day trek or just chill on the island it’s recommended to have travel insurance that will cover your expenses in case of injury, luggage loss or gear theft. 

Travel Insurance for Hiking Diving Backpacking and more

Suggested Brazil tours and activities

Ilha Grande hiking trails

There are many hiking trails on Ilha Grande, in fact, you can go all way around the island following them. There are 16 routes that are marked T1 to T16, all they are connected between themselves and can be completed as a separate trek or combined with each other depending on how far and from where on the island, you want to walk.

If you’re a family or a group of friends and you want to see the island, its beaches, enjoy swimming and snorkeling in warm clear waters but don’t feel like walking you can charter a small speed boat (up to 5 people) for the whole day. The boat will take you around the island, stop at several beaches where you’ll have time for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling.

Short-distance hikes on Ilha Grande

We walked almost all these trails as a part of Ilha Grande Circuit but as I already mentioned they can be walked as separate day routes.

Circuito Abraão, T-1

    • Distance; 2km
    • Required time; 40min. – 1 hour
    • Difficulty level; easy
  • Highlights; Praia Preta (beach), two viewpoints, ruins of Lazareto, aqueduct, Feiticeira waterfall.

The shortest hiking trail on the island, it basically goes around the town, recommended to walk to get to know the area around Abraão and the town itself. An easy walk to stretch your legs after spending hours on the bus and ferry.

Abraão – Saco do Céu, T-2

    • Distance; 6km, one way
    • Required time; 2-3 hours
    • Difficulty level; easy
  • Highlights; Aqueduct, Feiticeira waterfall, many small beaches, Saco do Céu beach

A nice walk from Abraão first through the forest, past the Aqueduct and then past many small beaches. We really enjoyed walking this stretch as you go away from the majority of the people, all of a sudden the trail gets quiet and beaches get empty. We really liked the beach at Saco do Céu, great for relaxing and swimming, we even did some snorkeling and got to see tropical fish. If you want to get a refreshing swim after the Aqueduct go left following the path to Feiticeira waterfall, on weekends it gets very busy. In the beginning, the trail follows the same route as the Circuito Abraão.

Saco do Céu beach, Ilha Grande
Campbell hiking along beautiful Saco do Céu beach

Saco do Céu – Freguesia de Santana, T-3

    • Distance; 4km, one way
    • Required time; 1,5-2 hours
    • Difficulty level; easy
  • Highlights; several small beaches, jungle, Japariz (busy village with a couple of restaurants).

After walking through a very quiet area we all of a sudden found ourselves at noisy and crowded Japariz beach with loud music playing, people dancing, etc. If you’re up for a party it’s a good place to hang otherwise rather spend more time on the other beaches. It’s possible to walk from Abraão to Freguesia, 10km and either stay here or walk back to Abraão, 20km return. There are many boats from going between Japariz (very close to Freguesia) and Abraão two places, it’s a great option instead of walking to and back, catch a boat in the morning to Japariz and walk back to Abraão or the other way around.  

Freguesia de Santana – Bananal, T-4

    • Distance; 3km, one way (4km if you do short detours on the way)
    • Required time; 1-1,5 hours
    • Difficulty level; easy
  • Highlights; Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon), several unspoiled beaches, Bananal viewpoint

A nice and quiet walk, the route goes through the jungle and the beaches, Laguna Azul is a beautiful small bay with crystal clear warm water, it’s a popular place to come with a snorkeling tour from Abraão. You can easily combine both snorkeling and hiking, take a boat to Laguna Azul in the morning, spent some time snorkeling around and then walk back to Abraão, the walk is not tough and not too long 13km through beautiful jungle and beaches. If somewhere on the way you realize you don’t feel like walking anymore you always can catch a boat from one of the beaches back to Abraão.

Bananal – Sitio Forte, T-5

    • Distance; 5km, one way
    • Required time; 1,5-2 hours
    • Difficulty level; easy-moderate, several ups and downs on the way
  • Highlights; beautiful empty beaches, dense jungle with many butterflies, birds, and monkeys.

The western part of the island is significantly quieter, there are small villages with smallish hotels and restaurants but nothing compared to Abraão or Japariz, it’s a great area for a relaxing romantic holiday or honeymoon. We stopped to swim at every beach on the way. Highly recommend trying a traditional Brazilian dessert – acai, a typical Brazilian dessert made from the fruit (berries) of the acai palm. The berries are mashed into the pulp and frozen. It’s served it with granola, chocolate (any other) syrup, bananas, and other fruit. Sitio Forte might be a good place to stay if you want to explore this side of the island.

Sítio Forte – Praia Grande de Araçatiba, T-6

    • Distance; 6km, one way
    • Required time; 2-3 hours
    • Difficulty level; easy
  • Highlights; mussel farms, Longa waterfall (short detour), several unspoiled beaches, Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon).

From Sitio Forte there are two routes; one goes directly to Araçatiba (6km) and another makes a loop and goes to Araçatiba through Lagoa Verde (8km) if you have time we’d recommend to take the second option. Lagoa Verde is less popular for snorkeling than Lagoa Azul, maybe because it’s further away from Abraão, we stopped here for two hours swimming and snorkeling and didn’t see any other person. Araçatiba is another good option to stay and explore the island, it’s bigger than Sitio Forte or Bananal. You can get here by boat from Angra dos Reis (mainland).

Lagoa Verde, hiking on Ilha Grande
Beautiful Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon) on the way to Araçatiba

Praia Grande de Araçatiba – Gruta de Acaiá, T-7

    • Distance; 11km, return. There is no accommodation option at Gruta.
    • Required time; 4-5 hours, depending how much time you want to spend in the cave
    • Difficulty level; medium
  • Highlights; quiet beaches, Acaiá cave

This is a return hike to a spectacular cave Acaiá the sunlight that comes through the creek reflects in the water. The entrance to the cave is BAR20, paid cash. The route goes partly through the jungle, partly past hidden beaches where you can stop for swimming and snorkeling. According to some sources, the trail is not marked very well, especially the part from Praia Vermelha to the cave. We can’t say anything about it, we didn’t walk this trail because It was off the circular route.

Praia Grande de Araçatiba – Provetá, T-8

    • Distance; 4,7km, one way
    • Required time; 2-2,5 hours
    • Difficulty level; medium
  • Highlights; beautiful forest walk, many animals; monkeys, squirrels, birds, nice beach for swimming in Provetá

The trail starts and finishes at the beach, the rest of the time it goes over the hills and through the jungles which gives hikers a great opportunity to spot some animals and birds. If you´re planning to continue walking from Provetá to Aventureiro beach we’d advise you to stop for rest and a refreshing swim before you start a steep and long ascend. Provetá is a small fishermen village with a nice beach from swimming.

Provetá – Aventureiro, T-9

    • Distance; 3,7km, one way
    • Required time; 2-2,5 hours
    • Difficulty level; difficult, 350m ascend from the beach with the subsequent descend all the way down to another beach.
  • Highlights; beautiful views from on the way up and down, Aventureiro beach

Aventureiro means “adventurer”, a very suitable name for this beach, the only way of getting here is on foot from Provetá over the mountains. Very few boats get a permit to go to Aventureiro beach, mostly cargo boats that bring supplies, the beach faces the open ocean, waves can get quite big, strong wind, current, etc. Aventureiro is a part of the protected area; long unspoiled beaches, huge boulders, lush jungle, many sea birds. There are a couple of rustic accommodations (cabins, camping) and one or two bar-restaurants – a very chilled vibe. Aventureiro as well is a popular surfing spot on Ilha Grande with a couple of surf school and board rental places. Sunrise at Aventureiro beach is spectacular.

Aventureiro beach, Ilha Grande
The small church surrounded by the jungle on Aventureiro beach

Abraão – Pouso, T-10

    • Distance; 6km, one way
    • Required time; 2,5-3 hours
    • Difficulty level; medium
  • Highlights; jungle scenery, many marmoset monkeys, Mangues beach, Pouso beach

A beautiful walk with several hills to conquer on the way, beautiful beaches, calm warm water, many bars and good chances to spot some animals in the jungle. It’s possible to walk one way and take a boat back to Abraão or as an option, you can stay at Mangues or Pouso beach there are several accommodation options here.

Pouso – Lopes Mendes, T-11

    • Distance; 2km, return. There is no accommodation options on the beach.
    • Required time; 40min. both ways
    • Difficulty level; easy
  • Highlights; Santo Antonio beach, Lopes Mendes beach, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Brazil

A nice and easy walk to one of the must-see beaches on Ilha Grande, Lopes Mendes is 3 km long white-sand beach surrounded by the jungle, palm trees and huge boulders, great place for taking photos, chilling with a cold drink (there are many vendors around) or even trying to ride the waves (if you there are any). The beach gets quite busy but because it’s very long you easily will be able to find a quiet spot, far from the crowds. On the way to Lopes Mendes, you can visit another smaller beach, Santo Antonio. To walk here from Abraão will take about 3 hours.

Famous Lopes Mendes beach, Ilha Grande
Famous Lopes Mendes beach, Ilha Grande

Pouso – Farol dos Castelhanos, T-12

    • Distance; 24km, return
    • Required time; 7-8 hours
    • Difficulty level; difficult
  • Highlights; several beautiful beaches on the way, Castelhanos lighthouse

The scenery on this trail and at the lighthouse is apparently stunning, we can’t say anything about it as we didn’t walk this route, it isn’t a part the circuit route and we didn’t have enough time to walk any extra routes in the island. It looks like you need a guide and a special permit to be allowed in the lighthouse it’s better to find out about it at the tourist information office in Abraão. This part of Ilha Grande is probably the most isolated and less touristy, there view over the area from the lighthouse is spectacular, there are several beautiful beaches on the way.

Abraão – Pico do Papagaio, T-13

    • Distance; 18km, return.
    • Required time; 6-7 hours
    • Difficulty level; difficult
  • Highlights; jungle, wildlife, stunning views from the Papagaio peak.

This is probably the toughest hiking route on the island, with the altitude gain about 900m, as a reward you get stunning views over the island from the top so it’s worth the effort. Make sure to start the trek early in the morning before it gets too hot, take enough water and some snacks with there will be no places to get food on the way. This route is probably the only one on the island that doesn’t go through or to any beaches.

Sunrise Ilha Grande Brazil
Early morning on Ilha Grande, a perfect time to start hiking

Abraão – Vila de Dois Rios, T-14

    • Distance; 7km, one way.
    • Required time; 2,5-3 hours
    • Difficulty level; difficult
  • Highlights; Curva da Morte viewpoint, the Soldiers’ swimming pool, Dois Rios beach

The route goes through the forest, with several ascends and descends on the way, a natural swimming pool somewhere in the middle and not many places to stop for food in between.

We didn’t walk this trail from Dois Rios we continued our circuit along the coast to Caxadaço. The village itself looked a bit shabby, the beach was nice but it didn’t look like a great place to stay for the night so we decided to go on. The walk is quite tough once at Dois Rios you can take a boat to Abraão instead of walking back.

Dois Rios – Caxadaço, T-15

    • Distance; 8,6km, return
    • Required time; 3-4 hours
    • Difficulty level; medium
  • Highlights; jungle, Caminho das Pedras (Stone Road), Praia do Caxadaço (very small)

A nice walk through remote areas of the island through the jungle to a small Caxadaço beach, there is nothing there, even the beach is so small that in high tide it gets completely covered. There are some lookouts from the rocks surrounding the beach but in general, there is not much to do. Make sure to take water and snack with there is nowhere to stop on the way.

Dois Rios – Parnaioca, T-16

    • Distance; 7,8km, one way
    • Required time; 2,5-3 hours
    • Difficulty level; medium
  • Highlights; beautiful jungle walk, Parnaioca waterfall, Parnaioca beach

Another off the beaten path area of Ilha Grande, the trail goes through the lush jungle, past some impressive rock formations to untouched Parnaioca beach. We really liked the beach and wished we had more time and could stop there for the night. There are a couple of campsites and bungalows at the beach.

Jungle trail, Ilha Grande
Hiking through the jungle on Ilha Grande

Ilha Grande long-distance hikes 

Ilha Grande circuit – 70km, 5-7 days

We walked around Ilha Grande in 5 days. It wasn’t enough, you need at least a week to have enough time to explore the island. You need more time to fully appreciate the scenery, hidden beaches, beautiful sunsets, amazing jungle, to enjoy swimming, to chill in the hammock and to visit more places on the way. Unfortunately for us, we had only 5 days and two options; to do the hike in 5 days and we’re very happy we decided to walk it, the route is well-worth time and effort. 

The hike is quite popular in Brazil but not that famous among foreign tourists, it’s difficult to find any information in English, hopefully, our article is helpful and will inspire more people to walk the circuit. 

Trail markers on Ilha Grande, Brazil
Walking trail on Ilha Grande is well-marked

Day 1. Abraão – Bananal, 14km

Abraão – Feiticeira – Japariz – Saco do Céu – Freguesia de Santana – Bananal, 14km with breaks for swimming, eating and resting it took 8 hours.

We started our first day around 10am, it’s better to start earlier to walk as much as possible before it gets too hot but packing and doing last-minute shopping took some time. From the first till the last day the scenery is very similar, jungles and beaches, ups and downs, amazing views from the top, small waterfalls, bamboo forests, caves, and lagoons.

After 15 minutes walk from Abraão you’ll find an aqueduct. This part of the route is quite busy, all tourists walk to the waterfall, 30min. away from the ruins. The waterfall is small with a pool in front and could be a nice place if it wasn’t for the crowd, we hardly could see it, tourists were everywhere, easily can be skipped on weekends.

After the waterfall we found ourselves practically alone on the trail, on the beaches, there were still people (majority got there by boats) but none walking through the jungle.

From the waterfall, we went to Feiticeira beach for a short swim, ate acai and continued walking.

The next beach on our way was Saco de Céu, beautiful beach, soft white sand, crystal clear water, few people. If you stay in the water for a short while small fishes will start peeling your feet, a very nice feeling after walking a lot.

After one more hour walk, we arrived at Japariz beach our least favorite beach on Ilha Grande. For some reason many people come here for a day visit, the beach gets very crowded and noisy. Loud music, many vendors, bars and boats everywhere, can easily be passed by, there will be plenty of nice unspoiled beaches for the next 4 or 5 days.

The last beach before our camping place was Freguesia de Santana nice beach, it was too late for us to stop for swimming and chilling out there so we just kept walking to Bananal.

Between Freguesia and Bananal there is a place called Lagoa Azul (Blue Lagoon) – it’s a very popular place for snorkeling if you have time you can enjoy its calm water and snorkel in the lagoon. You don’t need a boat to get there (some locals will assure you do), just swim out about 50m from the shore. We chose for snorkeling another lagoon Lagoa Verde, near Araçatiba.

Right after the sunset we got to Bananal, our first try to find a campsite wasn’t successful. We were told there was no camping in Bananal, don’t believe it, not everybody knows about camping. Local fishermen pointed us to a place called Casa de Cristina (Cristina’s house). In a backyard of her house, you can pitch a tent, she charges BRL20/US$6 per person. For this money, you get access to the toilet, cold water shower, kitchen with utensils. Tap water says to be drinkable, we drank it and had no problem but if you have sensitive stomach LifeStraw might be a great option for you to stay safe and healthy on the hike. 

Small Bay, Ilha Grande hiking
Small picturesque bay on the way to Japariz

Day 2. Bananal – Araçatiba, 14km

Bananal – Matariz – Sitio Forte – Lagoa Verde – Araçatiba, 14km

A day of pristine beaches and calm sea.

The first part from Bananal to Sitio Forte, 2 hours, constant ups and downs with a couple of nice empty beaches on the way: Jaconema, Matariz, where you can relax, refresh in the sea and eat some acai in one of the local cafes.

Once in Sitio Forte you can go straight to Araçatiba or make a loop and go first to snorkel in Lagoa Verde (green lagoon), it’s about an hour walk. Lagoa Verde is a very nice place, warm clear water, sand bottom, many small fishes mostly around big stones, it’s better to arrive late afternoon, after 4pm there will be none, earlier can be tourist boats and people.

From Lagoa Verde to Araçatiba 2 more hours walk through the jungle, it was the first time we heard howler monkeys on the island. There is one camping in Araçatiba, just a private house with sand yard used as a camping area, BRL20/US$6 per person. It has a hot shower, toilet, no kitchen, electricity (only at night) and one outside outlet. Ask about the camping at the church, it’s right on the beach. We really liked Araçatiba and could spend one more day there just chilling out and swimming, it’s a very quiet place with few tourists, a couple of shops and pizza places.

Many beaches on the hike around Ilha Grande
Walking past countless empty beaches on the circuit

Day 3. Araçatiba – Aventureiro, 8,5km

Araçatiba – Proveta – Aventureiro, 8,5km, about 4,5-5 hours.

The next morning we went from Araçatiba to Proveta, 2 hours walk, up from one beach through the jungle and down to the other beach. Here you have typical scenery, flora, and fauna: monkeys, spiders, squirrels, butterflies, and even one armadillo. Proveta is a small sleepy fisherman village, with a nice beach for swimming. A good place to rest a bit before next up and following down to Aventureiro, the most difficult up on the hike (long, steep and partly no shadow). Don’t forget to refill your water it’ll be very hot up there!

Up and down from Proveta to Aventureiro took us about 2-2,5 hours. Once at the beach you can relax a bit and catch your breath before starting looking for camping. Actually, there are plenty of them. We stayed at Lucciano’s camping, BRL20/US$6 per person (the cheapest we found). It has a kitchen, toilets (with toilet paper and free condoms), electricity but no outlets, again we drank tap water and had no problem. Aventureiro is one of our favorite beaches on the island, powder-like white sand, mountains covered with jungles around. It can be a bit windy and there are some waves, maybe not that comfortable for swimming.

Aventureiro is a surf beach, you can rent a board there, probably to find an instructor won’t be a problem. Very chilled out place, luckily you can’t get there by boat (waves), no day visitors and loud music on the beach. Keep in mind the only way out of there is walking! By the way, don’t forget to walk to the beach after dark and check the beautiful night sky. Again we could have easily stayed here longer, wonderful beach.

Proveta, Ilha Grande, Brazil
Proveta village and beach

Day 4. Aventureiro – Santo Antonio, 25km 

Avetureiro – Parnaioca – Dois Rios – Caxadaço – Santo Antonio, 25km.

Day of beautiful scenery, empty beaches and a bit of a drama by the end.

This day we started very early, quick broke our tent, packed and left without breakfast and the reason was we wanted to walk through the National Reserve territory. Actually, you are not supposed to do it without a guide and permit. In fact, you can arrange both in Angra dos Reis but it’s kind of complicated and expensive. On the official map, there is no path between Aventureiro and Parnaioca but the path exists and it’s very clear. During the season (January, February) there can be rangers on the beach but offseason there is none watching, so it’s easy to slip past.

The walk from Aventureiro to Parnaioca is absolutely beautiful, unspoiled beaches, dense jungle, huge trees, caves, and a fresh sea breeze. We stopped at one of the beaches to eat our takeaway breakfast and enjoy the scenery.

After 2 hours we reached Parnaioca, camping village, with a chapel, cemetery, a couple of campsites and a small waterfall. If you don’t have food you can buy here cooked meals. Certain time of the day they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner at campings. The beach is like most beaches on Ilha Grande very nice, with soft white sand, big rocks on the edge of the water and jungle around, a nice place to chill out a day or two.

And now a bit of a drama at the end of the day, we got lost in the jungle at night. How it happened; we were planning to camp in Dois Rios village. But when we got there we found out there was no camping. The village itself looked a bit strange we didn’t like it that much, it was still early and we decided to keep walking through Caxadaço to Lopes Mendes beach. We arrived at Caxadaço about 5pm, the beach is tiny and when the high tide is completely covered with the water. We still had an hour or so before the dark and kept walking to Lopes Mendes. 

Officially there is no path from Caxadaço to Lopes, it’s some kind of military area but in fact, the path just continues and we continued with it. It was about 5km to Lopes Mendes we tried to walk very fast but anyway didn’t make it before the dark. In the jungle under the trees, it gets dark even before 6pm. At some stage we lost the path, our only torch didn’t really illuminate anything, we had to go back and luckily found the way. After 20 more minutes, we found a signboard saying 200m to the beach and followed it. It wasn’t Lopes Mendes but we didn’t care about it we just wanted to find a place for camping. Our night walk through the jungle was accompanied by scaring sounds, loud growling, it was nothing more than harmless howler monkeys preparing for the night.

We camped at Santo Antonio beach, under a big fruit tree with small bats flying around, “hunting” for fruit and owls hunting for the bats. If you decide to camp on the beach make sure you pitch your tent far enough from the water otherwise high tide can surprise you.

Hiking from Aventureiro to Parnaioca
Walking from Aventureiro to Parnaioca beach, non-official trail

Day 5. Santo Antonio – Abraão, 8km

Santo Antonio – Lopes Mendes – Pouso – Palmas – Abraão, 8km

The next morning we woke up quite early to break our tent before anybody arrived, our beach in daylight looked very nice for sunbathing but not for swimming due to shallow and constant waves. After breakfast, we went to our last night destination Lopes Mendes beach, one of the most beautiful beaches either in the region or in all Brazil there are different opinions on it.

The beach is beautiful long and wide, with soft white sand, jungle on the background and big rocks on both sides but quite busy due to its fame.

We spent there some time and then continued through Pouso and Mangues beaches, both are very nice, clear water, no waves. Mangues is more commercial and developed, with bars-restaurants, hotels, hostels, and campsites. The cheapest room option (bed in a dorm) is BRL30/US$8 per person.

Before going back to Abraão we visited one more beach, Palmas, a few minutes walk from Mangues, one more nice beach, smaller than two previous, kind of secret beach with few people.

Other two multi-day hiking routes basically repeat the circuit, you can stop at the same places and follow the same route except for Abraão – Parnaioca that goes the other way around.

Abraão – Aventureiro; 44km, 2-4 days. Remember there is no transport (boats) options from Aventureiro, in order to get to Abraão first you’ll have to walk back to Provetá from where you can catch a boat back to Abraão.

Abraão – Parnaioca; 23km, 2 days. Not a very challenging walk, after finishing in Parnaioca you can stay there for a day or two or take a boat back to Abraão.

Pouso beach, hiking Ilha Grande, Brazil
Pouso beach Ilha Grande, Brazil

What animals can you see on Ilha Grande?

Since the big part of your walk is through the jungle you have a good chance to see some animals and birds. In 5 days we saw: many marmoset and howler monkeys, squirrels, one armadillo, many lizards, owls, bats, parrots, vultures, different tropical birds, hummingbirds, many spiders with their huge webs all over the jungle and butterflies. On the official web page, it says you can also see sloths, we weren’t that lucky, and they warn you about poison snakes, we were lucky enough not to see any.

marmoset monkey, Pouso beach, Ilha Grande
Very cute marmoset monkey, near Pouso beach, Ilha Grande

What will you need for hiking?

For both day hikes and multi-day treks you’ll need;

    • comfortable shoes for walking (we walked the circuit in flip-flops because our shoes were destroyed after hiking in Torres del Paine and some other places in Patagonia. Walking in flip-flops was uncomfortable but doable.
    • clothes for walking and sleeping
  • map, we had a paper map of the route it helped to know the names of the places and to see the route but often used app Maps.me it has all the trails marked including ones that officially don’t exist (very handy for the circuit). 

If you’re planning to do a circuit or a multi-day hike you have two options; staying in hotels and guesthouses on the way or camping. Camping is much cheaper but you’ll have to carry your own camping gear.

    • cooking set (if you are going to cook, in most places, except wild beaches, you can buy ready meals)
    • toilet paper
  • plastic bag (for rubbish)

Hiking around Ilha Grande is one of our favorite routes in South America and we definitely recommend it. So if you like beaches but don’t like spending days sunbathing, on the island you have a very good chance to combine a beach holiday with hiking. We really enjoyed the hike and hope you’ll enjoy it as well!

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13 Comments

  1. Emma Westmoreland

    Hi,
    Me and my husband are traveling to a Ilha Grande with outlet thirteen year old son in August 19. We enjoy walking but have never done what I’d call proper hiking please can you tell me what kind of footwear we would require for the shorter routes, would trainers be ok or will they be soaking wet? Don’t really want to buy walking boots.
    Thank you
    Emma

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Emma! We walked around the island for 5 days wearing flip-flops as most of the time you walk on the beach we started in our shoes but it was too much of a mission to take them off and put them on every time we hit a beach. The only route you might need shoes is the Pico do Papagaio it’s probably the toughest route on the island because it involves a steep a long ascend to the top and then descend back. I’m sure the trainers will be fine. Your shoes might get wet if it rains so I’d suggest checking the weather forecast before going on a hike.
      Enjoy your time on Ilha Grande!

  2. MATHIEU AUGER

    Hi,
    planning the same trek but got questions. At what time did you wake up and arrived at destination each day ? I’m more curious about day 1 and day 5 as I’m planning the boat in/out of the island.

    Matt

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hello, Matt! 1st day we started a bit late it took some time to repack our luggage, buy some food, get a map etc. at about 11am, the last day we finished early before noon.
      Cheers!

  3. Fabio Mendonça

    Wow what i great post. Even me that is Carioca. I love Ilha Grande and for me the diving and the Parrot Peak hike are amazing attractions in the island. Big hugs from Rio de Janeiro.

  4. Thank you soooo much for this blog post, you have inspired me to try a similar route! I appreciate your detailed route descriptions.

    Do you think it is safe for a solo female to do these trails alone? What about hanging out on the beach & snorkeling, do you think my stuff would be safe while I’m in the water?

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hi, Steph! Thank you for your comment! The island felt quite safe and I’d hike alone there. Considering snorkeling and leaving your stuff on the beach, we took turns, one staying with our backpacks and one snorkeling, with swimming it’s easier just put your stuff the way you can see it and it must be fine but always keep an eye on, you never know.
      Good luck!

    • Hi Steph. Did you end up hiking on your own on the trails of Ilha Grande? Was it safe? I am planning to do it solo as well and was interested in how it worked out for you. tnx 🙂 I’m also a solo female traveler.

  5. Hi there,
    I have a small question, if you do this hike can you also book hostels/ hotels in stead of camp? We are not bringing camping gear with us.

    Also amazing blog! I’m going to travel around South America from july and will have a look at a lot of your blogs in the meantime for hiking tips etc. Really nice that you are sharing all this handy info!

    • Stingy Nomads

      Hi, Hanneke! Thank you for reading our blog! There are hotels all around the island not sure if most of them are on booking or hostelworld. We saw hostels only in Abraao but there must be some sort of budget accommodation options, on some beaches locals rent rooms in their houses, just ask around. Having a tent was quite handy for hiking in South America by the way, you can buy relatively cheap tents in Peru and Bolivia.
      If you have any questions we’ll be happy to answer!
      Good luck!

      • Hi,
        Thank you for the reply! I’ve decided to buy a tent after all. As you said having a tent is probably quite handy in South America. Only thing is I have to carry it everywhere by myself (my bf is not joining me after Brasil). Better start training my back I guess…

        • Stingy Nomads

          You can buy a one-person tent, it’s smaller and lighter and when you finish with hiking and camping you always can try to sell it to one of the second-hand shops or someone in a hostel. We didn’t have a tent in the beginning and bought it only when got to Peru as we wanted to hike on our own and it was well worth of money.
          Good luck with your South America journey!

  6. Vadim Petrov

    We visited Ilha Grande last year. The island is very wonderful. I highly recommend it

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