Ilha Grande, Brazil Cruise Port
If you ever wondered what traveling to Rio de Janeiro would be like without the party atmosphere, then cruising to Ilha Grande, Brazil is the answer. Located off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, this largely undeveloped island has been both leper colony and prison in its less auspicious days; today, it's a popular tourist destination, known for its lush plant life, pristine beaches, and plenty of wildlife. Thanks to the lack of development here, the rainforest contains a vibrant ecosystem and the remains of many endangered species, such as the broad-snouted caiman, the maned sloth, and the red-browed Amazon parrot. Marine life is also protected here, and there are representatives from tropical, subtropical, and temperate zones (think coral, whales, and penguins). If ecotourism is at the top of your bucket list, then check out some of our favorite experiences for the cruise port of Ilha Grande, Brazil:
- If time allows and mountain climbing is part of your tour, then Pico da Pedra D'Água – the island's tallest peak at 3,383 feet – is a great starting point. Most of the mountain is within the Ilha Grande State Park, and because of the strict development regulations here, you'll find the land all but untouched.
- Ilha Grande is full of beaches, and Lopes Mendes Beach is considered one of the world's most beautiful. It takes a bit of a trek to get there, first by boat and then a hike through the forest. Once you're there, the powdery white sand and clear blue waters feel like paradise.
- A more active area for snorkeling instead of lying on the beach, Lagoa Verde (Green Lagoon) has clear waters and plenty of fish to encounter; it's one of the highlights of the island's northwest coast.
- Those who want to see gorgeous waterfalls have a couple of choices, but it will take some climbing to get there. The Cachoeira e Praia da Feiticeira is the shortest at about 50 feet high; the popular Pico do Papagaio (Parrot's Peak) is the second-highest mountain on the island and has many waterfalls, but requires a bigger time commitment.