Once notorious for its penal colony and quarantine hospital, this island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro is now renowned for its pristine, protected rainforest and beautiful beaches. The largest village on Ilha Grande, Vila do Abraao, which is where the ferry from the mainland deposits visitors, contains a range of accommodation options as well as several restaurants. The island is an extremely rich ecosystem, and its numerous endangered species, including the brown howler monkey and the maned sloth, can occasionally be observed on some of the 93 mi/150 km of hiking trails that wind through its rain forest.
There are no ATMs on the island, so take cash as some of the hotels and restaurants do not accept credit cards. There are no paved roads or cars on Ilha Grande, so be prepared to hike to beaches outside of Vila de Abraao.
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