Ihla Grande – home to Brazil’s most beautiful beach 2


Lopes Mendes Beach, on Ihla Grande, is often said to be Brazil’s most beautiful beach. And Brazil, you’d imagine, would have some pretty good contenders for the title.

As an Australian I love a good beach. I could feel Lopes Mendes Beach calling out to me like a siren’s song. I couldn’t resist.

Ihla Grande

Ihla Grande, Brazil

Photo credit: Benjamin White

Ihla Grande was once a leper colony, and after that a high-security prison. Not a good start, but its years of exclusion has kept the island wild and unpopulated. Today there are around 5,000 people living on the island; the majority in the town of Vila do Abraão.

Vila do Abraão, Ihla Grande, Brazil

Vila do Abraão. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Ihla Grande falls within the Tamoios Environmental Protection Area. There are no cars, and no roads. Access around the island is by sea or by foot.

Viewpoint on the hike to Lopes Mendes Beach, Ihla Grande, Brazil

Viewpoint on the hike to Lopes Mendes Beach. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Accommodation is mostly low-key, and scattered along the various beaches on the island.

From Vila do Abraão – if that is where you are staying – it is a two hour trek to reach Lopes Mendes Beach.

Lopes Mendes Beach

Lopes Mendes Beach, Ihla Grande, Brazil

Lopes Mendes Beach. Photo credit: Benjamin White

Assessment:

Sand: white.

Water: clear.

Backdrop: jungle vegetation.

Other outstanding features: none, really.

Overall verdict: it’s a decent beach, not as empty and remote as I was hoping, and the jungle-covered hills that surround it not quite as lushly jungle-covered as I was expecting.

It’s a beautiful beach, but I couldn’t really find anything that made it stand out from the crowd.

Lopes Mendes Beach, Ihla Grande, Brazil

Photo credit: Benjamin White

But Australians are spoilt when it comes to beaches. Lopes Mendes is a brilliant beach, and Ihla Grande is a great spot for a relaxing escape.


Practical information:

From Rio de Janeiro you need to make your way to the towns of Mangaratiba or Jacarei (approximately two to three hours by bus), from where you can board a ferry to Vila do Abraão.


More on Brazil:

Rio de Janeiro – the Marvellous City

Iguazu Falls – greatest cascades on Earth


More stunning beaches:

Anse Source d’Argent, La Digue, Seychelles

Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica

Kilili Beach, Saipan

Secret Lagoon Beach, El Nido, Philippines

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2 thoughts on “Ihla Grande – home to Brazil’s most beautiful beach

  • Karen White

    It looks pretty good from the photos. It seems a bit of a trek to get there and I suppose that’s what you wanted – an isolated beach. Australians are a bit spoilt for beautiful beaches we take them for granted.
    Kazzieandkitty