Paraty or Ilha grande

Choosing between Paraty or Illha Grande

Having recently spent some time getting much-needed RNR in these two lovely locations a few hours south of Rio I thought it was fitting to write down my thoughts on each location. Both are located within three hours of each other, so they are easily accessible for those who have time to visit both. For those who have more limited time, this article should help you choose which one is more for your taste and the better option on a limited trip. Each has their own quirks and difference making them unique locations, they are also both pretty small allowing for them to be discovered in a short number of days.

Ilha Grande:

This island is located a one-hour boat ride off the coast of Brazil and it is a true island paradise with no motorised vehicles allowed on the island meaning you either walk or take a taxi boat around the island. For the true beach lover and occasional hiker, the island has a lot to offer its visitors.

Vila do Abraao is where you will disembark and find most of the accommodation, tour and food options on the island although there are a few other smaller community areas where you will find some nice accommodation. Tours and hiking are the two main activities on the beach with many to discover including the amazing Lopez Mendez, either an easy boat-taxi or a strenuous 2-hour jungle hike.

The boat tours take you around the island discovering many hidden beaches and snorkel locations, or you can take a snorkel/diving tour for those wanting a little more fun and excitement on the boat. Not the cheapest of locations, but islands rarely are. If you love nature and the beach this is the one for you.


Located a further two hours south of Ilha Grande is the colonial town of Paraty. This has a more South American feel, with its colonial square, cobbled streets and laid-back feel. One of the main draws to this town is watching how the high tide slowly invades the old colonial area and puts parts of the town underwater.

This area of the old town is quite small and most of the beaches are located either a bus or car ride away but expect these to be almost empty and equally as beautiful as any other location along the coast of Brazil.

Taking a boat ride on any of the many colourful boats is a beautiful way to watch the sunset with a group or significant other. Paraty is for those who want to move a little slower and don’t mind putting in a little extra work for incredible beaches and relaxing experiences. Similiar to these locations.

As I have already said both locations are located quite close together, so you can easily visit both, but it is not necessary if you have had your fill with beaches, there will be plenty more opportunities throughout Brazil. There are extensive public transport networks in throughout the region so getting form A to B should be of little trouble.