Ilha Grande is the biggest and most well known island of the Green Bay at about 150 km/93 mi in the west-side of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro, commonly known as Rio, is the capital city of the Rio de Janeiro State, the second largest city of Brazil and the third largest metropolitan area in South America. Since July 2012, part of the city has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in the category of ''cultural landscape''.
In the past, the island housed Indians, hospitals, pirates and until recently enough, in 1994, it was a jail. Up to then and a little after, prison’s operation ceased and the area was inhabited only by local families. However, it took no much time for the tourists to discover this paradise and admire its beauties.
Bearing in mind that there are no cars or even banks (you need to have your cash with you from the mainland) in the island, this ”primitive” situation will make you feel the sense of exoticism of the area.
The island’s main village is Vila Abrao, but it is actually famous for its numerous magnificent beaches, including Praia Lopes Mendes (voted as one of the 10 most beautiful beaches worldwide, by Vogue magazine), Parnaioca Beach (in which you may see remnants of the slave period of the island), Caxadaco Beach, Adventurer Beach and of course, Blue Lagoon.
This island is definitely among the first choices of any scuba-diving keener in the whole world. Turquoise, crystal waters, corals and reefs, wrecks of interest (Pinguino shipwreck or the helicopter wreck), as well as abundant tropical marine life make it a tempting destination for any kind of diver.
The water temperature ranges from 20 to 25°C (68-77°F) and the visibility varies from 6 to 20 m (20 to 66 ft). You have the chance to explore and enjoy Ilha Grande’s warm and fascinating waters covering all your expectations.