Ilha Grande, Big Island, is an unspoiled paradise a two-hour drive south of Rio de Janeiro. Waterfalls cascade from jungle covered mountains into an emerald ocean that surrounds 107 white-sand beaches. Discovered in 1503, it has a 193 sq. km. nature preserve where no cars or roads are allowed.

Saco do Céu. Take a boat to Saco do Céu, Sky Bay, a little bay aptly named because on new moon nights the sky is so clearly reflected in the waters that the stars appear to be floating.

Dois Rios village. Explore Dois Rios village, a two-hour walk from the main village of Abrao to the other side of the island. Besides its lovely beach with two pristine rivers, you can sense the battle won by tranquility by visiting the remains of Brazil's most notorious penitentiary, known as The Devil's Cauldron, now disappearing within the tendrils of the island's weeds.

Lopes Mendes. Another must to visit is Lopes Mendes beach. It is considered by many notable travel magazines as one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. It is the largest of the 107 beaches scattered throughout Ilha Grande. The waves along its three kilometers of thin white sand are a Mecca for surfers.

Lagoa Azul, The Blue Lagoon, Gruta do Acaiá, Acaiá Cave, Pico do Papagaio, Parrot’s Beak, Cachoeira da Feiticeira, Witch Falls, Cachadaço, Cachadaço Beach, Aventureiro, Adventurer Beach, are just a few of the many places to explore.

Abraão. The pleasant village of Abraão just a couple of minutes boat ride from Asalem, or a twenty-minute seaside walk, is the islands main village. There are shops, fine restaurants, a church, pharmacy, internet café and nightlife.

With the destruction of the prison, many are now looking to experience Ilha Grande’s otherwise untouched landscape. Strict laws and years of learning by example from other resorts have shaped Ilha Grande into an organized and responsible tourism location. Its hydrographic system is the only one in the state of Rio where the water flows from its source to the ocean untouched by human hands, providing pure water. That sort of purity exists all over the island, an environment to delight in.