Ilha Grande is a beautiful island not far from Rio’s coast. Many agencies in Rio offer boat trips to the island including snorkelling. We booked our trip with one of them as well.
Early in the morning we left Rio in a bus to get to the harbour. The boat was packed with people that have all booked the trip to Ilha Grande. Usually I hate these kind of trips but we thought it was the only affordable and easy way to get there from Rio. But we also didn’t inform ourselves about other possibilities.
Nevertheless, we tried to enjoy the boat trip and it was actually really good. The water had a beautiful tone of blue and we passed several small islands that looked like paradise.
We had some stops where we could jump into the water, swim and snorkel. There were swarms of colourful fish but other than that there wasn’t much to see underwater. On the boat there was a bar for drinks and a BBQ where we could buy snacks. Before getting to Ilha Grande we stopped at a small island where we had some time to walk around and discover the place.
When we arrived to Ilha Grande all the passengers went to a restaurant where lunch was included. Another thing that I don’t like: Those big buffets where tourists fill their plates until nothing else fits anymore and stuff food into their mouths as if they hadn’t eaten for days. The food was okay though and then we had some time to wander around before we left again.
The beach was really beautiful but it was disappointing that we didn’t have more time on the island. Also, it was quite late when we arrived there so the sun was almost gone when we finished eating.
Half an hour later we had to get on the boat again to make our way back. When we left the island, the sun was just about to set and we could enjoy the amazing sunset views from the boat.
In total the trip wasn’t bad, I’m just not a fan of those tourist boat trips. I’d definitely recommend to take a public boat to Ilha Grande and then explore it on your own. Like that you’re more flexible and you don’t have to stick to a given schedule or eat in a certain restaurant. Ilha Grande is quite big so it’s best to leave early in the morning to have enough time for exploration and to enjoy the beautiful nature and beaches.