View from one of Ilha Grande's beaches (photo by Simone Cannon)
Ilha Grande (pronounced illa-GRAN-zjee) is the largest of all the islands and an ecological preserve. Other than a handful of vehicles used by the police and military, there are no cars or trucks allowed on the island, so it retains its tranquil atmosphere despite the ever growing number of tourists who visit each year. We set off by bus for Angra Dos Reis with a German girl named Ina whom we had met in Rio. The bus ride took just under three hours, after which we connected to Ilha Grande by ferry, another hour and a half. The views from the boat were spectacular, a good sign of things to come.