On Ilha Grande, one of the most popular and cheapest activities is to take a boat to Praia Lopes Mendes. It’s considered the most beautiful beach on the island – a 3km stretch of white sand beach with strong waves.
For BRA$25, I took a normal boat from Vila do Abraão to Praia do Pouso. It took 45 minutes and passed parts of the island that were pure tropical rain forest. It also went past Praia das Palmas.
From Praia do Pouso, it was a 20 minute walk through the rain forest to Lopes Mendes. The walk can be difficult for some because there is a lot of uphill. It’s officially marked as T11 on the trail map of Ilha Grande.
Once at the beach, there are a few vendors selling sandwiches, snacks, and drinks. I dug into the sand and listened to the surf.
While the beach is not suitable for swimming, there were a lot of surfers out in the water. I could also get a clear view of the small uninhabited island of Jorge Grego just offshore. Legend has it that many years ago, a Greek ship sank near the island and only three people survived, the captain named Giorgios, his daughter, and his most trusted sailor. They lived on the island for a long time, but when Giorgios found out about a romance between his daughter and the sailor, he killed them in a fit of rage, went to a cliff, and dove into the sea.
I stayed on the beach for a few hours, hiked back to Praia do Pouso, had a fresh açaí from a vendor on Praia do Pouso, and jumped on the boat to return to Abraão. It was a nice, relaxing day.
It’s also possible to hike to Praia Lopes Mendes from Vila do Abraão. It takes a couple hours. I hiked to Praia do Pouso one day but didn’t go as far as Praia Lopes Mendes.