I booked my trip with Packtours, and booked up the Pousada Do Canto which is at the end of the beach in Abbroa on the Island.
Packtours organised a minibus/taxi to pick me up from my hotel, and drove me down to the Ferry at Angra. The mini bus took about 2 1/2 hrs to get down there. The views on the way down differed a lot, from the shanty towns of rio to the lovely beach houses on the way down near the Ilha Grande.
The ferry cost about 2 english pounds, and left at 3.30 in the afternoon. It took about 1 1/2 hrs to get to Abbroa.
I then walked along the beach to find my Pousada. Nice room with air conditioning, a fan, and a mosquito killer plug in device (and yes it was useful), along with a mini bar, nice shower, and outside swimming pool, but the best bit was the Pousada was right on the beach.
I only stayed on the island for three nights, and ate in a different restaurant each night, the prices were very reasonable, and the food ok. The night life is low key, don't forget August is spring time in the Ilha Grande. Most nights were spent drinking at the local bars in front of the main square after eating. The locals seem to congregate around the main square, and there was a little party going on on the beach, with a local lad playing the guitar, and some people dancing.
What a difference the Ilha Grande was from Rio, No one tried to get you to buy anything, people let you browse in the shops, and asked you only if you needed help. There were price tags on most things. There was no pressure selling like in Rio. My Pousada also didnt have a safe in it, I dont think any of them do. It was a very relaxing, and very friendly place.
I went on two trips, the first one was to the beach Lopez Mendes... wow.. I got one of the local schooners, not very expensive at all, which left at 11:30 (they also go at various different times of the morning) to drive me round to the beach near Lopez Mendez then it was a good 25 minute walk to Lopez Mendes.. yes it is worth the walk.. the beach is absolutely stunning. The sand feels like chalk under your feet, and the beach is about 2 miles long. The beach is backed by the Atlantic rain forest, and cocunut trees. I went on a friday, and there couldnt of been more than 300 people on this two miles of beach. It is easily the best beach I have been on, and I have been to lots in Europe.
The next day I booked up to go on another schooner trip to the Blue Lagoon, and a couple of other beaches.
I forgot it was a Saturday, so all the people from miles around obviously went to the Ilha Grande. Anyway I was one of two british people on this schooner of must of been about 100 Brazilians. Me and the other British guy sat near the back of the boat, anyway as soon as the boat sat sail, the brasilians were out with their vodka, cans of beer, and really going for it... there was a good atmosphere on the boat, with a bit of a party atmopsphore... anyway we anchored off of Scare do Coe (spelling something like that) for a swim off the boat, and for a swim to the beach, then it was back on board and off to the blue lagoon, where i swam with lots of fishes. it really is a nice place to go and see. Then we stopped of on the way back at another jetty, and at another lovely beach. There are so many of those on the Ilha Grande, apparently one for every day of the year.
The brazilian people on board were great fun, especially as I only spoke pidgeon spanish, and a very little portugueese. They all tried to speak English which was great as there were only two of us English speaking people on board. The captain made all the anouncements as well in English if he remembered, and came up to shake our hands at the end, along with a lot of the other Brazilians.
The slow ferry went at 10am the next morning, again the fare was very cheap... it was great going at a very slow pace.. yes there were lots of people offering you faster boats over to the mainland, and a taxi to your hotel in Rio if you wanted.
But Packtours had arranged a taxi to pick me up, and it was there waiting for me at the dock for my trip back to rio.
I enjoyed my trip to the Ilha Grande, Lopez Mendes is really a stunning beach. The pace of life is slow, and relaxing. I could of done with more days on the Ilha GRande, oh well perhaps next time. I also think the Island is a little treasure, there were lots of other things I wanted to do, but didnt have chance to do them. Although I'm 47, most of the people on the island were younger than I was.
By the way bring a jumper for the evening.