Off the southwest coast of Rio de Janeiro sits the undiscovered gem of Ihla Grande. With no cars, paved roads or even banks, this ecological paradise gives new meaning to the word “untouched”. It boasts more than 100 beaches, including the spectacular Praia de Lopes Mendes, as well as pristine lagoons, waterfalls and mountain peaks. The entire island is protected, and its Atlantic rainforest is home to several endangered species, including the red-browed Amazon parrot and the maned sloth. Ihla Grande dates back to 1502 with an intriguing history, and one of the most fascinating sights to see is the ruins of the Cândido Mendes prison. Or simply meander through the town center, Vila do Abraão, and visit some of the local Brazilian restaurants and bars.
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