Explore the sights of Ilha Grande
Colin Barraclough for The Boston Globe
Despite its proximity to Brazils major cities the nearest mainland port, Angra dos Rios, lies just 110 miles south of Rio de Janeiro Ilha Grande was long closed to visitors. It was only when local authorities dynamited the much-feared Cândido Mendes Penitentiary in 1994 that the island began slowly to open to tourism. The path from Abraão to Praia Lopes Mendes winds delightfully over a series of headlands, descending regularly to idyllic beaches, where amiable locals in beachside shacks sell grilled prawns and ice-cold beer.