To reach Ilha Grande you first travel by road, either to Mangaratiba, Conceição de Jacareí, or Angra dos Reis, and then by ferry, private schooner, or water taxi over to the island. Which point you depart from depends on where you're staying. If you're staying in or near the village of Abraão, then Conceição de Jacareí is probably the best bet, as the private schooner Saveiro Andéa offers four departures daily (six on Fri) and the trip is only 50 minutes. A large public ferry also travels from Mangaratiba and Angra dos Reis to Abraão on Ilha Grande. From Mangaratiba the ferry departs at 8am, while Angra dos Reis has an afternoon departure, either 3:30pm (weekdays) or 1:30pm (weekends). Angra is the larger town, the only one of three with banks and other services. Angra also has a number of private water taxis which offer transfers to pousadas spread out on the island. If you're staying in a pousada on the western half of the island, the water taxi likely departs from Angra.
By Bus -- From Rio de Janeiro, Costa Verde (tel. 024/3371-1326; www.costaverdetransportes.com.br) has approximately hourly departures to Mangaratiba, Conceição de Jacareí, and Angra dos Reis (it's the same bus) from Rio's main bus station (Novo Rio) starting at 4am and ending at 9pm. Cost is R$31. The trip takes to Angra takes about 2 1/2 hours, to Mangaratiba and Conceição de Jacareí a little less. Tip: If you're planning to get off at Conceição de Jacareí, let the bus driver know when you board the bus. That way he'll stop and call out when you arrive. From São Paulo, Reunidas Paulista (tel. 0300/210-3000; www.reunidaspaulista.com.br) has four departures per day to Angra from the Tietê station, at 8am, 12:15pm, 4pm, and 10pm. The trip takes 7 hours and costs R$57.
By Private Transfer -- Paraty Tours (tel. 024/3371-2651; www.paratytours.com.br) offers private transfers from Rio de Janeiro with set times for a minimum of two people at 8:30am, 12:30pm, and 5pm. Airport pickups anytime between 8:30am and 5pm. Travel time is about 2 1/2 hours. Rates per person are R$125. For three people or more you can set your own pickup time.
By Ferry -- From Angra dos Reis, Barcas S.A. (tel. 0800/704-4113; www.barcas-sa.com.br) has one departure a day, at 3:30pm on weekdays, and 1:30pm on weekends. The return trip from Ilha Grande to Angra departs at 10am. From Mangaratiba, the ferry departs at 8am daily (with one extra 10pm sailing on Fri). The return ferry to Mangaratiba departs at 5:30pm daily. For both routes, cost is R$14 one-way, R$25 return, and the trip takes about 80 minutes.
By Private Schooner -- The private schooner Saveiro Andréa (tel. 021/9744-0732 or 024/8826-3809) makes four trips daily between Conceição de Jacareí on the mainland and Vila do Abraão on Ilha Grande. From Conceição de Jacareí, the boat departs at 9, 11:30am, 3pm, and 6:15pm, with two extra sailings on Fridays at 6:45pm and 9pm. From Vila do Abraão, the ship departs at 7:30, 10am, 1, and 5pm. Cost is R$15 each way, travel time is 50 minutes.
From Angra dos Reis, the schooner Saveiro Resta 1 (tel. 024/3365-6436) departs for Abraão at 8am weekdays, 7:30, 11am, and 4pm weekends. Going the other way, the boat departs at 5pm weekdays, 9:30am, 1, and 5pm weekends. Also from Angra dos Reis, the schooner Saveiro Samurai (tel. 024/3361-5920) departs for Abraão daily at 5pm. Journeys from Abraão to Angra take place in the morning, daily at 10am. Cost is R$10 to R$15 depending on the departure time, and the trip takes 90 minutes.
A new service, the Catamaran IGT (tel. 024/3365-6426 or 3361-5500), departs Angra dos Reis for the island daily at 8, 10:45am, and 4pm, and departs Vila do Abraão for Angra at 9am, 12:30pm, and 5pm. Cost is R$25. Time is 45 minutes.
Note: This being Brazil, schooner departure times, locations, and fares are subject to change at unpredictable intervals. Always call to confirm (or ask your pousada for the latest information).
By Water Taxi -- Numerous smaller boats make the trip to Ilha Grande, either to ferry passengers to pousadas on more isolated beaches or to take visitors on day trips. Transfers on these smaller boats is normally R$50 per person, with a minimum of four people. To find a skipper, ask at your pousada, or try the Associação dos Barqueiros de Angra (Boat Captains' Association of Angra; tel. 024/3365-3165) or the Associação dos Barqueiros da Ilha Grande (tel. 024/3361-5920).
The town of Abraão is easily walkable, and there are numerous trails on the island.
There are no banks on Ilha Grande. Some pousadas and restaurants accept credit cards, but its best to check beforehand, and bring enough cash to cover your stay. The police are located in Vila do Abraão (tel. 024/3365-1635).
Though there is no official Ilha Grande tourism bureau, a number of websites have useful information about Ilha Grande. These include www.ilhagrande.org; www.ilhagrande.com; and www.ilhagrande.com.br. They provide general tourist information as well as suggestions on hotels, tours, and excursions.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.