Be aware that the boat leaving for Ilha Grande from Mangaratiba (30 miles north of Angra dos Reis) only leaves when it's full. This means that during quieter times of the year, you could end up stuck in the harbour for a whole day! On top of that, the crossing takes an hour and a half. You would be better off taking a motor schooner from Conceiçao de Jacarei, in the direction of the town of Angra dos Reis. The journey from here takes just 40 minutes and these boats have a fixed timetable (departures at 11:30am, 2:00pm, and 5:00pm).
We recommend tasting two Brazilian dishes in particular, namely 'cozido' and 'feijoada', cooked with beans, rice, manioc flour, and meat. In this region, the latter is prepared with black beans, oranges, and dried meat. If you fancy something different, we also strongly recommend the Italian restaurants in the region, often offering good quality... You will also, of course, find the inevitable 'pao de queijo', which are cheese-stuffed buns served hot. Originally a speciality of the Minas Gerais region, these can now be found all over Brazil! Finish everything off with 'quindim', a delicacy made from eggs and coconut: a real delight! The array of fruit and fruit juices available during your stay in Brazil range from the most common, like banana, mango, watermelon, pineapple, orange, papaya, passion fruit, and guava, to the more exotic, such as cashew, star fruit, and Brazilian cherry. Alcohol made from sugar cane, cachaça or pinga is enjoyed neat or with a mixer. With sugar, lime, crushed ice, and some skilful mixing, you have a caipirinha. Mix it with fruit juice and you get a 'batida'. Finally, Brazilians often wash their meals down with a can of guarana, a popular fizzy drink derived from a plant found in the Amazon, which provides a good alternative to Coca Cola.
To bring back
Numerous clothing shops, with more or less affordable prices, rub shoulders with vendors of hammocks, jewellery, pareos, and other souvenirs on the beaches. The 'Havaianas' flip-flops worn by all Brazilians, regardless of their social class, have recently increased in value... Often sold for as much as £13 in Europe, you can find them here for just £7. You may even fancy bringing back a wooden samba whistle, if you manage to find one!