The Pousada Naturalia is the brainchild of a Frenchman, Laurent, who built the place from scratch. He loves advising guests on how they can make the most of their holiday on Ilha Grande. In order to get there from Mangaratiba (30 mi north of Angra dos Reis), the boat waits until it is full enough of passengers before leaving. This means that during quiet times of the year, you might be stuck in the harbour all day long! On top of this, 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 there is a timetable of crossings (departures at 11:30am, 2:00pm, and 5:00pm). As there are no cars on Ilha Grande, be prepared to walk on the sandy village tracks or along the paths through the tropical forest. There are some steep climbs though: the island's highest point is almost 1000m above sea level! There is no post office, stamp shop, or cash dispenser on the island.
Laurent assured us there is no need for a guide to get around Ilha Grande, because the good signposts and well-marked paths - not things you often find in Brazil - mean you can stroll through the jungle all alone. The island is a massive playground, with underwater diving, swimming with sea turtles, boat trips around the archipelago, hiking trips into the tropical forest, and bathing in the crystal clear waters of the waterfalls and natural swimming pools. You count on Laurent to give you all the best tips. If you make it to the highest point on the island, 980m above sea level, you will have an amazing view of the bay of Angra dos Reis. Allow 3 hours for the ascent and 2 hours for the return journey. If you feel at all unwell during your stay, you can be treated at the Pousada with the medicinal plants growing in the garden! Wifi access is available throughout the establishment free of charge.