Our best tips to visit Angra dos Reis
How I saw that many people asking in this group about what Angra is like, and after living almost 3 years in total on board our boat in the Angra dos Reis region, today I share what to do, how to get there, what beaches to go to, things that beach lovers may be interested in since it is a beautiful place in Brazil, with incredible beaches and very easy access.
First of all, I have to tell you that when the people talks about Angra dos Reis from a tourist point of view, it refers to the region and not exclusively to the city of Angra.
What to visit in Angra? The Big Island, the Gipoia Island, the Bothinas Islands and the Cataguases.
How to get to Angra? The city is 151 km from Rio and can be reached by bus or taxi or Uber. Depending on the number of people they are, it may be convenient to pay for the taxi or the Uber, and it will also be much more comfortable, since it will be a door-to-door service. The trip takes approximately 2 and a half hours. The city of Angra has become a very dangerous city, and has no appeal other than being the embarkation point to the Big Island.
What to do in Isla Grande? When our daughter did not go to school, we would go to the most beautiful beaches and the most interesting thing is that they offer you something different.
Abraao is the most populated place on the island and that’s where we shopped. Abraao is reached by a speed boat called Flex boat from the city of Angra or from Conceição de Jacareí. The one-way ticket costs 50 reais per person. From Angra it takes about 40 minutes approx.
We used it very little since we usually went with our boat, and we used to do paperwork, that was the only thing that made us mobilize the city because life on the island is wonderful, always in ojotas, short and swimsuit. In Abraao there are 4 or 5 supermarkets and the Amazonia lojas where you can buy pareos (cangas) and souvenirs and more small lojas, two ice cream parlors where you can eat a rich açaí. And two incredible places to go for dinner: Dom Mario, it is at the end of the Bouganville, we used to eat salmon with maracuja sauce with a rich grilled vegetables and rice, with a plate they eat 2 very hungry. The other place is called Las Sorrentinas, the owners are Argentine, very enterprising, who make some very rich Sorrentinos. I know some will think and so I go to Brazil to eat pasta? The place is always full, and Argentines who are passing, not only us who lived there and we missed the rich pasta Sunday. There is also a bowling that opens throughout the year called Aquarium.
Some logistical issues to consider: In Abraao you can also get yerba so if you are with full baggage and you drink mate, you do not need to bring yerba. A very important issue is that there are no ATMs or banks on the island, although almost all merchants accept cards, it is always good to carry some cash. Almost all the bars have wi fi, but it might be convenient to buy a prepaid chip in the bank of jornale, the newspaper stand that is in the street of the Church. Then you recharge there or at the pharmacies. It comes out very cheap.
In Abraao there are two beaches that we love, the Julia Beach and the Crena. The latter always has two Brazilians who sing live a repertoire of classics of Brazilian music, like Caetano Veloso or Maria Gadu, a style of music that we like to listen to in the afternoon while we take the caipirinha in the cockpit of the ship . To those two beaches you are walking from the center of Abraao. Eye with the tide, because to return from the crena walking, if the tide rose you do it with water at the waist. If you do not want to walk, most people take a taxi (15 reais per person).
But the star is the beach of Lopes Mendes. From Abraao you arrive by water to Pouso beach, and from there you have to walk along a path (trilha in Portuguese) to the most beautiful beach for me. The duration of the walk is approx 30 minutes. Some do it barefoot, I personally go in ojotas, I have seen other people with boots and sneakers. We usually went with the boat from Abraao early in the morning, and around 10 o’clock we were walking on the fine white sand of Lopes Mendes, so much so that when you step on it it makes a noise. At that time we had the whole beach for us. There you can protect yourself from the sun in the shade of the trees or be under the sun. The sea there sometimes has big waves where some surf. The nicest place is at the end, where you walk, passing the giant buoy that is in the sand, and where a trickle of fresh water comes out, there is a small house and there you go: for me it is the closest thing to Eden. There are no restaurants or bars, but there are kiosks that sell snacks, sandwiches and drinks.
On the way back, we stayed drinking mate on the beach at sunset while we watched all the people leave in the escunas and the whole beach was for us and maybe twosailboats more. Then a caipirinha on the boat and Jorge began to light the fire on the grill, where we ate a rich maminha (a tail of cuadril) or fraldinha (empty). We are not adept at the famous picanha, we do not like it at all and it is also more expensive. Spending the night in Pouso is the most, a super quiet place. To Lopes Mendes some arrive walking from Abraao, it takes almost 3 hours to go and 3 to return to Pouso, then the 30 minutes one way plus the return from Pouso to Lopes Mendes, for me it is not business if you want to enjoy the day at the most beautiful beach. And camping is forbidden there, in case anyone thinks of spending the night there.
Another place you can not miss on the Big Island is Lagoa Azul. We also used to arrive with the boat in the early morning, 9hs before the arrival of the scouts full of people with taco music and the hundreds of boats that go to Lagoa Azul every day. We went early to snorkel and we had all that natural aquarium exclusively, because when the crowds arrive the fish hide, and the truth is that we prefer to have that paradise just for us. It really is a pool and since it is not very deep, you can snorkel great and kids. Then when the crowds began to arrive, we crossed in front of the Isla de los Macacos, where we stayed at the anchor. With my daughter we loved going with the rowing boat to see the turtles and then to the beach, to the little bar that sells well-gelled beer and soft drinks. We also used to sleep there, to wake up and take a dip in those crystal clear waters at dawn.
Another place on the Big Island that was our place in the world for us is Saco do Ceu, very close to Abraao. Saco do Ceu is a very closed, highly protected bay in which we live for several months since our daughter went to school there. The community of Saco do Ceu is very small but very open, they have integrated us very well. And we miss them a lot. That bay is called that because at night you see the stars reflected in the water as if it were a mirror, that’s why it’s called Bahia del Cielo. It is a unique and unforgettable experience. That is its main attraction, sleep at the anchorage or in a buoy and appreciate the stars, but before passing by the restaurant of the Costa family called Gruta das Estrelas, there we ate the richest pasteis de camarão with requeijão Catupiry (something similar to a fried shrimp patty with spreadable cheese), something we miss so much. They also make very good caipirinhas and you can pay with a credit card. In Saco do Ceu there are not many beaches, but there are very nice trilhas to walk and also a very small beach at its entrance called Praia do Amor and it is a typical stop for the boat trips that leave from Abraao.
Another place that we went on the Big Island was Freguesia de Santana and Freguesia do Medio, there we made treks by the trilhas, always escaping from the boats and the scunas with many people, beautiful water but it does not have the best beach.
And following the navigation on the north side of the Big Island, another place to spend the weekend is the bay of Sitio Forte. There we went down to the beach called Tapera. Our daughter loves that beach because there is the Telma bar that has ducks, chickens, peacocks, pheasants, chickens from Angola and a heron that looks like family. There we made beach, walks and we took the richest whipped of Maracuja made by Telma and we ate Iscas de peixe, with the fishing of the day of Naude, the husband of Telma. Naude and Telma are two divine caiçaras that make you enjoy a lot of Brazilian gastronomy. They have buoys where we would tie the boat and there we stayed several days. There is also a cachoeira (natural water spring) to reach by a trilha. The beach is not so pretty, but it is so calm that I was amazed, I spent many days there fishing, snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, walking and eating delicious things. There do not arrive the boats or the escunas, therefore all the day there is tranquility.
For us to travel this area by boat is the most, since all these places are reached from the water and dawn and on the beach is a privilege.
Isla Gipoia has an amazing and super famous beach in the area called Praia do Dentista. We used to throw the anchor near the beach and we would jump into the water to swim to the shore, the water is super transparent and the sand is also very white. After Lopes Mendes, for us it is the most beautiful. It has no bars so we used to swim back to the boat for lunch and then back to the beach. At the end of the day, we went sailing around the Gipoia until we reached Fazenda beach. An incredible place since the water is so transparent that you see the anchor at 9 meters deep. The bottom is very white sand. Here you always see two turtles, many starfish from the huge oranges, a ray, and we used to go with my nena with the snorkel to the stones to see fish and to look for the turtles that by midday are already among the rocks, they are super friendly because if they see you they do not leave, they stay swimming in circles. There is a bar, but it does not have very rich food, but it does have fresh drinks and ice cream. The beach is not very pretty, and in the afternoon the borrchudos are in wait, so you have to have Off. To this beach arrive the boats that leave the people who hire the daily walk to go to Dentist.
Then, closer to the city of Angra, there are the Botinhas Islands and the Cataguases. The first are to go for a while with the snorkel to see the entire aquarium around the Islands, sometimes a turtle appears. But there is usually a bit of wind and waves, so making a quick pass is enough. And then the Cataguases Islands too, very close to the city of Angra are very small, very clear water, also to make a stop and continue as it is in the passage of many boats and yachts and when the tide rises there is almost no beach.
This is a very small part of this beautiful paradise that is Angra dos Reis, I missed the beautiful colonial city of Paraty, which is also often visited in the region, although it is much further from Angra. But Paraty deserves a separate chapter.
Now we are again enjoying the Mediterranean on the boat. Therefore all the commercial places in Angra that we recommend are based on our own experiences. Later we will also share more tips and recommendations from different cities in Europe that we are traveling from the water, of course.