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The island was not always a tropical paradise. Due to its isolation, strong ocean currents and relatively harsh living conditions, it has always been a destination for those looking for privacy. Slavery traders used the remote beaches as auction stages, society also outcasted the ill and exiled the criminals here.
The Ruinas do Lazareto are physical evidence of the hardships. It was originally a farmhouse, but in 1884 it became a health quarantine for immigrants and diseased (like cholera). Later it became a federal prison until 1964.
Among the stories, the incarceration of violent criminals together with the educated corrupt politicians gave the perfect combination from where the Comando Vermelho (one of the biggest gangs of organized crime) was born.
Entry is free and is open during daylight hours.
Updated Oct 10, 2012
Address: Vila do Abraão, Ilha Grande
I didn't like it at all. Bad service, I recommend renting a boat (with motor) with more people and tell them to take you to the venues. You can rent the snorkelling equipment at the Quay.
The thing that I do recommend is taking the boat to Lopes Mendes I took the trekking to the beach and it was quite exhausting just one way.
Written Jun 22, 2007
Address: From Abrao
My friend and I were a little intimidated by the stories of Lopes Mendes Praia. A surfer's paradise, to us, meant rough surf and strong currents, but we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was in fact the most beautiful beach that either of us had ever seen. After some deliberation, we decided that it was the most heavenly place that either of us had ever encountered. The sand is like flour (unlike anything that we had ever felt and we grew up on an island) and the water was crystal clear. In order to reach the beach, you must endure a steep, but short hike through lush forests and arid paths. If it is a lucky day, you may see some monkeys. We were fortunate to see them on two separate trips. Remember to bring some bananas with you, they love them and eat them in the wild, so it is perfectly healthy to give them to them, it makes for a spectacukar brush with nature.
Once you reach the beach, find a nice spot under the trees, as the sun gets higher in the sky, the sand becomes increasingly hot and you will welcome the cool shade. There are 2 or three delightful people who make their home in Vila do Abraao who ride the boats over in the morning and sell homemade sandwiches (usually chicken salad or frango: ricotta with raisins or tuna), water and sodas. On a lucky day you may encounter a woman with a smile almost as bright as the sun selling homemade breads stuffed with spinach, ricotta, chicken or shrimp may which are truly delicious. Make sure that you try one, they are wonderful!
Once you take to the water, you will be amazed at the clarity of the ocean. I did not believe that a beach existed where there was no seaweed, no jellyfish, no shells to cut your feet, no crabs to nibble at your toes...simply refreshing clear water and smooth sand underfoot. You will not want to get out of the water!
Updated Apr 2, 2007
This is not your regular schoonertrip in Brazil. This marvelous wooden boat was built bui three dutchmen and a canadian. The ship is called Tocorime Pamatojari, which means sprirt of adventure, is actually located in Paraty. It charters for day sailing and longer trips. It´s quite expensive but if you´re a die hard sailor it sure is worth it, especially around Ilha Grande.
Updated Mar 13, 2007
Address: Marina do Engenho - Paraty, RJ, Brazil
I took a 5 hour boat trip and we stopped twice to snorkel. Ive never seen so many beautiful Star Fish in brilliant bright colors. We even stopped on a tiny island for some lunch. Worth doing, I had a great time.
Written Jul 3, 2006
The jail was terrifying for the locals, but at least it contributed to the preservation of the island, by kipping tourists visiting Angra away from it...the village also enlarged a lot with the arrival of the workers of the jail, that came with their families to live in....now that it´s closed, most of them went away, leaving their houses behind....
Now the village is much smaller than before, so when you enter in Dois Rios you´ll se many houses in ruins...the real proof that time changes many things.
The remaining citizens work with tourism and commerce, apart from researchers of the university that has set one department of biology there...
Sometimes as you walk in the small city you´ll have this strange impression that everyone just vanished....
Updated Jun 30, 2005
Although the rich fauna, flora and beauty of the island could only give birth to fishermen´s legends, there are real stories of violence and disease the island struggles to forget... It´s in the simple, dormant village of Dois Rios that most of the recent stories came from...
Ever since the island was first populated, it had been used, for centuries, as a land of slavery, traffic, as a jail for the exiled and even as an isolation to the sick (the leper house of Lazareto was an example)...the island was a sort of "trash can" of the powerful, used to keep all those they disguised far from the continent.
The last Presidium that operated in the island was Candido Mendes, located in Dois Rios. This jail, that was before a farm, worked for over 90 years and kept not only dangerous criminals but exiled politicians and artists during the brazilian dictatorship....
Along those years many legends came in, just like the creation of Comando Vermelho (=Red Command) inside this jail, that became one of the biggest gangs of organized crime in the country....
There are stories of heroic escapes, like one member of Comando that ran away after jumping from the roof of the jail to the stairs of a flying rescue helicoper....and recieved the nickname "Escadinha" (=Little stairs) ever since....
Famous writers witnessed atrocities while on exiled, giving birth to famous books over this subject.
Stories of escape, torture, violence and hope are hidden in every corner of the jail, that was closed completely in 1994, intact from the outside, which gives you the idea that it´s still open....
Updated Jun 30, 2005
Dois Rios is how we call "Two Rivers" in portuguese. This beach is called this way because it´s a one kilometer string of sand that in each corner there is a river encountering the sea...
That makes Dois Rios a great place to spend your day...if you are tired of salty water, you can wash yourself at the river, just some 10 meters away....the water is clean and appropriate for swim, there are also many fishes, and the typical tropical forest called "Mangue" contouring the rivers, with the trees planted inside water...
Updated Jun 30, 2005
Dois Rios is one of the beaches located in the south of the island, therefore in open sea...it´s a good place to spend the day, the waves are not strong, the water is clean...
Reaching Dois Rios by boat depending on the season is not alowed because of the wind and strong tide, but the trek is not hard....the access to the beach is strictly controlled, when you arrive a guard will register your entrance and the permanence in Dois Rios is prohibited after 5:00 PM...
In this beach is located a famous Presidium, that was in part the cause for the lack of tourists 10 years ago....now it´s closed, and many of the habitants left the village, remaining only some fishermen...
Written Jun 30, 2005
Another common trek is the one from Abraão to the beach called Dois Rios, on the other side of the island.
You walk along an old road, unpaved, that has the legth of 7 km and is very easy....the first half of the road is a constant smooth ascent, but it´s not very tiring...the other half is just the way down....from this same road you have trails to other attractions such as the Pico do Papagaio, and the beach of Caxadaço....
Caxadaço is a small beach, its name means "Iron Box", since it´s a small, empty beach almost hidden behing a rock all....it used to be a place where pirates did ilegal traffic in ancient times...from Dois Rios to Caxadaço you´ll take 2h30min one way.
There are many streams along the walk, including waterfalls, but i advise you to avoid drinking the water from the road streams.....believe me, it´s not good....= /
Updated Jun 30, 2005
1 Review and 92 Opinions Horrible service, terrible facilities and beds that smelled like dead fish. To summarize I have...