/ The Rio de Janeiro Guide

Beat the Summer Heat

Ilha Grande

Ok, so blazing sunshine and 40 degree heat might not sound too terrible, but there are times when the heat and humidity of Rio summertime can get a little overwhelming.

And while the crashing waves of the city’s beaches provide a little respite from the sweltering heat, the waters tend to be so packed with other hot and bothered holiday makers that there’s scarcely any elbow room.

At times like this, the best way to beat the extreme heat is to hop on a bus and head for quieter climes.

With the tourist season now drawing to a close, it’s a good time to head down to the tourist hotspots along the beautiful Costa Verde (Green Coast).
It’s around two-and-a-half hours’ bus ride from Rio’s main bus station to the town of Angra dos Reis, which, while unassuming in itself, is surrounded by hundreds of tropical islands.

There are plenty of guest houses in the town, along with a couple of backpacker hostels, and Angra makes a good base for exploring the islands or even learning to scuba dive.

For many visitors, Angra is just a stopping point on route to Ilha Grande, the giant paradise island that lies around an hour-and-a-half away from the town by boat.

Ferries depart at 3.30 each afternoon for the island, and cost around R$7 (double that at weekends).

Don’t panic if you miss the boat, however – there are plenty of fishing boats on hand to transport stranded tourists over to the island. Expect to pay slightly more for this service, with R$20 being about the average.

Ilha Grande itself is a great place to unwind, being dotted with calm-water beaches reached by boat or by nature trails.

There are countless guesthouses, hostels and campsites on the island, making it a favorite spot for backpackers and other travelers on a budget. There’s not a great deal of nightlife to speak of, but if you’re looking to keep cool and escape the heat of the city, this is your place.

A couple of hours’ farther down the coast, the town of Paraty is a perfectly-preserved example of colonial architecture at its most picturesque.

Cobbled streets washed by high tides, whitewashed houses and churches, along with countless beaches just a boat ride away, combine to make Parati another prime spot for those looking to escape the city limits.

There are regular, comfortable and – of utmost importance – airconditioned buses to all of these destinations, so if you find you can’t stand the heat, head for the coast!

Photo: Lucy Bryson

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