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Sailing Angra Dos Reis, Brazil

Sailing Angra Dos Reis, Brazil

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io de Janeiro tourist destinations are typically confined to the city itself, but looking just a little beyond, there are some amazing spots that put Pao de Acucar to shame.

Looking for a “weekend” distance trip, Tess and I compared going north vs south of the city. To the north you have the popular weekend beach destination of Buzios, a peninsula lined with boutique hotels and an artisan market and nightlife that only starts at 10pm (and goes until morning).

We had our minds set on something a bit more adventurous and more revealing of the natural beauty of the Brazilian landscape. Looking south we found just that. Immediately outside of the city, and less than 15 minutes from my grandparents’ apartment you’ll find rustic and stunning beaches of Grumari and Prainha nestled between peaks of the mountainous coastline. The roads this way are newly renovated, since the Olympics, making for an easy, quick, and safe drive.

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Grumari beach

Grumari beach

Our ultimate destination about 2.5-3 hours south along the coast is a region called “Angra dos Reis” or Bay of Kings, with hundreds of islands, including the massive Isla Grande. While we could spend the whole week hiking on that island alone, I wanted a “highlights tour” of the region and opportunity to see other islands, nestled beaches, and the amazing restaurants.

While the wealthy do come here, it’s to private homes on the islands. I struck out finding any place worth staying on the shore, and also knew that the days would mostly be boat trips, so the natural answer was to find a boat that would also be our hotel.

After calling 7 different boat charter companies, the winner of reasonable price and captain with a solid reputation was Alfredo and his 36ft sailboat, found via AirBnb.

Alfredo charted a course that took us to the town of Abraao on Ilha Grande, as well as around it’s coast for a hike to the island’s largest beach of Lopez Mendez. From there, we doubled back, spending the night in the Abraao harbor and eating an amazing Shrimp Moqueca stew at the restaurant Luna & Mar.

Abraao harbor


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Lopez Mendez Beach

Amazing shrimp lunch at Praia do Pouso – The drinks are passionfruit and pineapple

The town of Abraao – a pretty “backpacker” style town lined with identical looking hostels and storefronts hawking boat trips

Arriving in Abraao

The second day of sailing took us all the way back across the bay to the quiet cove of the island Itanhanga. This picturesque stop would be our mooring for the night.

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Bonus sidetrip: Paraty Mirim

After a few days on the boat with Alfredo we drove about 30 minutes further south to Paraty – that will be a separate blog post. But what I did want to include, in staying with coastal beauty, is the another town another 40 minutes (of slow rutted road driving) into the Cairucu protected area, to Paraty Mirim – a historical settlement (now ruins). This coastline is more typically accessed by boat, which we’ll remember next time. Here are a few photos and video of our stop there.

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