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Trek Ilha Grande to Rio

Brazil Trek
TrekHotelHumidYELLOW 2
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About the Challenge

Ilha Grande, south-west of Rio de Janeiro, is an unspoilt island of virgin rainforest, with over a hundred pristine golden beaches.

The island’s isolation has made it home to pirates, lepers, and prisoners; as a result this island of jungle-clad peaks has remained largely undeveloped, though such a short distance from Rio. Traffic-free, the only way around is by boat or on foot – making it a mecca for discerning trekkers.

We trek from beach to beach on jungle trails that undulate through the rare Atlantic rainforest, home to wildlife such as howler monkeys and toucans. We take in caves, waterfalls and tiny villages and enjoy incredible vistas from the highest point on the island, Pico do Papagaio, or Parrot’s Peak.

With time to explore iconic Rio, this is a memorable adventure offering two contrasting highlights of Brazil.

Trek Ilha Grande to Rio

  • Arrive São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, and transfer straight to the beautiful colonial city of Paraty. As we approach we can see the wide curving bay, scattered with isolated beaches and green forested islands, which whets our appetite for the scenery we will be trekking through. Paraty itself is a wonderful place to start our adventure, with its picturesque cobbled streets and striking houses and churches; its wealth came from its position at the foot of the Gold Trail, a 1200km route which transported gold from mines far inland to Paraty and then via Rio de Janeiro to Portugal. We should have plenty of time to wander before meeting for dinner and a trip briefing. Night hotel.

  • An early start sees us transferring east to the small port at Angra dos Reis, where we take a boat across the clear water to Ilha Grande. As we near we can see the dense rainforest cloaking the 400m-high headlands that slope down to the sheltered beach where we land. As our bags are whisked off to our guesthouse by boat, we set off on our hike, a relatively short stretch along the island’s northern coast. Weaving our way through hilly rainforest and across tiny golden beaches gives us a good feel for the island trails and our very scenic surroundings. At the end of our hike at the wide curving bay of Bananal, we meet our boat and transfer by sea to our guesthouse at Jaconema Beach. Night guesthouse.

    Trek approx. 3-4 hours (8km)

  • After breakfast we board our boat once more and head to the westernmost tip of the island, Acaia Point. After a short walk along the coast, we make time to explore Acaia Grotto, a fascinating cave where the sunlight shining through a hole above reflects off the clear water and white sand, creating beautiful turquoise light. We continue trekking eastwards, over headlands on narrow trails through dense forest, and along flat golden palm-fringed beaches, until we reach Longa Beach. Our boat whisks us back to Jaconema. Night guesthouse.

    Trek approx. 5-6 hours (8km)

  • Our boat drops us at Bananal Bay, where we pick up the route where we left it previously and head across the northern point of the island, dotted with bays, peninsulas and offshore islands. It’s very beautiful, though the walking is hilly. We cross Freguesia de Santana, where an old colonial church marks the remnants of an old sugarcane estate, and continue along the coast. Here we can look across to the Blue Lagoon, a particularly scenic area of sandy beaches, small islands and swaying palm-trees, and a popular place for boat-trips. Having completed the western half of the island, our boat meets us at Japariz and takes us to Abraão in the east. This is the main gateway to the island and, though quiet by resort standards, will feel quite busy after our tranquillity. There’s time to explore the village with its variety of restaurants and cafés; you can choose your own dinner venue tonight. Night guesthouse.

    (Dinner not included)

    Trek approx. 5-6 hours (8km)

  • Our big day today, as we head inland through rainforest on overgrown narrow trails, and wind our way gradually up to Pico do Papagaio, the island’s highest point at 880m. Having started at sea-level, that’s a significant height gain on this tiring day. The last section is on smooth bare granite rising out of the rainforest, giving us panoramic views above the canopy and across the whole wide sweep of the island. This is a long day, on challenging trails, and we return to our guesthouse tired but buzzing with achievement. Night guesthouse.

    (Dinner not included)

    Trek approx. 8-9 hours (19km)

  • Our last day of trekking takes us to Lopes Mendes Beach – a real treat after yesterday’s efforts. Lopes Mendes beach stretches across a perfect semi-circular bay on the easternmost peninsula of the island. Its powdery white sand, fringe of palm trees and pristine blue waters have seen it listed among the top ten beaches in the world. After time to enjoy our surroundings we head back to Abraão, where we celebrate the week’s achievements. Night guesthouse.

    Trek approx. 5-6 hours (10km)

  • This morning we pack up and say goodbye to this trekker’s paradise. A short boat trip takes us back to the mainland, where our transport awaits for the drive to the wonderful city of Rio de Janeiro. This iconic city is home to Carnival and the Maracanã football stadium, as well as world-famous beaches like Copacabana and Ipanema, and known for its larger-than-life party atmosphere and beautiful views. We check into our central hotel and have time this afternoon to wander and enjoy. Night hotel.

    (Lunch and Dinner not included)

    Drive approx 3.5 hours

  • Today we have plenty of time to enjoy Rio. Highlights include the Corcovado– one of the new Seven Wonders of the World – where the statue of Christ the Redeemer towers high over the hills of the city, and Sugarloaf Mountain, with its famous cable car, which dominates the bay. Spend some time relaxing at one of the many beaches with a caipirinha, the national cocktail – watch the locals taking part in beach volleyball or capoeira, a graceful and fascinating blend of dance and martial arts which is a real symbol of Brazilian culture. We meet later to transfer to the airport.

    (Lunch and Dinner not included)

Prices may vary depending on date.

  • Available pricing options

    This challenge requires a minimum of 10 participants
    Fundraising Option
    Registration Fee £449 Fundraising target £4,200 Tour Cost - Airline Taxes - Book now
    Part - Payment Option
    Registration Fee £449 Fundraising target £3,200 Tour Cost £500.00 Airline Taxes - Book now
    Full Payment Option
    Registration Fee £449 Fundraising target - Tour Cost £1,850 Airline Taxes £250.00 Book now

    Pricing Explained

    Registration Fee (i)
    Payable on booking

    Fundraising Target (i)
    Paid 10 or 6 weeks prior to trip departure

    Trip Cost (i)
    Payable 8 or 4 weeks prior to trip departure


    • All transport from London to Sao Paulo / Rio return
    • All meals except where specified, and guesthouse/hotel accommodation
    • Discover Adventure leaders; doctor with a group of 15 or more participants; local guides & drivers
    • Local support and back-up equipment
    • Entry to reserves and any other sites included in the itinerary


    • Any meals specifed 'not included' in the itinerary
    • Travel insurance
    • Personal spending money, souvenirs and drinks
    • Tips for local guides and support crew
    • Inbound airport departure tax (no tax applied at the time of writing)
    • Fees for any optional sites, attractions or activities
    • Airline taxes: we cap these so £250.00 is the maximum you will pay
    • Any applicable surcharges as per Terms and Conditions
    Download Challenge Details

Detailed Information

  • Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick on scheduled airlines and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 

    Your journey may involve a transit en route, details of route and flight times will be confirmed several months before departure.  We do not always use the same airline for each destination; if you wish to know the probable carrier and flight times, please call for details. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

  • Accommodation is usually on a twin-share basis in hotels or camp. Occasionally we may use hostel-style accommodation. Please tell us if you know somebody else on the trip that you would like to share with and we will try our best to accommodate your request. If you don't know anyone else in the group don't worry, we always pair you up with someone of the same gender, and a similar age where possible. We do not charge a single supplement if you are a solo traveller in a shared room.

  • We stay in a variety of hotels/lodges ranging from quite simple, friendly guesthouse-style to more international-style hotels in larger towns or cities. Standards are generally good, in great locations, but there may be a night or two where facilities are more basic, as you'd expect in very remote, untouristed or rural areas.

  • The food provided is plentiful, often local in style and freshly-cooked, and will give you plenty of energy. Sometimes we enjoy a buffet-style lunch-stop, other times we might have packed lunches. On some trips we stop at small local restaurants. Dinners are generally eaten in camp or at the hotel, depending on accommodation. In some regions there may be less variety than you are used to, and in others fresh meat or produce can be harder to come by. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally on travel / free days, giving you the opportunity to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit different budgets.

    Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we may be in very rural or remote areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat we strongly recommend you bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice.

  • Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader. Usually leaders are based in the UK or other English-speaking countries and lead for us regularly throughout the year in many different countries. In some instances, trips are led by in-country guides with a wealth of knowledge about the region; they have been trained by us to provide the level of support expected on a Discover Adventure trip.

  • Our local support crew is made up of local guides, assisted by drivers, porters, cooks and other support staff, depending on the type of trip. Local guides know the area well, and are a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Not all support crew will speak English well, but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. 

    Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek, and you will be provided with a guideline amount in advance. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in many countries we travel to is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.

  • Your luggage, food, water and equipment is transported for you from one night-stop to the next. If there is easy road access this is done by vehicle; if not porters, mules or even camels might carry your bags, depending on the destination and terrain.

    Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

  • Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.

  • Your booking is part of a group challenge, and the tour costs and fundraising targets listed on our website are based on a minimum number of participants which is shown on the challenge  Our typical groups run with approximately 20-30 participants; however you may find your group is smaller or larger than this.

    We will confirm at least 12 weeks prior to departure that your challenge is guaranteed to run. Occasionally it may be possible to still run the challenge with less than the minimum numbers, subject to a small group supplement.  If we think a small group supplement may be necessary, we will discuss this with you as soon as possible, usually 5 months before your departure date. 

    Minimum numbers and groups sizes may vary on Bespoke Charity challenges.  If you are booked onto a bespoke challenge please contact your charity for full details.

  • In the unfortunate circumstance that you need to cancel your booking, we would ask that you notify us in writing either by post or email.  Your cancellation will be considered effective from the date the notice is received. Registration fees, amendment fees and insurance premiums are non refundable and, depending on your payment option and how close it is to your challenge departure date, you may be liable for a cancellation charge.

    Full details of all cancellation charges may be found in the Terms and Conditions of booking.

Preparing for the Challenge

  • We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.

  • This is designed to be a challenge, and it is vital that you train sufficiently for it. We will supply you with a thorough training guide once you have registered. We expect all participants to train hard in advance, but we respect everyone’s limits and do not expect everyone to maintain the same pace. Inadequate training is likely to have an impact not just on your chances of completing the challenge, but enjoying it too - and we want you to have the time of your life!

    Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience, fitness and ability as well as all ages and backgrounds. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. If you have concerns about your fitness or if you have reduced mobility please do contact us for a confidential chat about whether this challenge is appropriate for you.

    For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners may find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

  • Travel Insurance is compulsory on our challenges; we strongly suggest that you arrange insurance cover as soon as your booking with us is confirmed. Should you need to cancel on medical grounds, you will need insurance to cover the costs involved (registration fee and any trip costs depending on cancellation date). 

    You should also ensure that you have adequate cover for the type of challenge you are taking part in as well as medical emergencies, evacuation and repatriation.

    You can obtain a quote with Insure to Travel from our website here, or you may choose to take out your own travel insurance, just remember to let us know the policy number and emergency phone number!

    For more information about travel insurance, please click here.

  • Entry requirements vary depending on your destination and nationality. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid, and any visas are obtained in good time. Check the FCO’s advice on entry requirements for your destination to be sure. To find out if you need a visa you can check your requirements using our partner, Visa Machine, website here; please ensure you allow plenty of time.

    Your routine UK schedule of vaccinations should be up-to-date (especially tetanus). We recommend you check Fit For Travel for further details. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

  • For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We are very privileged to live in a country with a high standard of living, and travelling exposes us to different challenges – all of which help broaden our horizons. We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow participants and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!


Iguassu Falls

The largest sequence of waterfalls in the world, the mighty Iguassu Falls lie on the border of Brazil and Argentina, and are simply breath-taking. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Iguassu Falls are also listed among the New Wonders of the World.

Set among lush green rainforest, the horseshoe-shaped falls are at points 82m tall and stretch 2.7km wide – twice that of Niagara. As the force of the water plunges down into the long chasm of Devil’s Throat, it’s impossible not to be awed by the beauty and sheer power of nature. We discover the spectacle of Iguassu from both countries, exploring this natural wonder by a series of walkways which bring you very close to some of the cascades.

The lush tropical rainforest around Iguassu is home to a great diversity of wildlife, including the raccoon-like coati, toucans and other birdlife, and an amazing array of butterflies and other insects. Additional boat trips are available to heighten your Iguassu experience; you can book and pay for these locally if you wish.

This is a great adventure, and an unforgettable way to round off your experience in Brazil! 

Trek Training Weekend


£170 Special Offer - Only when you book at the same time as registering for your main challenge

Discover Adventure Trek Training Weekends take place in Snowdonia National Park, Wales. This training weekend is designed to put you through your paces to enable you to gauge fitness levels and gain advice from our experienced leaders.



Trips are graded Yellow, Orange or Red, in increasing level of challenge. This trip lies within the YELLOW range.

Yellow colour

The grade is determined by factors such as terrain, distance, climate, altitude, etc. Each colour grade has a spectrum which reflects the difficulty of these factors; trip duration, accommodation and living conditions (see icon) are also taken into account. 

Trip grading explained

Challenges 2019-2020

Get our latest Brochure

Our 2019 / 2020 Challenges Brochure is available by Post or Download