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Lopes Mendes

Ilha Grande – big island – is home to Lopes Mendes, the beach of your dreams, a sweeping 3km of the whitest, finest sand that stretches out to a calm, crystal blue ocean. With not a building or restaurant in sight, Lopes Mendes is lined with palm and almond trees offering only a little shade. Bathers will need to take plenty of suntan lotion, snacks and a good book – although there are always a couple of drinks sellers peddling chilled beers. Getting there involves a three-hour bus journey from Rio to Angra dos Reis then a hop on the ferry to Ilha Grande. A scenic 40-minute boat trip takes you to Abraão, the island's only town. Once in Abraão take a small taxi-boat to Manges beach, the last boat stop before Lopes Mendes. Landing on the beach, walk up over a hill and then down through a small forest to the beach. As you walk out of the forest, the beach is right in front of you in all its glory.

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