Locals and visitors alike regard Lopes Mendes, a 3-km (2-mile) stretch of dazzling-white sand lapped by emerald waters, as the most beautiful beach on Ilha Grande. It's often cited as one of the most beautiful in all Brazil. Strict environmental protection orders have kept the jungle-fringed beach from being spoiled by development: expect makeshift beach kiosks, not upscale bars. Take a taxi boat from Vila do Abraão (R$15), if you don't feel up to the two-hour hike through the forest, or hike here and take the boat back—the rough jungle trail and sticky heat can tax even the most hearty of ramblers. While here, use plenty of sunblock, as the rays rebounding off the white sand are particularly strong. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: swimming; walking.
Ilha Grande, 23900–000, Brazil