Abraao, Ilha Grande, Brazil

Tucked into a protected cove along a golden beach, Ilha Grande’s main town is a sleepy place dedicated to laid-back leisure. The island’s earlier history as a notorious pirate den, a leper colony and the Brazilian equivalent of Devil’s Island is all but invisible today. Behind the waterfront street and the tidy church rise moderate peaks clad in virgin Atlantic rainforest. Ilha Grande is blessed with an abundance of superb beaches. There are no private cars on the island, so transport is either by foot on well-marked trails or by boat. It’s possible to walk along through the rainforest from beach to beach. Praia Lopes Mendes, which was named one of the world’s most beautiful by Vogue magazine, is a hike, but worth the walk or the fare for a boat. Adventureiro is the postcard beach, with large sea-smooth rocks lined up along the sand. The water is warm and clear at all of them, and at other coves such as Lagoa Azul, and snorkeling is easy and rewarding. It’s nice to know that all energy used on the island is generated from renewable sources.