Ilha de Paquetá
Located in the Baía de Guanabara, the small Ilha de Paquetá has been a favorite Carioca getaway since Dom João VI began coming here in the early 19th-century. He was responsible for building the Capela de São Roque, around which the lively five-day Festival de São Roque takes place in August.
On most weekends and holidays, the island is routinely packed with families from the Zona Norte who crowd the (polluted) beaches and seaside bars. During the week though, the island makes for a relaxing day trip. Tranquility reigns and the slightly dilapidated colonial buildings retain their allure—albeit slightly faded.
The trip in itself is worthwhile for the splendid views of Rio and the bay.
Getting to Ilha de Paquetá
Ferries leave at two-hour intervals 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, from the Estação das Barcas (tel. 21/2533-7524, R$4.50 Mon.–Fri., R$9.50 Sat.–Sun.) at Praça XV de Novembro. The trip takes a little over an hour. If you’re in a hurry, hydrofoils (tel. 21/2533-4343) will get you there in half the time at double the price, with several departures and returns a day.
Although no vehicles are allowed on the island, you can easily (and cheaply) rent a bike and pedal around.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition