Ilha Grande, almost exactly midway between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is heaven on earth—somewhat untouched, still, with deeply green jungle, turquoise water, and a totally laid-back vibe. Snorkeling here might include exploring colonial-era ship-wrecks, but take a dip in the Lagoa Azul first (think Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon) with delicious water temperatures in the mid- to upper-70s providing the perfect habitat for seahorses.
Known as the ‘Garden of Eden’ – Huahine is one of French Polynesia’s best-kept secrets. Formed by two islands connected by a bridge, a beautiful lagoon surrounds Huahine – carving into its mountainous interior for thousands of years to sculpt countless secluded bays that are just waiting for you to discover. Though life beautifully moves at a slow pace on Huahine, the sheer amount of ancient Polynesian temples scattered around the coastline and up high in the mountains – are an indication of the island’s vibrant past. So take your time and meander around the island on a scooter or bicycle, hit the beach or shop in the local market in town, feed the ‘sacred blue-eyed eels’, and if you dare – go for a swim with hundreds of hungry sharks!