Looking for the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Rio de Janeiro? Ilha de Paqueta, or Paqueta Island in English, is a small island in Guanabara Bay. The idyllic island is an auto-free island and a paradise for easy- bicycling or walking.
How to get to Paqueta Island
Paqueta Island is situated in the middle of Guanabara Bay and the only way to get there is by boat/ferry. You can get to Paqueta Island by ferry, departing from Praça XV in downtown several times a day. The ferry trip itself is a beauty since it takes you out to Guanabara Bay and you get to see the famous Ilha Fiscal, Rio de Janeiro and Niteroi from another angle. The boat trip takes about one hour.
For the ferry schedule Click here!
How to get to Praça XV
From Leblon take bus number: 162, 438, 574
Or easily grab a cab and tell the taxi driver you are going to Praça XV (“Praça Quinze”).
Are you planning on bringing your own bike? Then you can easily go bicycling all the way from Leblon/Ipanema to Praça XV. You just have to follow the bike path all the way to Santos Dumont airport and from there you follow the sidewalk for 5-10 minutes and it leads you to Praça XV. The bike ride from Leblon/Ipanema takes approximately one hour.
For more information, see map below.
When you get of the ferry at Paqueta Island you will be facing the small center of Paqueta. Here you find some restaurants, bars and an old church. There are no cars on the island, but it’s still easy to get around. It just needs to be done the old fashion way – that means on foot, bicycle or horse carriages. The best way would be to bring your own bike to pedal around the streets of the island, but you can also rent bikes on Paqueta Island or you can rent one of the drawn carriages to get around.
Paqueta Island offers a rural and quiet atmosphere with parks, cobbled streets and a beautiful landscape. There are many cozy beaches and places to stop and admire, take pictures and enjoy the nature. The Paqueta Island is also a great place to bring kids, especially because it’s considered to be one of Rio’s safest places and there are no cars around.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Paqueta Island used to be a very fashionable place, where the wealthy residents of Rio used to have parties and spend their weekends. You can still see houses from the beginning of the 20th century and also some older that are dated back to the early 1700s, most of them well preserved. However, in the 70s Paqueta Island became less fashionable among the rich, probably because of the increased pollution in Guanabara Bay. Nowadays, Paqueta Island has a very mixed population. Lower and middle class live here just as well as rich people who have their holdidays-houses on Paqueta. The Paqueta Island has also become a tourist destination for day-trips.
You should try to spend a day in Paqueta Island. You find lots of nice places for picnic, like the Darque de Matos park and at the cozy beaches. Or you can try some of the inexpensive restaurants on the island, such as the Paqueta Iate Club Hotel, Restaurante Lido or some of the beach restaurants . None of the restaurants is very fancy but the food they offer is good and lots of them offer a nice view. Paqueta Island has many cozy and calm beaches where it’s nice to relax in the sun, share a bottle of wine or play ball. People do swim at the beaches but according to the government of Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara Bay is not one of the cleanest places to go for a swim.
Before or after Ilha de Paqueta it’s worth to check out the museum Tiradentes Palace and Arco do Telles for some food and beverage. Located 4-7 minutes walk from where the ferry leaves.