The beautiful Brazilian island with a terrifying backstory

Island paradise: The impossibly picturesque island of Ilha Grande in Rio de Janeiro state is a UNESCO.

Unspoiled beaches: The island is closed to cars, and is home to 100 beaches sitting amid pristine nature.

lha Grande: The mountainous island, which spans 193 km2 (75 sq mi), was discovered in 1502 by Portuguese.

Dark past: Surrounded by literally hundreds of smaller islands some 150 km (193 mi) from the state capital.

Dark past: The island's prison first housed political prisoners during the 1930s.

Arriving from the mainland: Arriving on the island today, visitors would have little idea of its dark secrets.

Small-town life: After a bumpy boat trip, tourists dock at Vila do Abraão.

A refuge for pirates: Even before it housed leprosy patients and criminals, Ilha Grande was a refuge for pirates and smugglers.

Trails to the prison: Most people come to Ilha Grande to discover its beaches and natural beauty.

Dark tourism: Those with a darker curiosity can follow a 7 km (4.34 mi) trail route to the former Cândido Mendes prison.

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