Thursday 6 February 2014

Travel Impressions: Ilha do Mel

Ilha do Mel, or literally "The Honey Island", is a piece of paradise on the otherwise pretty ugly coastline of Parana (in Brazilian terms that is). It's located about 120 km from the capital, Curitiba, and therefore the perfect weekend getaway. Classified as "UNESCO Ecological Heritage" you won't find any motorised vehicle there, unless it's the boat that brings you there. Once upon a time you wouldn't even have electricity throughout the night.

Praia Grande - Ilha do Mel

Its simplicity and remoteness are the main attractions. Except for the fortress that the Portuguese build there, there isn't anything to visit, let alone holding your ridiculous travel guide. That's exactly why I love it. You'll go there to chill and watch stars, eat seafood and surf.

Although only 5000 people are allowed on the island at the same time, there's plenty of "pousadas" ranging from "cheap and dirty" to "a bit cleaner and WITH customer service". If you're a fan of 5 star beach resorts you should avoid it at all cost. Again, that's why I love it.

Praia do Farol

The beauty and calmness come at a price though. The island is everything but cheap. If you come by car, you pay parking on shore (20 R$ per day)  and 30 R$ for a round trip by boat. Pousadas (or campings) range from 170 to 450 R$ per night, similar to hotel prices in Curitiba. In addition you'll pay 10-14 R$ for a beer and 30-50 R$ for a plate of seafood. As a foreigner, you will get ripped off, just like any other place in Brazil. On the other hand, it's safe and you don't meet annoying sales people on the beach.

"port" of Brasilia, Ilha do Mel

Places I would recommend on Ilha do Mel are the "Pousadinha" for a great seafood dinner and "Granajan Surf Resort" for the cocktails and fine music. Both are on the Brasilia side of the island. When taking the boat in Portal do ParanĂ¡, you have to choose whether you want to be in Encantadas or Brasilia, the 2 main divisions of the island. Both are about 2 hours walking from each other but there's also boats doing regular transfers. Encantadas is closer to the only tourist attraction, the Portuguese fortress, but most locals recommended us to stay in Brasilia because it's quiter and cleaner.

Have you been there? Or have anything to add? Leave a comment!

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