On this post I will highlight the places we visited, the best things to see and the best things to do in Ilha do Mel and Pontal do Paraná.
If you are following my trip to Brazil, you will know that we went to Pontal do Paraná to spend a few days at my brother’s, who lives there. Furthermore, you can check out my previous posts on Curitiba and Morretes and Antonina to get more insights into my journey.
It was my birthday and I chose to spend the day at Ilha do Mel (Honey Island). Ilha do Mel is very close to where my brother lives, so I went there in the company of the family. We had been there about 20 years ago, and I remembered how pretty the island was. There was not a better place to spend my birthday other than in the island.
We left the house early in the morning and went to Pontal do Sul, where we took the boat to cross to the island. These boats are speed boats and called “voadeiras” (flyers), arriving at Praia das Encantadas (Enchanted Beach) in only 15 minutes.
There are other slower options, and you can also take the ferry instead, if you go from Paranaguá. The “voadeiras” are a better option as they are quicker, saving you precious time to spend on the island.
The journey is quick and fun, and I filmed the journey on the video below and published on “The Travelling Surveyor” Instagram account.
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ILHA DO MEL
Ilha do Mel (official name: Parque Estadual da Ilha do Mel) is an idyllic scenery of wild beaches; a paradise formed by “Restinga” (a type of tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forest in eastern Brazil) and the Atlantic Forest.
It is situated in the “Baia of Paranaguá” (Bay of Paranaguá) in the state of Paraná and is the most important Ecological Reserve in the state.
Listed by the “Patrimônio Histórico” (Historical Heritage) in 1975, classified as an ecological reserve in 1982, and part of the World Biosphere Reserve in 1992, were all efforts to try to preserve the natural environment of the island.
It’s ecosystem supports a huge variety of plants, animals, reptiles and in addition, more than 1000 bird species.
Half of the island is an ecologically protected area but can still be visited by tourists. To avoid degradation, cars are not allowed on the island and access is limited to 5000 people a day. There are no streets and movement are done by foot via extensive sand trails criss-crossing the island.
The island has 5 villages, and they are: Fortaleza, Nova Brasilia, Farol, Praia Grande and Encantadas. Boats arrive on Nova Brasilia and Encantadas. Alternatively, you can also use ‘water taxis’ in the island for transportation to the other beaches.
VISITING ILHA DO MEL
We arrived at Encantadas beach and from there we took the trail in the direction of “Praia de Fora das Encantadas”. Arriving at the beach we sat on a table/sunshade from a non-permanent beach hut that serves drinks and food. My family and I spent the day on the beach soaking up the sun, drinking beer, eating fish and fried prawns.
Afterwards we walked to the “Gruta das Encantadas” (Enchanted Cave) that was formed many years ago by the waves hitting the side of the mountain. The access is via a wood platform and only when the tidy is low, between 8 am and 1 pm. There is a local legend that mermaids used to live in the cave, and that they enchanted men with their songs.
We opted to stay only on Praia de Fora das Encantadas, relaxing for the day, but there are other things to do in the island.
You can visit “Farol das Conchas” (Lighthouse of the Shells), which was constructed by a British company in 1872 with materials imported from Scotland. It is in “Praia do Farol” and it has panoramic views from the top of the mountain where the lighthouse is. The lighthouse is not open for visits, unfortunately.
Furthermore, there is also the “Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres” on “Praia da Fortaleza” (Beach of the Fortress) to visit. This is an army fortress constructed in 1769, which can be accessed via a four km walk on the beach from Nova Brasilia, or via a trail through the Atlantic Forest. I’m sure you can also get there by boat as well.
Another interesting and beautiful place to see is the Istmo (called Passa-Passa by the locals). This istmo (Isthmus) is a narrow strip of sand that separates the north sea of the island from the south sea.
Besides the above attractions, there are also many other beaches to visit and all of them can be accessed via basic trails from Nova Brasilia. You can also book a boat tour to go around the island or to the “Baia dos Golfinhos” (Dolphin’s Bay). On this tour you can see dolphins swimming close to the boats and interact with them.
At the end of the afternoon, we walked back to Praia das Encantadas as we had booked the “voadeira” back to Pontal do Sul.
This trip to Ilha do Mel was one of the best birthday’s treats I’ve had in a while. I will always go back to Ilha do Mel when in Paraná to enjoy the beautiful beaches and enjoyable walks. However, next time I will stay longer and in one of their inviting “pousadas” (inns).
I can highly recommend a visit to Ilha do Mel, but I ask any visitors to be considerate and respect the nature of the place. Do not damage any plants, capture any animals or birds, and lastly do not leave rubbish behind. This is a very special place that needs to be preserved for many generations to come.
PONTAL DO PARANÁ
Pontal do Paraná is a beach resort on the coast of the state of Paraná. This is where the “Curitibanos” (people who live in Curitiba) go to spend their holidays or weekends on the beach. You go to Pontal do Sul to catch the boats to go to Ilha do Mel.
This beach resort is very different from the resorts on the state of São Paulo; starting with the fact that there are no high-rise buildings on the beach front. Buildings are of a maximum of three storeys high, but most buildings on the beach front are houses.
Pontal do Paraná is a less developed resort, and the beaches are very wild and not urbanised. It reminds me of Praia Grande in São Paulo state (where I grew up) many years ago. Because it is also a typical resort town, it gets very busy during the summer and school holidays, but everything closes out of season.
There is nothing much to do there, specially if it’s cold and raining and you can’t enjoy the beach. However, my brother and his wife have been living there for quite a few years now and they enjoy the peace and quiet of the out of season months.
While in Pontal do Paraná we walked on the beach and went to the shops, but other than that we didn’t do much. We preferred to stay at the house enjoying the sun and the swimming pool instead, relaxing in private.
It is a good base if you want to spend some time on the coast of Paraná and visit the towns around, like we did.
On the second of January we drove back to our flat in São Vicente as we would only have a few more days in Brazil to spend with the family before flying back to the UK.
We went back to São Vicente via “Estrada da Graciosa” (Gracious Road) again and I filmed part of the trip. It is on the Travelling Surveyor Instagram account and below:
This was a brilliant trip to Brazil and I ‘m already counting the days to go back to Paraná and Ilha do Mel again.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR TRIP
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in Ilha do Mel and Pontal do Paraná. I classified each place as follows:
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO SEE IN ILHA DO MEL AND PONTAL DO PARANÁ
1 – Gruta das Encantadas – (Enchanted Cave) – ***
2 – Farol das Conchas (Lighthouse of the Shells) –
3 – Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres – (The Fortress)
4 – Istmo –
5 – Baia dos Golfinhos – (Dolphin Bay)
6 – The beaches – ***
7 – The beaches in Pontal do Paraná – ***
8 – The Aça Crab statue – Pontal do Paraná – ***
WHERE TO STAY IN ILHA DO MEL AND PONTAL DO PARANÁ
1 – Ilha do Mel Lodges – 5* – £££
2 – Pousada Astral da Ilha – 4* – ££
3 – Pousada das Gêmeas – 4* – ££
4 – Pousada Fim da Trilha – 3* – ££
5 – Pousada Guaricana – Pontal do Paranea – 3* – ££
6 – Pousada Pontal do Sul – Pontal do Paraná – 2* – £
WHERE TO EAT IN ILHA DO MEL AND PONTAL DO PARANÁ
1 – Restaurante Mar e Sol – Nova Brasilia
2 – Astral da Ilha –
3 – Fim da Trilha –
4 – Maliê Sushi –
5 – Restaurante 277 – Pontal do Paraná
6 – Bistro das Flores – Pontal do Paraná
If you tried any of my recommendations above, please send me a message and tell me about your experience good or bad, so I can update the list accordingly. Thanks!
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