Somewhere in the South Atlantic, there is an island of nearly untouched beauty and endless enchantment: Ilha do Mel, Brazil’s Honey Island. Off-road and off-grid, Ilha do Mel is an ecological destination, the perfect place for adventures, relaxation, and enjoying nature.

Ilha do Mel is a part of Paranaguá Bay, in Paraná, 130 km away from the exciting capital Curitiba. A natural paradise, 2500 of its 2700 hectares of extension are protected ecological areas of Atlantic Forest, mangroves, and local fauna, as well as a Brazilian Historic Site. The other 200 hectares? Enough tropical forests, trails, deserted beaches, tranquil resorts, and historical sites to color any enchanting, sweet vacation.

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So hop on, let’s take the ferry boat to Honey Island!

An ecological paradise just a boat ride away

Because the island is a natural reserve, there are no paved roads, no automobiles or animal transportation, and no public electricity. Tourism is capped off at five thousand people per day, and the local population is one thousand; in Ilha do Mel there is no stressful traffic, no sounds of cars or horns, no busy urban life, only the sand underneath between toes and the rush of the sea behind the trees.

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Ilha do Mel is a perfect destination for a relaxing off-grid vacation - but don’t worry, not so much off-grid as there are cozy, comfortable hotels, fun bars, restaurants, and, of course, wifi! From stretches of white sand beaches, magical trails between the forest, mermaid caves, and war forts, Ilha do Mel has no shortage of wonderful experiences to offer to its visitors.

What there is to do at the Honey Island

Ilha do Mel has a few villages, separated by swathes of protected forest, where the restaurants, main attractions, and departure points are all located, mainly in Encantadas and Nova Brasilia.

Enjoy the beaches

As an island, it's logical that the beaches on Honey Island would be their main attraction. In Ilha do Mel, deserted unexplored beaches follow more popular ones with historical sites and visitor installations. The slow solitude of Miguel Beach, between the villages of Nova Brasilia and Encantada. At the small Praia de Fora Beach, natural pools sometimes called “Mermaids’ Baths” are an ultra-relaxing feat. The waves in Praia Grande attract surfers from all over the country every year; at Honey Island, there will be a beach for each type of voyager.

Visit the historical Nossa Senhora do Prazeres Fort

Also called the Paranaguá Fort, this historic site dates to the 1770s and is a Brazilian Cultural Heritage Site. It’s the first military fort in the state of Paraná, built with the purpose of protecting Paranaguá Bay, still featuring 18th-century canons and all of its original structure.

Behind the fort, a short trail leads to the Baleia Mount, which has a spectacular view of the island and the fort.

Encantadas Grotto

A natural work of art, the jewel of Encantadas beach is the Encantadas Grotto. According to the local fisherman, the grotto is populated by mermaids, who they called “enchanted”, and once there, it's easy to see why mermaids would want to live there: Formed by the sea action on the rocks, the Grotto has interesting geological formations and the most unique view of the sea.

The Grotto can be reached by a trapiche trail on the beach, and should be visited in the morning before the tide fills up the cave.

Seashell Lighthouse

One of the most stunning views of Ilha do Mel can be seen from Farol das Conchas, the Seashell Lighthouse. The lighthouse is accessed by a beginner-friendly, tranquil stone trail that connects it to the Lighthouse beach.

Designed and brought in from Glasgow in the 1800s, the Seashell Lighthouse still lights up the sea and orients boats reaching Paranaguá Bay to this day.

Dolphins Bay

Ilha do Mel has many options of boat rides around Honey Island, and a highlight of many Ilha do Mel tours is Dolphins Bay, where travelers can see the dolphins that are a feature of the region swimming beside them and jumping up to say hi.

Food and lodgings

From Encantadas to Nova Brasilia, Ilha do Mel has a myriad of lodging options, from casual inns, and charming tropical B&B’s to spa resorts.

While on the Island, trying the local cuisine is a must - and the highest recommended will always be the local seafood. From casual beach kiosks to experimental cuisine, Ilha do Mel has a sweet many its visitors can delight in.

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How to get to Ilha do Mel

Ilha do Mel is about 100 km away from the capital Curitiba and can be accessed mainly from two points: Paranaguá Bay or the beach district of Pontal do Sul.

The ride from Pontal do Sul is the most advantageous, taking from 12 to 30 minutes, whereas from Paranguá, the journey can take up to 2 hours; however, from Paranaguá travelers can visit the historical towns of Morretes and Antonina or the Superagüi Island as an all-rounder, combined vacation.

The rates can change depending on where travelers choose to depart from.

  • Rates from Paranaguá are a base price of 76,00 R$ (16 USD)
  • Rates from Pontal do Sul are a base price of 42,00 R$ (9 USD)

The time slots change with the seasons, but in Pontal do Sul there are usually hourly departures till five o’clock.

Since vehicles are not allowed on the island, locomotion inside is either on foot, by bike, or on rented boat tours around the island’s extension.

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