Heading for the island
Coming down from Curitiba, (literally, it’s 1000m above sea-level) it’s a beautiful ride through a mountainous landscape while heading for the coast. Our friends told us this type of landscape is very similar to the landscape in the provence of Santa-Catarina, which we are already looking forward too. Once arrived at the harbor we were welcomed by a blue sky and higher temperatures, let the journey begin!
Boat-tip: The ‘right’ harbor is located at Ponta do Sul, from here it only takes 30 minutes and the journey will be much cheaper. The parking is located a couple of blocks from the harbor.
If you’re looking for a long, more expensive boat trip and parking, take the boat from Paranaguá.
After a short boat trip of 30 minutes we arrived in another world. Long beaches with enough restaurants to sit down and enjoy the view of the ocean and land inward a beautiful backdrop of green mountains. Just a couple of minutes walking from the harbor was our simple but cozy ‘pousada’ which also boasted a restaurant with an amazing kitchen! Since Ilha do Mel was a fisherman’s island before it became a tourist destination, there are lots of seafoods to eat that are delicious and relatively cheap.
Adventure at Ilha do Mel
There are lots of things to do on the island; (kite/wave surfing, sailing, paragliding, fishing et cetera), but our plan was to walk around the island. This would be approximately 6 hours of hiking over various types of terrain and we were warned our endurance would be tested. This proved to be more than true, our friends (and guides) encountered the problem of a missing path through the jungle. We decided to stick to the coast because getting lost in the jungle wasn’t anybody’s preference. After a short while we also couldn’t stick to the coast because the water level was to high and there were dangerous rock-formations causing dangerous turbulences in the water.
We had 2 choices:
- Go back to the pousada and call it a (very short) day, or
- Continue into the jungle and try to stick to the coast.
With our big egos we decided to choose plan 2 and off we went. What normally would be 5 minutes of walking costed us an hour at the least and was full of adrenaline filled moments of cautiously walking through the jungle and jumping from one big rock to another, avoiding falling in turbulent waters.
In the end, we had to take the boat back to our part of the island because there was no way for us taking that route again with the risk of performing those stunts and walking through the jungle again without daylight.
Island vs Island: There are approximately 1000 people living on the island. The majority of this population belongs to one of the 5 families. There are also two parts (Brasília, Encantadas) which compete with one another, they do collaborate on the island’s soccer team. The Brasília part is more expensive and luxurious but also less personal.
Meeting the locals
In the evening we sat down to have some drinks and I (Ruben) decided to play snooker with some locals. Even though I was extremely lucky to beat both of them (both of them were WAY better, even after lots of drinks) they were extremely friendly and chatty because I took some time to socialize with them. The locals don’t have a lot of contact with the tourists because these mainly want to be left alone. Outside of the tourist season there is very little to do on the island, so alcohol abuse isn’t a very rare occurrence.
The day after
The next day we hiked a more easy part of the island with beautiful views and took some time to enjoy the beach. It was a very short but adventurous stay on the island and we regretted having to leave so soon. Back to the big city of Curitiba.