Ilhabela meaning Beautiful Island is in the state of São Paulo and surely lives up to its name. Its volcanic peaks, gorgeous beaches, dense tropical forests and hundreds of waterfalls make Ilhabela one of the best holiday spots in Brazil. The island also offers hiking in the forest, windsurfing and beach-lazing.
Because so many of Brazil's wealthy frequent Ilhabela, there are a few cheap meals to be found. There are, however, many excellent ones. Here are a few of the top restaurants/diners.
For unique Thai dishes, visit the Marakuthai. The atmosphere has been created to reflect an authentic Thai experience and the female Chef, a Thai, keeps the dishes authentic, as well. If you're a fan of pizza, A Redonda Forneria offers a genuine Italian taste to its pies. Located at Av. Riachuelo, 6852, the atmosphere inside is romantic and relaxing, with soft music always playing.
Those with a hearty appetite will want to stop by Refugio da Louca for an all-you-can-eat, serve yourself experience. In addition to the excellent western-style meals, there's also WIFI Internet access, for those with a laptop. The restaurant is located at Avenida Leovegildo Dias Vieira, 1106.
If the water has you craving seafood, some of the best can be experienced at The Deck, at Itaguassu, Av Almirante Tamandaré 805. They also serve pizza, for the non-seafood lover in your group. Meanwhile, Cheiro Verde, located at Rua da Padroeira 109, is known for their plate of the day, which usually features beans, rice, salad and grilled fish or meat.
Because Ilhabela is an island getaway, it's no surprise that one of its defining features is the amazing beaches and they are literally all over.•
In the island's center is Itaguassu Beach, which hosts a small port. •
Pereque Beach, decorated with coconut plants, has a lengthy bicycle path.•
To the north is Jabaquara Beach, the largest, at 5 meters.•
Much smaller is Do Poco, 50 meters long, but notable because it is bordered nearly the entire way by stones.•
Da Fome, at 150 meters, is perfect for immersions. Access to the water is for ships only.•
On the south side of the island is Feiticeira, 250 meters long.•
Do Curral is a beach noted for its bright yellow sand.•
Bonete Beach tends to host most of the island's surfing and is an impressive 400 meters long.•
Saco Do Sombrio is notable because it's surrounded by hills and vegetation.
Two major events bring visitors each year: The Shrimp Festival and the International Sailing Week. As you'd expect, the Shrimp Festival features mile after mile of shrimp, cooked every possible way, as well as shrimp for sale. That's not all; however, the annual festival also includes eating competitions, musical shows and contests. The event is held in August.
International Sailing Week is South America's largest sailing event. It was founded in 1973 and currently gathers more than 400 boats and about 1,500 sailors in the month of July. In addition to the sailing competition are land-based shows, exhibits and lectures.
Thanks to many kilometers of beaches and rocky hill terrain, hiking is popular on the island. There are at least four popular large trails.1.
A 40 minute walk from the south of the Sepituba road toward Bonete Beach will bring you to Laje Waterfall. At the end of the long walk, the natural pools and slides at the waterfall make this a perfect place to stop for an hour or two to rest and relax.2.
For something truly challenging, take the four hour hike up the 1000m journey toward the top of Baepi Peak. Making this trail more difficult, yet more beautiful is the heavy tree coverage. Note: You'll need permission from the park administration to hike the mountain and you must have a professional guide.3.
Even more physically demanding is a 13 km hike on a trail off Bonete Beach. It's a bumpy hike, but making it more pleasant are three waterfalls. Expect to take up to four hours to travel this trail.4.
Agua Branca is the trail that is best marked and signed, featuring several prime resting spots for picnics and recreation. Keeping you refreshed are natural pools and waterfalls.
Of late, the most important activities for vacationers to the island seem to be extreme-sport related. Some of the popular activities include:•
Wind Surfing. The São Sebastião Channel provides perfect conditions for this activity, thanks to a narrow corridor between the mountains and strong winds throughout the year.•
Scuba Diving. Fans of underwater exploration enjoy viewing the local sea life and the remains of 20 shipwrecks.•
Climbing. An island with such large mountains and rocky terrain is bound to attract rock and mountain climbers. There are small rocky walls which are great for beginners and the hillsides of areas such as Baepi Peak, more suited for the seasoned climber.•
Surfing. Of course, the king of all water extreme sports is prominent at Ilhabela, thanks to the high winds and waves.
Ilhabela is for the adventurer—one who is not afraid to spend a holiday or vacation where Mother Nature rules and man has not yet tamed her too much.
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