Ilhabela, Brazil

In Ilhabela, on the way to Bonete

Manual rudder
Fisherman maneuvers a traditional boat on the rocky coast of Borrifos.
cove after cove
Coastline of the remote southwest of Ilhabela.
Cold bath
Guia Fabrício refreshes himself in the lake below the Toca waterfall.
Tropical agitation
Rough sea near Bonete beach.
Fishermen pull a fishing boat from Bonete up the beach to protect it from the high tide.
Fabrício guide and visitor from São Paulo cross a stream in Ilhabela.
a vegetable crown
Bromeliad thrives on a branch of the Ilhabela Atlantic Forest.
So Deitinho, owner of Pousada da Rosa, in Bonete.
Rough ramp
Hikers reach the top of a stony and green slope on the way to Bonete.
in dry dock
Bonete fishermen's boats, safe from the rising waters of the high tide.
Match Manager
So Deitinho in a colorful corner of Pousada da Rosa.
Boat anchored off the north of Ilhabela.
Atlantic smooth
Low waves invade the sand of a cove near Bonete.
Acrobatics & Splash
Fabrício guide slides on the natural slide of the Toca waterfall.
Beach & Atlantic Forest
Sheltered cove in the south of Ilhabela, in the vicinity of the fishing village of Bonete
Acrobatics & Splash II
Fabrício guide slides on the natural slide of the Toca waterfall.
fishing beach
Small shelter used by Bonete fishermen.
A community of caiçaras descendants of pirates founded a village in a corner of Ilhabela. Despite the difficult access, Bonete was discovered and considered one of the ten best beaches in Brazil.

In the days that we had already spent in Ilhabela, the question “And Bonete, have you gone? followed by the always highly emphasized appeal

“Ah, but you have to go!. It's Wonderful!" Who were we to doubt.

The morning after the visit to the DPNY, we met at 7 am at the offices of the Archipelagus agency and left, this time with Paulo, the guide Fabrício and the São Paulo speleologist lawyer Carol.

Paulo led us in a jeep to the beginning of the trail and returned to the back, leaving us on our legs for the next four hours. Fabrício and Carol, worried about possible injuries, still carried out a gentle muscle warm-up.

Trail ramp to Bonete, Ilhabela, Brazil

Hikers reach the top of a stony and green slope on the way to Bonete.

Through the Green Trail of Atlantic forest

The path, closed by the closed Atlantic Forest, only rarely allowed a glimpse of the Atlantic. On the other hand, shortly after the departure, he presented us with the sight, always rare, of a coral snake that, despite the risk, the caiçara Fabricio made a point of introducing us by hand.

From then on, he walked and talked without haste. Despite some ups and downs, the trail was gentle and, in addition, two strategic stops were scheduled for bathing in the Lage and Areado waterfalls.

Fabrício guide at Toca waterfall, Ilhabela, Brazil

Fabrício guide slides on the natural slide of the Toca waterfall.

The first, in addition to being really refreshing, was the stage for an acrobatic exhibition by Fabrício on a polished rock slide that ended in a delicious natural pool. The second provided a few more dips and strokes and, of course, a new attack by the ubiquitous blackies.

The Areado waterfall marked the beginning of the last third of the trail that, in a short time, left the dense jungle behind and revealed, in the distance, the beach and the village of Bonete.

The Dazzling Glimpse of Bonete

The fascination exercised by Bonete in the rest of Ilhabelians and visitors is due both to the beauty of the beach – the widest on the island, at 600 meters – wild and isolated, and to the unique history of the village.

Made up of a caiçara community originally formed by Dutch pirates, Bonete only received electricity and telephone a few years ago.

Coves in the vicinity of Bonete, Ilhabela, Brazil

Coastline of the remote southwest of Ilhabela.

The connection with the rest of the island is only possible along the same trail we had traveled or, when the sea allows it, aboard the huge canoes (made from a single hollowed-out trunk) that the fishermen manage against the strong waves with unbelievable skill.

The Picturesque Town by the Sea

For programmatic reasons for the trip, the visit to Bonete had to be brief. There was time to recover energy with a dog lunch, accompanied by rice and beans at Pousada da Rosa, explored by the picturesque Sô Deitinho and his wife.

So Deotinho, Pousada da Rosa, Bonete, Ilhabela, Brazil

So Deitinho, owner of Pousada da Rosa, in Bonete.

Afterwards, he took a quick tour through the middle of the village, passing through the improvised Praça da Conversa Mole where, as the residents themselves point out, “there are fishermen, hunters and many liars and it keeps arriving more and more…”.

Soon after, we returned to the beach where the men, some who had just arrived from fishing, others from the urbanized and commercial coast of Ilhabela, gathered together the boats to protect them from the high tide that was already coming.

Fishermen in Bonete, Ilhabela, Brazil

Fishermen pull a fishing boat from Bonete up the beach to protect it from the high tide.

Against the routine of the village, Fabrício agreed with an acquaintance of our return. According to what he had informed us, we had to leave at four o'clock in the afternoon on the dot.

If this were not so, we could find a surf too powerful at the exit of the cove and, in addition, the owner of the canoe that was going to take us ran the risk of not finding someone around the beach to help pull up the vessel.

Return to the Bonança da Maré-Vazia

As such, at the appointed time, we were on board, sitting on the bottom of the canoe to stabilize it and make it easier to overcome the surf. The fisherman's experience allowed him to accurately assess the wave sequences and made us leave with relative ease.

Fisherman maneuvers boat near Bonete Beach, Ilhabela, Brazil

Fisherman maneuvers a traditional boat on the rocky coast of Borrifos

After overcoming the biggest obstacle, the rest of the trip to the mainland coast of the island was one of pure contemplation since, allies, the wind and the sea, drenched us and prevented any photographic operation.

In the late afternoon, the soft side light that fell on the island highlighted its shapes and colors that we had not yet had the pleasure of seeing from the ocean.

From Bonete to Borrifos, where we returned to land, the images of the raw insular landscape, seen from that noisy motorized canoe, are ones that we will keep in our memory for longer.

They are also ones that contributed the most to us remembering it as the Ilhabela what is.

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