Ilhabela, Brazil

Ilhabela: After Horror, the Atlantic Beauty

Gentle Coast
I figure on the beach at Curral, on the west coast of Ilhabela.
Castelhanos beach
One of the most emblematic beaches in Ilhabela, for its beauty and its terrible past.
White water
Água Branca waterfall, one of the most visible and gentle in Ilhabela.
Pedregoso islet off the west coast of Ilhabela.
Brazil, Brazilian
A patriot-painted schooner anchored off Jabaquara beach.
Waterfall orientation
Arrows indicate the direction of two of the most popular waterfalls in Ilhabela.
to the line
Fishermen try their luck on Corral beach.
Crustacean Lookout
Crab alert on a dark sand of Ilhabela.
Amphibious crossing
Jeep crosses a shallow stream on its way to Castelhanos beach.
fearless business
"Borrachudo" Sandwich Shop sign honors the most hated insect in Ilhabela.
Marine Prospecting
Children catch bivalves near the Ilhabela Nautical Center.
tight sand
Beach with narrow sand, on the west coast of Ilhabela.
elegant threat
Coral snake, one of the most photogenic and dangerous species in the Atlantic Forest of Ilhabela.
bathing twilight
Silhouette on a terrace at Praia do Curral.
Furious speed
Speedboat travels through the calm waters of the São Sebastião channel.
Nautical Shelter
Vessels anchored around the Ilhabela Nautical Center.
Minimal Lighthouse
The Ponta das Canas lighthouse, which guides navigation in the Northwest of Ilhabela.
Golden Coast
Praia do Curral, with the mountains of the interior of Ilhabela in the background.
Bathing reunion
The Ades family lives together on the sandy beach of Jabaquara beach.
Atlantic and Atlantic Forest
One of Ilhabela's many wild beaches.
Ninety percent of the preserved Atlantic Forest, idyllic waterfalls and gentle, wild beaches live up to the name. But, if we go back in time, we also reveal the horrific historical facet of Ilhabela.

As the jeep struggled up the muddy road, Alexandre underlined in a genuine Brazilian caiçara: “This is nothing now. You would have to see Ilhabela in the summer. Sometimes there is a line of vehicles stuck and no one else can go forward.”

This is just one of the rebellious facets of Ilhabela. Above the height of 200 meters, the luxury villas, like any other type of housing, are left behind and give way to a steep wilderness and dense vegetation where anything is possible.

The demarcation of the State Park protected the forest from human invasion, with the exception of the caravans of 4WD vehicles that take visitors to the Atlantic side, to the Baía dos Castelhanos, a painful crossing of first up and then down which is made in approx. two hours.

Jeep crosses river, Ilhabela, Brazil

Jeep crosses a shallow stream on its way to Castelhanos beach

A Beautiful and Vast Island

It's May. The charged clouds pass at great speed over Pico de São Sebastião (1378m), the highest elevation on Ilhabela. Despite this, the sun had room to shine and it has been a long time since the tropical rains of December, January and February, responsible for the chaos of off-road traffic described by the guide, have fallen.

With an area of ​​340 km2, Ilhabela is the largest island off the coast of the Brazil. It is part of a homonymous archipelago to which the islands of Búzios, Vitória, and the islets of Pescadores, Sumítica, Serraria, Cabras, Figueira, Castelhanos, Lagoa and Anchovas belong.

Its volcanic origins are clearly marked in a majestic and abrupt topography which, due to its position, just below the Tropic of Capricorn, is covered by a lush green mantle that hides dozens of crystalline streams and around 360 waterfalls.

Água Branca Waterfall, Ilhabela, Brazil

Água Branca Waterfall, one of the most visible and gentlest of Ilhabela

From Tupi-Guarani to Portuguese settlers

In pre-discovery times, these lands were the domain of Tupi-Guarani tribes, as evidenced by the proliferation of Indian place-names such as Pacoíba, Baepí, Pirabura, Pirassununga (exactly, the famous cachaça!), Jabaquara, Perequê, Itaquanduba, Itaguaçu, Cocaia , Guarapocaia, Piava, Piavú, Pequeá, Parrot, Itapecerica, Sepituba etc. etc. etc.

The colonial history of Ilhabela began when the members of the first expedition sent by Portugal to the Land of Santa Cruz arrived in Maembipe on January 20, 1502, the day consecrated by the Church to São Sebastião. It was this expedition that renamed the island of Maembipe with the name of the saint, but changed little else.

It was only in 1608, 106 years later, that the first colonists and slaves were established, transported there to feed an intense slave traffic or to work in the cultivation of sugar cane and the consequent production of cachaça.

Both activities made the fortune of the overseers and lords of Ilhabela, a wealth that can be witnessed, even today, in the size and sumptuousness of some manor houses, such as the one on the Fazenda do Engenho d'Água.

Since its discovery by the Portuguese until the XNUMXth century, the waters around Ilhabela were intensively patrolled by European and, later, Argentine adventurers, corsairs and pirates. Among the most famous were the English Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish and Anthony Knivet.

Another regular customer was the French Duguay Trouin.

Schooner off Jabaquara Beach, Ilhabela, Brazil

A patriot-painted schooner anchored off Jabaquara beach.

The Horrific History of Ilhabela

As a result of attacks or due to a treacherous sea that the ancient sailors said had a magnetic field that deceived the instruments of course, the area became known as the Bermuda Triangle of South America.

Dozens of sunken vessels of the most varied types lie around Ilhabela, many of which are victims of shipwrecks as recent as the luxury liner “prince of Asturias”, in 1916, or the English “Crest“In 1982. 

The very beach where we were heading now – Castelhanos – as well as two others located right next to it, were named according to one of the many maritime terror stories that, contrary to its name, were associated with the island.

As the locals say, the Castilians were the castaways who washed ashore after the sinking of the boat they were following. As if that wasn't enough, the blood they shed when they were thrown against the rocks gave rise to Praia Vermelha and, some time later, most of the decomposing bodies were found in what is now Praia da Caveira.

Currently, if we leave out the oil tankers that visually pollute the São Sebastião channel and the caiçara fishermen's canoes, most of the boats that circulate around Ilhabela are recreational. They provide moments of pure leisure, not drama.

Ilhabela Nautical Center, Brazil

Vessels anchored around the Ilhabela Nautical Center

A popular refuge from São Paulo

Thanks to the strong wind that runs through the São Sebastião Channel, Ilhabela is the Brazilian capital of sailing. Every year, it hosts several national and international competitions of this sport and hosts hundreds of sailboats in its marina, as well as many motorized boats of all sizes and shapes.

Ilhabela is a kind of insular playground of the Paulistas with more possessions. From time to time there is seen, over the São Sebastião channel, another helicopter of a VIP, such as the famous presenter Ana Maria Braga and the actress Regina Duarte who have vacation mansions on the island.

The couple who accompanied us, jolting, in the back of the jeep were much better off and from the poor surroundings of São Paulo, but, using the savings and hospitality of some local friends, they also had the right to a few days at one of the divine retreats of the state. 

The two hours passed with the most varied conversations including explanations about the local fauna. As always happens in Brazil, once again, we hear legends of jaguars and ocelots that roam the local jungle, seeing them is no way to think.

The winding road, this one, already on its descending route, finally revealed, through the mesh of vines, the emerald waters of the bay.

Praia dos Castelhanos, Ilhabela, Brazil

One of the most emblematic beaches in Ilhabela, for its beauty and its terrible past.

From there to the white sand it only took a few minutes and, in a short time, we were climbing to a makeshift viewpoint on one of the bay's slopes to appreciate and photograph the so famous heart shape of the beach.

This was followed by a dip, with a few strokes of the mix and, soon after, a simple but rewarding lunch in one of the humble local restaurants.

The next day, we exchanged the jeep's jolts for the rocking of a schooner. In the relaxed fashion of Brazil, the departure, which was scheduled for 9.30, was delayed.

The reason: “the guy who had been bringing the drinks never showed up again”.

The Adés Family Reunion

Fortunately, at the village dock, the Adés family – who were in a kind of diaspora for professional reasons and had chartered the boat for a trip to commemorate their reunion – was as late or later than the guy in charge of the drinks.

Family reunion at Jabaquara beach, Ilhabela, Brazil

Family together live on the sandy beach of Jabaquara

So, the only ones to wait were us and the crew, but considering that Commander Marcos took advantage of the dead time to unwind his inexhaustible knowledge about Ilhabela, navigation in general and the local weather, no one was left to lose.

Once the drinks and the little ice that was left there, we took the Adés family and headed north, along the coast, towards another of the island's scenic charms: Jabaquara beach.

Along the way, some of the key points of the northern part of the island followed one another, such as Praia da Armação, the Ponta das Canas lighthouse and Praia da Pacuíba.

The scenery became greener and more natural as we advanced along the north coast and, after skirting an imposing rocky inlet, we came across the small cove that protects the beach.

With its brownish-yellow sands and a leafy row of coconut trees, Jabaquara left the Adés so pleased with their return that some family members (the younger ones, of course) didn't even wait for the schooner to drop anchor and the boat to take them to the beach, to kill their nostalgias. . They simply dove and went swimming.

Jabaquara is a beach that delights any visitor but, as with the other 38 and other natural attractions of Ilhabela, it charges a high price, in bites.

Rubber sandwich shop sign

“Borrachudo” Sandwich Shop Sign pays homage to Ilhabela's most hated insect

The rubbery - a tiny but persistent vampire insect – it is a constant in life in Ilhabela, to the point where, in the village, there is a sandwich shop named in its honor.

During any visit to the island, either one reinforces the repellent layer with unerring regularity, or prepares the mind for days of itching and more itching.  

The natives have long opted for the second option and are so prepared that they no longer care. Don't think about achieving this karma within a few days of visiting. It's something you conquer over time. A long time.

South Coast: Interior Beauty but Mainly the Coast

Since we were staying on the coast facing Brazil, the only one with a paved road (which we traveled more than once a day) and after the tours we had already done, we clearly needed to explore the south of Ilhabela. That was the next plan to carry out.

The next day, we left early and went to take a look at the section that was from the ferry port down. With a much nicer look than the area to the north, there are small beaches or mere coves without sand: Praia da Feiticeira, Praia do Julião, Praia Grande, Praia do Curral.

Figure at Praia do Curral, Ilhabela, Brazil

I figure on the beach at Curral, on the west coast of Ilhabela.

To the opposite side, the scenery is grand. Imposing peaks that give way to long slopes lined with majestic trees.

Interestingly, the grandiose is also harmonious in this area of ​​the island. Something that not only the haughty domain of the lush mountains explains.

There are also the chapels overlooking the sea, the narrow road that seems to be swallowed up by vegetation at any moment and the discreet but friendly presence of Ilha das Cabras.

It's all this but so much more. We would still have to walk to the nearby fishing village of Bonete.

Passo do Lontra, Miranda, Brazil

The Flooded Brazil of Passo do Lontra

We are on the western edge of Mato Grosso do Sul but bush, on these sides, is something else. In an extension of almost 200.000 km2, the Brazil it appears partially submerged, by rivers, streams, lakes and other waters dispersed in vast alluvial plains. Not even the panting heat of the dry season drains the life and biodiversity of Pantanal places and farms like the one that welcomed us on the banks of the Miranda River.
manaus, Brazil

The Jumps and Starts of the former World Rubber Capital

From 1879 to 1912, only the Amazon River basin generated the latex that, from one moment to another, the world needed and, out of nowhere, Manaus became one of the most advanced cities on the face of the Earth. But an English explorer took the tree to Southeast Asia and ruined pioneer production. Manaus once again proved its elasticity. It is the largest city in the Amazon and the seventh in Brazil.

Florianopolis, Brazil

The South Atlantic Azorean Legacy

During the XNUMXth century, thousands of Portuguese islanders pursued better lives in the southern confines of Brazil. In the villages they founded, traces of affinity with the origins abound.

Morro de São Paulo, Brazil

A Divine Seaside of Bahia

Three decades ago, it was just a remote and humble fishing village. Until some post-hippie communities revealed the Morro's retreat to the world and promoted it to a kind of bathing sanctuary.
Ilhabela, Brazil

In Ilhabela, on the way to Bonete

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.
Esteros del Iberá, Pantanal Argentina, Alligator
Iberá Wetlands, Argentina

The Pantanal of the Pampas

On the world map, south of the famous brazilian wetland, a little-known flooded region appears, but almost as vast and rich in biodiversity. the Guarani expression Y bera defines it as “shining waters”. The adjective fits more than its strong luminance.
Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

At the first glimmers of light, the sight of the white mantle that had covered the village during the night dazzles us. With one of the toughest walks on the Annapurna Circuit ahead of us, we postponed the match as much as possible. Annoyed, we left Upper Pisang towards Escort when the last snow faded.
Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Architecture & Design
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
lagoons and fumaroles, volcanoes, PN tongariro, new zealand
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
drinks entre reis, cavalhadas de pirenopolis, crusades, brazil
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pirenópolis, Brazil

Brazilian Crusades

Christian armies expelled Muslim forces from the Iberian Peninsula in the XNUMXth century. XV but, in Pirenópolis, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the South American subjects of Carlos Magno continue to triumph.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
World Food

Gastronomy Without Borders or Prejudice

Each people, their recipes and delicacies. In certain cases, the same ones that delight entire nations repel many others. For those who travel the world, the most important ingredient is a very open mind.
Treasures, Las Vegas, Nevada, City of Sin and Forgiveness
Las Vegas, USA

Where sin is always forgiven

Projected from the Mojave Desert like a neon mirage, the North American capital of gaming and entertainment is experienced as a gamble in the dark. Lush and addictive, Vegas neither learns nor regrets.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Creel, Chihuahua, Carlos Venzor, collector, museum
Chihuahua a Creel, Chihuahua, Mexico

On Creel's Way

With Chihuahua behind, we point to the southwest and to even higher lands in the north of Mexico. Next to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc, we visited a Mennonite elder. Around Creel, we lived for the first time with the Rarámuri indigenous community of the Serra de Tarahumara.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Cape Espichel, Sanctuary of Senhora do Cabo, Sesimbra,
Albufeira Lagoon ao Cape Espichel, Sesimbra, Portugal

Pilgrimage to a Cape of Worship

From the top of its 134 meters high, Cabo Espichel reveals an Atlantic coast as dramatic as it is stunning. Departing from Lagoa de Albufeira to the north, golden coast below, we venture through more than 600 years of mystery, mysticism and veneration of its aparecida Nossa Senhora do Cabo.
Djerba Island of Tunisia, Amazigh and its camels
Djerba, Tunisia

The Tunisian Island of Conviviality

The largest island in North Africa has long welcomed people who could not resist it. Over time, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs called it home. Today, Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities continue an unusual sharing of Djerba with its native Berbers.
Passengers on the frozen surface of the Gulf of Bothnia, at the base of the "Sampo" icebreaker, Finland
Winter White
Kemi, Finland

It's No "Love Boat". Breaks the Ice since 1961

Built to maintain waterways through the most extreme arctic winter, the icebreaker Sampo” fulfilled its mission between Finland and Sweden for 30 years. In 1988, he reformed and dedicated himself to shorter trips that allow passengers to float in a newly opened channel in the Gulf of Bothnia, in clothes that, more than special, seem spacey.
shadow vs light
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Matukituki River, New Zealand
Wanaka, New Zealand

The Antipodes Great Outdoors

If New Zealand is known for its tranquility and intimacy with Nature, Wanaka exceeds any imagination. Located in an idyllic setting between the homonymous lake and the mystic Mount Aspiring, it became a place of worship. Many kiwis aspire to change their lives there.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Ribeiro Frio, Madeira, Vereda dos Balcões,
Natural Parks
Ribeiro Frio Forest Park, Madeira

Ribeiro Frio Acima, on the Path of Balcões

This region of the high interior of Madeira has been in charge of repopulating the island's rainbow trout for a long time. Among the various trails and levadas that converge in its nurseries, the Parque Florestal Ribeiro Frio hides grandiose panoramas over Pico Arieiro, Pico Ruivo and the Ribeira da Metade valley that extends to the north coast.
Guardian, Stalin Museum, Gori, Georgia
UNESCO World Heritage
Upplistsikhe e Gori, Georgia

From the Cradle of Georgia to Stalin's Childhood

In the discovery of the Caucasus, we explore Uplistsikhe, a troglodyte city that preceded Georgia. And just 10km away, in Gori, we find the place of the troubled childhood of Joseb Jughashvili, who would become the most famous and tyrant of Soviet leaders.
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
Princess Yasawa Cruise, Maldives

Cruise the Maldives, among Islands and Atolls

Brought from Fiji to sail in the Maldives, Princess Yasawa has adapted well to new seas. As a rule, a day or two of itinerary is enough for the genuineness and delight of life on board to surface.
The Crucifixion in Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

A Frigid-Scholarly Via Crucis

When Holy Week arrives, Helsinki shows its belief. Despite the freezing cold, little dressed actors star in a sophisticated re-enactment of Via Crucis through streets full of spectators.
End of the World Train, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On Rails
Ushuaia, Argentina

Last Station: End of the World

Until 1947, the Tren del Fin del Mundo made countless trips for the inmates of the Ushuaia prison to cut firewood. Today, passengers are different, but no other train goes further south.
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Ditching, Alaska Fashion Life, Talkeetna
Daily life
Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna's Alaska-Style Life

Once a mere mining outpost, Talkeetna rejuvenated in 1950 to serve Mt. McKinley climbers. The town is by far the most alternative and most captivating town between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.