The Ilha do Mel is a pleasant surprise in Paraná´s coast and one of the most wanted tours for tourists in Curitiba. Summer is the best time for the beaches, with sunny days. But not only then: the island is great all over the year to escape the routine.
Paraná State has only 98 km coast and Ilha do Mel (Honey Island) is considered the best spo there! The rustic and exotic island belongs to Paranaguá and over 90% of if is under strict environmental protection.
Ilha do Mel is a place to leave all-day life behind - no cars or motorbikes in sight. The number of visitors is maximum 5,000 per day - not crowded even in high season.
The structure of the island is improved every year to welcome tourists. Many people still think of Ilha do Mel as a "hippie" place, but truth said, the level of services and prices increased considerably over the years. Yet it is still possible to find guesthouses and restaurants of a wide price range. You can even visit Ilha do Mel in just one day, camp or stay in a comfortable guesthouse. It will depend on your travel style and budget.
The island attracts mostly families, couples and young people that like to enjoy the nice beaches. Check out what you need to know about the island and will find here. We are sure that you will have an amazing experience there - to rest or just enjoy it!
Get ready for our dear island! Read in this article:
- Where is it and how to get to Ilha do Mel
- What to do on Ilha do Mel
- Map of Ilha do Mel
- Tours to Ilha do Mel departing from Curitiba
- When to travel to Ilha do Mel - best times
- Tips about where to stay on Ilha do Mel
- Reccommended restaurants on Ilha do Mel
- Where does the name Honey Island - Ilha do Mel come from
- Practical tips to enjoy llha do Mel
WHERE IT IS AND HOW TO ARRIVE TO ILHA DO MEL
Ilha do Mel is located about 120 km from Curitiba on Paranaguá bay, in the northern coast of Paraná State.
The next airport is Afonso Pena (CWB), in São José dos Pinhais, close to Curitiba. There are no buses or regular shuttle service from the airport to the island. You may contact us to book ahead.
The road BR-277 leads towards Paranaguá and then by Pontal do Sul.
There are no cars or motorbikes on Ilha do Mel - the only way to arrive there is by boat. Two departure places:
- Boats from Paranaguá to Ilha do Mel: about two hours in the boat that leave to Encantadas and Brasilia (two different parts of Ilha do Mel). There are few departure times and it is important that you know them before. For departure times and prices, check out Abaline.
- Boats from Pontal do Sull to Ilha do Mel (more often and faster): only 30 minutes boat riade and there are several parking lots in the area. Boats leave at specific departure times. You can see them and prices at the website of ABALINE. The return tickets can be bought in the departure place.
From Pontal do Sul you will also find speed boats to the island. With that, the travel time is only 5 to 8 minutes!
- Tip: sif you travel in a group or with family, it is better to hire a private boat that will be at your exclusive services in your time of preference - contact us for that!
After you decide if you reach the island from Paranaguá or from Pontal do Sul, another choice to make. The island is divided into two main "villages": Brasilia and Encantadas.You will know more about them later, but before you catch the boat, be sure to be riding the right one.
The experience with the island begins right on the boat. It is a great opportunity for pictures and if you are lucky, maybe you can even spot dolphins close to the boat. Enjoy the landscape and get into the island mood.
WHAT TO DO ON ILHA DO MEL
Long beaches make Ilha do Mel a great spot for tourists in Paraná. There are five small villages - Fortaleza, Brasilia, Farol, Praia Grande and Encantadas - each of them with something special. The most visited places are: Farol das Conchas (Lighthouse), Fortaleza (Fortress), and Gruta das Encantada (Grotto),all with history and natural beauties.
The lighthouse is located on the side called Brasilia and from the top of the hill you will see almost the whole island. The landscape is definitely worth the 144 steps! On this side of the island you will also see the Fortress. It is a place of much history and presently, it has canons with high walls, with impressing views to the ocean. You arrive there walking a bit more, but you can also rent a bike - some guesthouses have this service. For the more adventure lovers, it is worth to go up the trail at Morro da Baleia (Whale hill), behind the fortress to arrive at a Canon´s Labyrinth.
On the other hand, Cave, as the name says, is located in Encantadas.The beach is almost desert and the cave makes the place very special. It is for hiking lovers with a good physical conditionthe tip is to hike between Praia Grande and Encantadas Cave. Ask before about tides! You will walk on the rocks and it can be dangerous during high tides!
The most famous beaches are Praia Grande and Praia do Farol. Some beaches are considered the most beautiful ones in Paraná State for surfing. It is possible to rent surf boards or stand-up paddle or even schedule a surf class there. Most local children and teenagers surf!
Do no worry about carrying beach chairs or umbrellas. You can rent them there in some guesthouses. If you fancy beach service, some places other that as well with beverages and snacks. We reccommend to stay at Praia de Fora, where you will have this service at Astral da Ilha or Treze Luas. This service is usually available in busier days. In low season, you must ask directly at the restaurant.
At each step on the sand trails of Ilha do Mel you will be further away from stress and all-day life. Do not forget your mobile or camera for pictures!
MAP OF ILHA DO MEL
See on the map below where the beaches and attractions of the island are located. The distance chart will help you plan better:
To visit the attractions of the island, besides taking a boat, you can also walk. Ask about the tides before starting the trails with rocks. See the distance chart and difficulty level of each trail:
|One way||Average time||Distance||Difficulty level|
|Encantadas - Brasilia||2 hours||6 km||Medium (with rocks)|
|Brasilia - Lighthouse||30 minutes||2 km||Medium (with steps)|
|Brasilia - Fortress||1 hour||4 km||Easy|
|Brasilia - Ponta Oeste||3 hours||10 km||Easy|
|Encantadas - Fortress||3 hours||10 km||Medium (with rocks)|
|Encantadas - Lighthouse||2,5 hours||8 km||Medium (with rocks)|
TOURS TO ILHA DO MEL DEPARTING FROM CURITIBA
As the island is not far from Curitiba, it is very usual to find tourists who like to combine both destinations.
If you want to have a good trip and enjoy the island at most with a tour guide or if you do not have much time, we have two suggestions:
Ilha do Mel Ilha do Mel Complete.
Enjoy the island at most departingfrom Curitiba. Visit Encantadas Cave, the Lighthouse, Praia de Fora and Praia do Farol. If you are willing to walk more, the Fortress is a good options. Four your comfort and to be fast and flexible,the tour is made in a fast boat. The tour Ilha do Mel Complete must be booked ahead and can be done everyday.
Watch the video below and see how this tour is:
Ilha do Mel (1 day)
Private tour the day you prefer. It includes transportation from Curitiba, regular boat to Nova Brasilia OR Encantadas and a tour guide. We reccommend to visit the Lighthouse, but as it is a private tour, you can visit wherever you prefer. The private tour to Ilha do Mel can be made any day of the week and must be booked before.
Train tour and Ilha do Mel (1 day)
If you like to visit as many places as possible in a short period of time, this tour is a very good alternative. For you to spend as much time on the island as possible, as soon as the train arrives in Morretes, the guide will drive you to the boat and you will have a snack on the way. The price depends on the number of participants. The Train Tour and Ilha do mel happens when the train tour departs - usually from Friday to Sunday - and must be booked in advance.
BEST TIMES TO VISIT ILHA DO MEL
Ilha do Mel is a destination for the whole year. It is a place for nature lovers, hiking and rustic beaches. In case you prefer to know the average temperatures and when the days are sunnier, here some useful information:
According to the website weatherspark, the temperatures on Ilha do Mel vary from°C to 30°C and is rarely less than 11 °C or warmer than 33 °C.
The warmest season on Ilha do Mel goes from half December to end March, when the average temperature is°C. Although it is the cloudest period, and therefore, subject to more frequent rain fall. The average water temperature is about 25°C during the day.
The time of the year with the mildest temperatures on Ilha do Mel goes from end May to end September, with average temperature of 23°C. Despite the lower temperatures, it is the sunnier period with less probability of rain. From middle June to end September, the average temperature in the water is 20°C.
If you prefer cloudier days, but not necessarily rain fall, the best time of the year is from middle April to end September.
WHERE TO STAY ON ILHA DO MEL
We already mentioned that Ilha do Mel is divided in two areas: Brasilia and Encantadas. There is not an specific advantage between them, but to help in your choice where to go we can tell that most attractions of the island are in Brasilia. Shops and guesthouses are further away from each other, but you will find many nice options there. Encantadas has a great structure and the walking distances are shorter.
Choosing one "village', you will be able to visit both if you plan accordingly - unless you are short of time. There are boats linking both sides or if you like hiking, you can go walking.
Hot tip! If you only have time for a day tour to Ilha do Mel and wish to visit both sides, we strongly reccommend the tour Ilha do Mel Complete.You will enjoy the tour with a guide and private boat.
If you plan to stay more than one day, check the available options may help to choose between Brasilia and Encantadas. Both have budget and more comfortable options.
Guesthouses in Brasilia:
- Astral da Ilha - few meters from Praia de Fora. Theme rooms with special decoration and also other rustic ones at Suites da Figueira, just behind the main structure. Very cool for couples!
- Grajagan - just in front of Praia Grande. Rooms with much space in varied configurationos, some that fit families. It is more isolated, perfect for people who like quiet places.
- Treze Luas - few meters from Praia de Fora. Standard and superior rooms an wide common area.
- Enseada das Conchas - some meters from Praia do Farol and one of the quietest ones on the island. Only 4 rooms and does not accept young children and babies. Very nice and fresh breakfast!
Guesthouses in Encantadas:
- Fim da Trilha - nice rooms. The restaurant there is considered one of the best on the island and is family managed.
- Caraguatá - wooden rooms downstairs and upstairs, very close to the arrival pier. Great if you do not want to walk a lot.
- Orquídeas - a hidden spot with small rooms and other in the main area. It has a small green area and is good for families.
There are many other options! Before booking, we reccommend to check the reviews at Tripadvisor to check out the traveller opinions.
RESTAURANTS ON ILHA DO MEL
Seafood is widely appreciated on Ilha do Mel! But if you do not like it, you will find other options, including vegetarians. Everything is close and you may walk from a place to another until find something you like. Some guesthouses have great restaurants. The prices vary a lot and if you want a nicer place, it can be expensive.
- Astral da Ilha: try "risottos", their own brand of craft beer and also the hibiscus caipirinha.
- Mar & Sol: the most traditional option on Ilha do Mel. Try "prato executivo" - very well served. A portion for 1 feed 2.
- Grajagan: good pizza and other options. Nice for a lunch withour hurry if you are at Praia Grande and want to skip the sun.
- Beehouse: hamburguers there are great - served with small potatoes (yummy). Try also the pies, especially "Maracolate" - a mixture of passionfruit and chocolate.
- Café das Meninas: option for a snack in a charming place on the trail between the pier and the beaches.
- Fim da Trilha: one of the most famous restaurantes on the island, in a quiet corner.
ILHA DO MEL: WHERE DOES THE NAME COME FROM?
There are several theories about the source of the name Ilha do Mel (Honey Island). Fact is that 1666 Ilha do Mel was already mentioned in official documents about the cession of the area. The village of Paranaguá was founded only 22 years before - in 1644!
- Of the most common theories, the more likely is that in former maps the island was noted as "Mehl". Back then, many cartographers were German and the German word for flour is Mehl. In Portuguese Mel is honey. The island was probably a place with ships could stop to buy flour.
- Other theory is that the reason is the color of the water - looked like honey in some places.
- It is said also that former sailors cultivated bees here and sold their honey;
- Other name quoted is that an Admiral Mehl had a house on the island.
- The most absurd theory is that the island was a "honeymoon" place for slaves.
PRACTICAL TIPS TO ENJOY ILHA DO MEL AT MOST
- Avoid trolleys
Due to the sand trails, this kind of luggage is not practical at all and it can be damaged easily. Prefer small bags, such hand luggage or backpacks.
About luggage, bring only what you might need. If you stay in a guesthouse, be sure you are comfortable with the distance. The less luggage you carry, the easier it will be. If you carry much luggage, you may hire a carrier at arrival. There is a price table and it depends on the distance.
- Prefere to bring light and comfortable cloths
During summer times, Ilha do Mel is very warm. Bring light and comfortable clothes. The same for shoes: heels are not reccommended at all! Do not forget swimsuits to enjoy the beach! During the rest of the year, bring a light jacket and trousers i case it gets cold in the evening. Do not forget sunblock and mosquito repellent
- Walk only in the trails
Walk always in the existing trails. To make new trails or walk in the woods is dangerous, bad for the environment and you might get lost. Walk with a flashlight in the evening.
- Take cash and medicine you might need
Você não vai encontrar caixas eletrônicos e nem farmácias na Ilha do Mel. Para garantir, leve uma quantia reserva em dinheiro, além de cartões de débito ou crédito. Restaurantes e pousadas costumam aceitar cartão de crédito e de débito, mas passeios de barco, delivery de pizza e outras despesas terão que ser pagas em dinheiro. Não há caixa eletrônico na Ilha do Mel. Para alguma emergência, você poderá sacar dinheiro pagando uma “taxa” no mercado próximo ao trapiche de Brasília.
Do not forget the medicine you need. Cell phone signal is not available everywhere - but who cares? You are there to unwind...
- Pay attention when getting in the sea
Essa é uma recomendação importante. Antes de entrar no mar, informe-se com os moradores ou com o guia de turismo que vai acompanhar você durante o passeio ou com a pousada em que você ficará sobre os lugares mais apropriados. Há lugares com muitas pedras e correntezas que podem tornar um simples banho de mar em algo muito arriscado. Sua segurança em primeiro lugar!
- Respect the nature
You have already noticed that Ilha do Mel is worth preserving! It is your responsability as visitor as well! Do not litter, do not feed animals and take fast showers. Some attitudes that will make your trip a responsible one.