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An update from Evaneos

Ilhabela (Brazil)

Practical information on Ilhabela

  • Beach / Seaside Resort
  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Island
  • Mountain
  • Water Sports
  • Waterfall
  • Off the beaten track
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
A 15 minute boat trip from Sao Sebastiao
When to go
From October to April
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Ilhabela

Cathy Trichet Seasoned Traveller
45 written opinions

Ilhabela is an island close to Sao Sebastiao and is located 6 km off the Brazilian coast.

My suggestion:
There's a free shuttle service from Sao Sebastiao which takes you to Balsa, a small port on Ilhabela.
My review

I was lucky enough to arrive on Ilhabela by sailboat when I went to Brazil. We took a mooring in the island's port where a kind marineiro told us that we were allowed four days free of charge and that he would take us ashore in his boat. Excellent!

In the morning, we took a bus to Perequê. It's really the main village on the island. The sky was gray and a soft rain fell as we got off the bus. Fortunately, there was a self-service restaurant nearby, so we went for something to eat. We weren't sorry, because there was a fabulous buffet which was just as good to look at as it was to eat.

The rain had stopped when we came out, so we just wandered around the streets. We bought a few things and then headed back to Praïa da Vila.

Because we had the boat, we were able to go to beaches that were inaccessible by road and enjoy the wild landscape. Even the dolphins came to see us!

Street on ILHABELA
Adeline Haverland Seasoned Traveller
21 written opinions

"The Beautiful Island" does not belie its name. Away from Sao Paolo, Ilhabela is one of the main tourist spots for the inhabitants of the largest metropolis in South America.

My suggestion:
Beware of mosquitos!!!! Alongside sunscreen, mosquito repellent is indispensable for regular visitors to the island. The "borrachudos", as they are called here, can quickly spoil your stay.
My review

As soon as I arrived at São Sebastião to catch the boat, I knew Ilhabela would become one of my favourite spots. The 15 minute boat ride which separates the island from the mainland is enough to leave behind the stress of Sao Paolo where I lived at the time.

If the landing area did not give the best image of the city, by moving away from the main streets, I discovered the beautiful, almost deserted beaches. The south side of the island, well known among water sports enthusiasts, is far too popular with tourists for my tastes. On the other hand, the north side, only accessible in a 4x4, is where you will discover the beach of "Castellos", by far the most beautiful of Ilhabela. Warning, it is impossible to visit this part of the island without a guide. 

On this part of the island, uncrowded and with limited infrastructure, my guide showed me waterfalls where you can swim... A real breath of fresh air before returning to the centre of town for the evening where restaurants and bars are plentiful, especially during high season (July/August).

View from Ilhabela Town Centre