Ilha do Mel is an island located at the northeast coast of the state of Paraná, in Brazil.
The island is a natural reserve, full of natural wonders, exuberant plant life and historical buildings. It's one of the most wonderful places I have ever been in my life, wild, romantic, peaceful ... you name it. You can feel yourself lost in a distant past, where the world was still young, and earth was still not being destroyed by humankind. Actualy, the inhabitants of the island take natural preservation very serious, and it's not uncommon to see one of them calling a turrist into account for dumping garbage (beer can's etc) on the flood.
The only way to get to the island is by boat. There are no cars on the island, do you have to leave your's at Pontal do Sul (2.5 miles from the island). There is plenty of parking space just next to the harbour where you will take your boat. But be careful, couse there is limit on the number of tourist that can be on the island on the same time. Always calls in advance for reservation.
Pontal do Sul is the best place to get a regular boat (a kind of ferry) to the island, but you can also start your boat trip from Paranaguá. The boat trip is 30min from Pontal do Sul, and 1:30 from Paranaguá.
Paranaguá is about one hour and a half (car trip) from Curitiba (nearest big airport, capital of the state), and you can add another 30minutes (still by car) to reach Pontal do Sul. The road is pretty good, but you can find some heavy truck trafic during post harvest time (there is a big commercial harbour in Paranaguá).
Historical places you must visit:
- Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres - Historical fortress build in 1767 by orders of the king of Portugal.
- Farol das Conchas - Lighthouse build in 1872, still operating.
There are several inns you can stay, but only one real hotel. Camping is also an option, although I think the best way to stay there is at one of the inns. There is only one I know well enough to recomend.That is the Pousada Praia do Farol (www.praiadofarol.com.br), which is very good, specially regarding the food they serve. There is also a computer with internet access (dial-up) on the second flood, which is actualy where the owners live. But they will let you use it without a problem. They are very nice, and all you need is to ask. The owner name is Guilherme, and the inn is also known as "Pousada do Guilherme" (Guilherme's Inn). He, his wife and daughter are wonderful people, and a fair sample of the people of the island.
Ilha do Mel is definitively the nearest place to heaven you can find on earth.