Oct 25, 2010

A taste of honey: Ilha do Mel , a sweet island.

by Antonella Kann

I had heard about the Ilha do Mel a long time ago. Sort of place you tell yourself “one day I shall go”. But it took me ages. Finally, by mid September, there came the opportunity.

Located in the southern State of Paraná, this tiny island is the sort of haven to visit off peak, as in high season its golden beaches are overcrowded by tourists from nearby capital, Curitiba.

Before booking our pousada Grajagan Surf Resort (www.grajagan.com.br) - I browsed the net to search for the more starred accommodations. Unfortunately, there were none to be found.

Note that although I love being pampered, I am not the kind of person to sulk about the rusticity of a hotel or complain easily about whatever caveats there might be found in a room, but I knew that this destination had been definitely launched by hippies and surfers, a brand of visitors whose interpretation of comfort or luxury do not go beyond peaceful sights and perfect waves – respectively.

As we headed in the taxiboat to cross from the continent to the island, the weather turned grey and rainy. I had checked and was aware that we might run into a cold weekend and this worried me. There would be nothing to do if the temperature dropped even a couple of digits. September is not a warm month in the south of Brazil.

If you have a penchant for natural environment and preserved hippie era atmosphere, the Ilha do Mel has it all. The whole island is car free, with sandy streets, scattered villages with fishermen´s houses and a handful of simple inns and lodges, art crafts sold in tourist shops near the harbors.

Lucky us, next morning the sun made its appearance against all predictions. So, after a hearty breakfast we planned our day: a long walk around part of the island, exploring a couple of well known touristic sites like the Encantada´s Cavern. Along the way, extensive stretches of white sandy beaches.

I would call the Ilha do Mel a refuge for those seeking an escape from civilization, but not a place to be in summer or during holiday period. Nature lovers will not want to share the island with hundreds of visitors. If ever there´s a time to go, choose March through November.

A world away from hip seaside resorts and other trendy beach temples, the “honey island” also attracts surfers in search of good waves year-round.

Although we had fun, I left the island with a sweet and sour aftertaste. In order to attract another type of visitors – and more investments - local authorities should reinvent the facilities and give the accommodations as well as the restaurants a makeover.

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  1. "A Makeover"...???? Did you ever stop to think that it's anal tourists like yourself that the locals would wish to keep off the island? Your capitalistic mentality is non other then pathetic. What keeps Ilha do Mel so special is because they have been able to keep people like you away! Welcome to our island....now go home!

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