Category Archives: Ilha do Mel

One of the World’s Most Important Coastal Ecosystems: Paraná, Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

This article was first published at the The Travel Word, who have agreed to its republication here. View the original article on The Travel Word.

Curitiba, the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, is the biggest city in Southern Brazil. It has the country’s eighth largest urban population, approximately 3.2 million people spread across 26 municipalities. It is also an important cultural, political and economic centre in Brazil.

Curitiba, the capital of the Brazilian state of Paraná, is the biggest city in Southern Brazil. It has the country’s eighth largest urban population, approximately 3.2 million people spread across 26 municipalities. It is also an important cultural, political and economic centre in Brazil.

"Vista panorâmica de Curitiba, da Torre daOI/Brasil Telecom"

From Curitiba's Telecom/Ol Tower, there is an unbeatable 360-degree panoramic view. There is also a telephone museum in the lower levels that attracts numerous visitors to this part of Brazil. Photo courtesy of Laura Lott from Flickr/whltravel

Despite its size, Curitiba is considered by some people to be an ‘unknown’ destination, especially when compared to São Paulo, Rio de JaneiroSalvador and other cities in Northeast Brazil. What most travellers do not even imagine is the exuberant flora and fauna found in the city and its surrounding areas, especially the wonderful islands on Paraná’s coastline.

Curitiba is located in an ‘ombrophilous mixed forest’ area also known as Araucaria moist forest, a sub-type of the Mata Atlântica or Atlantic Forest. The city is therefore fittingly famous for its green areas, like the Botanical Gardens and three greenhouses used for the annual production of native and exotic tree species, fruit plants and flower seedlings. Elsewhere there are thick populations of purple and yellow ipês (tabebuia) and Paraná or Brazilian pine (Araucaria angustifolia).

Biodiversity by Rail

To reach Paraná’s coast from Curitiba, you can go by car or take one of the most exciting train tours in the world across the Serra do Mar, one of the best-preserved Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest areas.

The incredible ecosystems of between Curitiba and Parana's Coast glide by during the train trip across the Serra do Mar, one of Brazil's best preserved Atlantic Rainforest areas. Photo courtesy of Carlos Renato Fernandes

Along the 110 kilometres of rail, the train traverses 14 tunnels, 30 bridges, and several mountains and viaducts. One highlight is the Viaduto do Carvalho, a segment of rail suspended on five masonry pillars above a hillside of rock; you almost feel like you are flying. Another unforgettable sight is a 70-metre waterfall called Véu da Noiva, which means ‘bride’s veil.’

Once you arrive in Morretes or Paranaguá, two historical and colonial towns located on the Paraná coast, you aren’t far from amazing landscapes, rich animal and vegetation biodiversity, spectacular bends, canyons, gorges, waterfalls and a lot more. You will also find the piers mooringboats to Superagui National Park and Ilha do Mel State Park and Ecological Station. Both are gorgeous islands offering up-close contact with the environment of the region, each of them with its own characteristics and peculiarities.

Ilha do Mel State Park and Ecological Station

Ilha do Mel is carpeted by the Atlantic Forest and home to two conservation units devoted to preserving the natural environment of the island. The Ecological Station covers approximately 95% of the island, focusing on scientific research and environmental educational. In addition to similar pursuits, the Ilha do Mel State Park is also open to the public for leisure and tourism.

Ilha do Mel, PR: Praia de Fora vista do Farol das Conchas

The Praia de Fora beach catches late afternoon light on the Ilha do Mel, a favourite island and state park on Paraná's Coast of Brazil. There is a strong focus on environmental preservation and education, as well as scientific research, but also public visitation, leisure and tourism. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Mendes Thomaz

The island is a perfect destination for hikers, bikers, surfers, nature lovers and anyone who just wants to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Beautiful beaches, rich flora and fauna, mangroves, lagoons, swamps and other interesting attractions such as the Fortress Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, the Lighthouse Farol das Conchas and Encantadas’s Grotto have turned the paradisiacal isle into one of the most visited places in Southern Brazil.

Superagui National Park

In 1989, environmental activism resulted in the creation of Superagui National Park, 21,400 protected hectares that are considered by the UN as one of the most important coastal ecosystems in the world. The park was also been declared by UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve in 1991 and a World Heritage Site in 1999.

Superagui National Park includes Ilha do Superagui and other small islands on Paraná’s coast such as Ilha das Peças, Ilha de Pinheiro, Ilha do Pinheirinho and some contiguous continental areas like the Rio dos Patos and Canal do Varadouro. Bays, beaches, mangroves and abundant Atlantic Forest compose the Superagui National Park ecosystem.

The lush vegetation of Brazil's Parana Coast, seen here at Superagui National Park, is why the area is considered by the UN as one of the most important coastal ecosystems in the world

The park is the natural habitat of a multitude of animal and plant species, some of them rare or endangered, such as the red-tailed Amazon (Amazona brasiliensis), the broad-snouted caiman(Caiman latirostris), the cougar (Felis concolor), the brown howler monkey (Alouatta fusca) and the Superagui lion tamarin (Leontopithecus caissara). This last one is a monkey species only been found on Superagui Island. Agoutis, deers, wild pigs, toucans, marine birds, jararaca and coral venomous snakes, among other animals, can also be found in the region.

On Ilha do Pinheiro, the roosting habits of the red-tailed Amazons are a strong draw. These endemic birds leave their nests in the morning to fly to the larger islands and then on to the continent, where they spend long daytime hours. They then flock by the hundreds back to the island at the end of the day, a natural spectacle not to be missed.

Another appealing animal is seen on the way to the park are dolphins. Wherever you end up, you are close enough to Baía dos Golfinhos (Dolphins Bay) at Ilha das Peças that you could see many groups of them. A dolphin-watching jaunt on Dolphins Bay is certainly a must-do when you go to Ilha do Mel State Park or Superagui National Park.

Along Paraná's Coast of Brazil, the endangered endemic red-tailed Amazon, or papagaio de cara roxa, perform their spectacular daily migration from Praia Deserta beach to the mainland and back. Photo courtesy of Guilherme Mendes Thomaz

There are also human settlements in the area, like the small fishermen communities on Ilha das Peças and Ilha do Superagui, where they run other businesses, such as pousadas and guesthouses, camping grounds, bars and restaurants. These locals live a life in sync with nature; unlike their counterparts on Ilha do Mel, Superagui locals also have less access to new technologies, which means that traditional costumes and dances, like the fandango(Paraná Coast’s popular dance), are preserved for future generations. Public access to the park is restricted, so you can only visit the communities, the beaches and their immediate surroundings.

The greatest land attraction of Superagui National Park is Praia Deserta, a 38-kilometre-long desert beach that can only be appreciated on foot (a four- to seven-hour hike) or by bicycle (rentals are available in the park).

For more about the wild nature, rich fauna and flora of Brazil’s Paraná Coast, contact Special Paraná, your whl.travel local connection in Curitiba and Paraná’s Coast, also an expert on the area’s accommodation, tours, activities and loads of local hints.

Guilherme Mendes Thomaz

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Filed under Ilha do Mel, Morretes, Paranaguá, Pictures, Superagui Island, Tours, Tours in Curitiba, Tours in Morretes, Tours in Paranaguá, Train Tour from Curitiba to Morretes, Train Tour from Curitiba to Paranaguá, Travel Tips

Ilha do Mel, Paraná: A Paradise in Southern Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Ilha do Mel, PR: Praia de Fora vista do Farol das Conchas

Ilha do Mel, PR: Praia de Fora vista do Farol das Conchas

Ilha do Mel is  one of the most beautiful travel destinations in Southern Brazil and it is considered a paradise on earth for many people. The island is located on Paraná’s Coast, around 4km from the coastal town of Pontal do Sul (120km from Curitiba, the capital of the brazilian state of Paraná). The island is a perfect place for all kinds of people and there is a lot to see and do.  Ilha do Mel receives lots os people from many countries, mostly responsable travellers, families, couples, teenagers, sufers, hikers, among others.

Boats to Ilha do Mel

The only way to reach the island is by boat, where you have the option to leave from Pontal do Sul (40 minutes), Paranaguá (1h45 minutes) and Morretes (1 hour). Boats leave daily from 8h00 to 17h00 every hour during low season and on summer time (December to March) there are departures every 30 minutes and the last boat leaves at 20h00 (departure times can be changed, so make sure to ask!). There are 2 pieers, Encantadas and Nova Brasília the same to access Praia Grande, Praia do Farol e Praia da Fortaleza, considered the nicest beaches and also where you will find the best surf spots on Paraná’s Coast.

Farol das Conchas, Ilha do Mel

Lighthouse "Farol das Conchas"

There is no streets or roads, just trails to give access to other beaches and places. No cars are allowed on the island, so if you would like to visit the other side of the island, the only way is to walk or biking for couple kilometters. If you prefer, you can also take the boat that goes side to side (Encantadas – Brasília and Brasília – Encantadas).

The island has 5 villages: Fortaleza, Nova Brasília ou Brasília, Farol, Praia Grande e Encantadas where locals live and run their busines, mostly pousadas, bars and restaurants. You can find great  pousadas on Ilha do Mel for every budget! Our staff visited all of them and selected for you the best pousadas to stay for each category (budget, midrange and top end). Click here to see  the pousadas we recomend to you on Ilha do Mel. You can see  complete information about pousadas like: pictures, prices, location and book online easily and safely!

Fortaleza Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres

The main touristic attractions on Ilha do Mel are the lighthouse Farol das Conchas, the fortress Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres, Encantada’s Cave and the isthmusthe in Nova Brasília.

For further and detailed information about Ilha do Mel, bookings, tours, weather, pictures, movies, events and more visit www.ilhadomel-travel.com.br or contact us: info@specialparana.com or +55 (41) 3232-1314

 

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Filed under Accommodation, Articles, Hotels, Ilha do Mel, Paranaguá

Surprise Yourself in Curitiba, Brazil

By Guilherme Mendes Thomaz@guimendesthomaz

Thinking about Brazil, Curitiba is not the first thing that comes in mind. The city has been surprising travelers from all over the world and is becoming popular over the years. Once in Brazil you can’t leave without going to Curitiba.

Ilha do Mel Farol

Ilha do Mel's light house

Curitiba is the capital city of Parana State, located 1 hour and 20 minutes from Rio de Janeiro and only 30 minutes from São Paulo by plane. The city is considered one of the best places to live in Brazil because of its great infrastructure. Doesn’t matter what your looking for, Curitiba is an awesome city for everyone and has a lot of interesting things to do/see like famous parks, museums, night clubs, restaurants, bars, soccer stadiums, squares, buildings, etc. There are also a lot of touristic attractions around the city like famous islands (Ilha do Mel and Ilha de Superagui), historic cities like Morretes, Antonina, Castro, etc.

First of all, Curitiba has a really fun and exciting nightlife, with plenty options of bars, nightclubs, pubs where the partying doesn’t stop until 5 or 6 in the morning. This added to the Brazilian partying and entertainer spirit, guarantee the night. Curitiba has also great options of restaurants that serve really good food and most of them are cheap. Besides the Brazilian stake houses as known as “Churrascarias” and typical Brazilian restaurants, the gastronomy in Curitiba is a synthesis of habits and cultures. Italian, Arabs, Poles, Germans, Portuguese, Japanese among many other, brought their habits, traditions and culinary to the city. However, since you’re in Brazil you must prove the delicious local culinary.

logo curitiba cidade sede fifa world cup 2014The city has three soccer teams. Atlético Paranaense plays the 1st division of the Brazilian Championship and Coritiba and Paraná play on the 2nd division. Watching soccer games is a really interesting and exciting experience in Curitiba, especially at Atlético’s stadium called “Arena da Baixada”. The stadium was selected to be one of the headquarters stadiums for the FIFA World Cup in 2014. At the stadiums you can feel the energy and passion that the Brazilians have for soccer and their teams.

Curitiba has so many tourist attractions. However, the highlights are Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden), the handcrafts market at Largo da Ordem, Oscar Niemeyer MuseumÓpera de Arame (Wire Opera House), Largo da Ordem (Old town), Tanguá Park, Barigui Park, Brasil Telecom/OI’s Tower, Passeio Público and the historical building of the Federal University of Paraná.

JardimnBotanico Curitiba Botanical Garden

The Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden of Curitiba) is modeled like the French Gardens is a great place to go stroll and relax. The parks are also a great option for that and locals enjoy a lot the green areas of Curitiba .

Feirinha do Largo da OrdemThe Feirinha do Largo da Ordem (handcrafts market) happens every Sunday at Largo da Ordem. At the market you can find local handcrafts and all kinds of food. Most tourists really like the fresh pastéis, caldo-de-cana (sugar cane juice), bolinho de bacalhau.

Museu Oscar Niemeyer - Oscar Niemeyer MuseumThere are always exhibitions of famous artists at the Oscar Niemeyer Museum . The museum was drawn by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and it’s architecture impress everyone that pass by the local. On the field behind the museum, on Saturday the kids practice football (yes…American footbal, NOT soccer) and on Sunday a lot of people go to the field to play with their dogs.

Visit the Torre da OI/Brasil Telecom is worthwhile. The tower has more than 100 meters , where you can have an amazing panoramic view of Curitiba.

UFPR - Universidade Federal do Paraná

At Praça Santos Andrade, located in downtown you can check the Teatro Guaíra and the beautiful building of the Federal University of Paraná , the first university in Brazil.

The Tourism Line in Curitiba is a great option for tourists. For R$20.00, the bus line pass by the main tourist attractions in Curitiba and gives you the option to stop off at three points of your choice. The buses circulate every 30 minutes, in an approximately 45 km trip that takes around 2.5 hours to complete.
Train_tour_Litorina_Curitiba_Morretes

The famous Litorina train tour from Curitiba to Morretes...

Once in Curitiba , the train tour to Morretes becomes a “must do”. The construction of the railroad in 1880 was one of the big challenges of that time for engineers. The track starts in Curitiba at 934 m above the sea and goes until Morretes just a few meters above sea level. It is one of the most impressive train rides of the world because of the tropical vegetation of the Atlantic Rain Forest , breathtaking bridges, turns and gorgeous landscapes.

This is just a really short description about Curitiba. For more information web sites like Descubra Curitiba and Viaje Curitiba are really helpful to tourists, however, they are in Portuguese. For english speakers  here you can find general and complete information in english about Curitiba and surrounding areas.

From:  Traveler article on Trip Advisor.

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Filed under Antonina, Articles, Curitiba, Ilha do Mel, Informations, Morretes, News, Restaurants, Superagui Island, Tours, Travel Tips

Sweet and Natural as Honey: Brazil’s Ilha do Mel

By Maureen Valentine

This article was first published at the whl.travel blog, who have agreed to its republication here. View the original article on the whl.travel blog.

Found off the coast of southeast Brazil, Ilha do Mel, which means Honey Island, is about as far from life’s chaos as serene nature can get. Hikers, surfers, bird watchers, stargazers and nature lovers alike are in awe of all that this little Atlantic island has to offer. In fact, many agree that Brazil’s most pristine beaches are located right here, where, until the 1970s, the local economy was dominated by fishermen and the lack of traffic spared the land as an ecotourism haven.

haha

As Ilha do Mel is an island of fishermen, this colourful pier is always full of activity. Sampling the abundance of seafood available in the eateries from the daily catches is always a treat.

As Ilha do Mel is an island of fishermen, this colourful pier is always full of activity. Sampling the abundance of seafood available in the eateries from the daily catches is always a treat.

Ilha do Mel is hardly a mass tourism destination, which is one of the things the locals and visitors love about it. Recently reconnected with the mainland –  electricity was introduced in 1998, as were regular boat shuttles, water pipes and other eco-friendly amenities – the island today is fortunately still car-free, a sandy knot of trails crisscrossing an ecological reserve protected by strict regulations on guesthouses, restaurants, stores and tourism. Even better, one guiding principle on the island – a long-term one – is to preserve the environment in its unspoiled state.

Building and Supporting Sustainable Infrastructure

Ilha do Mel is a relative newcomer as a tourism destination and is actively fine-tuning its infrastructure. Efforts are also being made to educate local business owners about business improvement opportunities that tap into tourism as a force for long-term sustainability and an improved standard of living.

Boats are a common sight around this oddly shaped island, since they are the only form of motorised transport. Travellers must reach the island by boat and can walk its expanses, taking in all the magnificent views.

Ilha do Mel boats

Boats are a common sight around this oddly shaped island, since they are the only form of motorised transport. Travellers must reach the island by boat and can walk its expanses, taking in all the magnificent views.

Within this framework, some guidance is being offered by Discover Paraná, the whl.travel local connection on Ilha do Mel, in cooperation with Sebrae, a non-governmental organisation that contributes to the sustainable development of communities by offering to micro and small enterprises the conditions necessary for their survival.

“Our main focus on Ilha do Mel is to train the local guesthouse owners,” explained Bibiana from Discover Paraná. “Together with Sebrae, we take part in meetings. On these occasions we explain to entrepreneurs what the Internet is, how Internet bookings can help them, how they can reach clients, what clients expect from them etc. Building up the entrepreneurs we will build up the destination, as they will be more aware about what they can do. With this done, a change in the destination will be a natural process.”

One local guesthouse owner, Carlos, is a community leader and involved with many programs, like the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘Bem Receber‘, which educates and incentivises entrepreneurs to create and run projects relating to responsible tourism, including water and energy saving, staff education and training, waste recycling and more. As a result of his participation in this program, Carlos’ pousada, Enseada das Conchas, as well as another lodge called Fim da Trilha, have succeeded in reducing the accommodations’ waste production. Travellers staying in these inviting, locally owned Ilha do Mel hotels and guesthouses are rewarded with the knowledge that efforts are being made to minimise the environmental impact their stay is having on the surrounding gorgeous gardens.

Getting Practical

Ilha do Mel is accessible only by boat from Paranaguá or Pontal do Sul. From Pontal do Sul, the 30-minute service runs every hour in low season, every 30 minutes otherwise. Cars can be left in Pontal do Sul, in parking lots from which public transport buses easily reach the dock. After 5pm, private boat transport must be arranged.

From Paranaguá, boats depart for the 90-minute crossing two to five times per day, depending on the season. The boat owners are organised in an association and all tickets include the price of the return trip, as well as a nature conservation fee of approximately US$2 dollars. All passengers arriving from Pontal do Sul must produce a badge showing that the fee has been paid.

pousadailhadomel_fortress_fortaleza

This fortress was built by the Dutch in 1767 to ward off English buccaneers. Its whitewashed walls are quite a remarkable site and tourists are welcome to peruse the dark, dreary jail, which is quite a contrast to the beauty of the rest of the island.

Upon arrival at the island’s dock, several men wearing uniforms (t-shirts) wait to assist travellers with luggage. Their services are priced at fixed rates, depending on the location of the guesthouse; haggling is not usual in Brazil. These helpers are also organised in an association and only the next worker in line is able to take luggage, a very helpful service for guests who don’t know their way around the island and will have difficulty toting their bags through the sand.

Travellers who can get by with a little Portuguese will find that guesthouse owners are more than willing to lead personalised Ilha do Mel tours that bring to life their little paradise in the Atlantic. Others will simply take pleasure in exploring the bountiful jungle or strolling along pristine, sandy beaches. Surf enthusiasts will find all their needs met by Fernando (from Pousada Treze Luas) and Zeco (from Grajagan Surf Resort), experienced surf instructors with boards for rent or lessons to teach.

The local cuisine is all about fish and seafood. Try the best of it at Mar e Sol, where the ‘Prato Surfista’ is highly recommended.

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Filed under Accommodation, Articles, Hotels, Ilha do Mel, Informations, Tours, Travel Tips

Inspiring Ilha do Mel: 10 Photos That Make You Want To Go To Ilha do Mel

1. Ilha do Mel
Makes you want to explore and enjoy every spot of this wonderful island.
by Priscilla Forone

by Priscilla Forone

2. Fisherman
Makes you want to experience and see the locals fishing. After that, you will taste the delicious local cuisine.
Taken by Priscilla Forone

Taken by Priscilla Forone

3. Surfing
Honey Island has beaches for every taste. The island got the best beaches and spots for surfing in Paraná coast!
by Priscilla Forone

by Priscilla Forone

4. Cave Encantadas
This cave is a place of legends, where beautiful mermaids attract men to the cave and never return home.
http://www.ilhadomel-travel.com.br/destination_guide#_511168409
5. Dolphins
The island has wildlife in abundance and in its natural habitat
6. The lighthouse
Makes you want to hike until the top of the hill, at the base of the lighthouse, and get a spetacular view of various beaches and also the point where the island separates
by Priscilla Forone

by Priscilla Forone

7.  Sunset
Sunset at Honey Island is amazing! It is worth to walk until the top of the hill to the base of the lighthouse to watch it.
sunset_ilhadomel_honeyisland_farol_parana
8. Fortaleza Fortress
It is the only fortress in the Paraná cost. It was built in 1769 to protect the Paranaguá bay from invasions and from here you will have an impressive view over the bay!
9. Beaches
There are miles of quiet white sands beaches to enjoy and relax on…
10. Tracks
Automobiles are not allowed in Honey Island. There are so many tracks and paths connecting the island and leading to beutiful beaches and places.

If you have more pictures, you can send to us and we will post them here as well.

Click here to book accommodation and tours at Honey Island / Ilha do Mel.

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Filed under Accommodation, Articles, Curitiba 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Hotels, Ilha do Mel, Informations, Paranaguá, Pictures, Tours, Travel Tips, WHL.travel

What do travelers and visitors say about Curitiba and Ilha do Mel ???

Nowadays, the Internet has been really important and helpful for the development and evolution of the tourism activity. The Internet trough websites, blogs, social networking sites and many others, allows travelers and people from all over the World to share their personal experiences, watch videos, look at pictures and get information in pretty much everything  that they look for and need to plan a trip like: book hotels, tours, plane tickets, car rentals, weather and all that…making the trip planning a lot more easier and faster.

We can also note that travelers and costumers have been more influinced for this kinds of information and are searching for these informal information firstly, instead of going to search for the formal information, in case, the travel agencies.

Following this tendency, caring about our destination and the quality of information about the state of Paraná, we select few articles and reviews about Curitiba and Ilha do Mel that travelers have posted on the Internet. You can take a look and get some extra information that the formal information does not give you.

Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

The article “Surprise yourself in Curitiba” and “Curitiba Background” are great articles written by a Tripadivsor members.

Here you can read an article written by Ken Conrad, albeit a senior citizen and returning student at California State University Northridge.

About the famous Ilha do Mel or Honey Island, we recomend you to read

Honey Island

Ilha do Mel, Paraná - Brazil

some reviews also posted in the Tripadvisor, the article “Curitiba Honey Island” and the “Must-dos list at Ilha do Mel” .

If you are planning on comming, I hope this post helps you and bring you to this awesome region of Brazil. For those who never tought about coming visit the state of Paraná in Brazil, I really hope that this post can change your mind and you are very welcome and you guys will not regret. For those of you that live here, all I want to say is that we are all very lucky and let’s keep the good job. Finally, for you that have been in Curitiba and Ilha do Mel, please share your experience with us…

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Filed under Accommodation, Articles, Curitiba, Hotels, Ilha do Mel, Informations, Pictures, Tours, Travel Tips