If ever an island was aptly named, it’s surely Ilhabela, the “beautiful island” that sits just off the coast of Brazil. When your South America cruise itinerary includes the island’s port city of Ilhabela, shore excursions whisk you to the best sights and scenes to ensure a taste of Brazilian beach life while ashore.
Guided Ilhabela shore excursions offer the perfect opportunity to learn about local history and culture, as well as soak up some warm Brazilian rays, on one of the island’s best beaches. Visit the village’s 16th century church and soak in panoramic views from Mirante do Barreiros, a scenic overlook. Afterwards, head to the beach to revel in the sun and surf, and relax at a waterfront café.
For those who can’t get in enough beach time, enjoy an Ilhabela cruise excursion that whisks you across the waters on a two-masted schooner bound for Jabaquara Beach. The winds and currents of the Channel of São Sebastião make for a bracing and exhilarating run, and the ride is made more thrilling by tales of pirates and privateers told by your able guide. Sunbathe on the soft sand after a refreshing swim.
Part of the area’s inherent beauty is its tropical wilderness, and Ilhabela shore excursions offer a chance to explore the Mata Atlantica Rainforest on a gentle guided hike through the forest’s lush interior. Once a vast tropical ecosystem that covered over half a million square miles in Brazil and parts of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, it is now only about seven percent of its original size due to deforestation and urban encroachment. As you walk, behold orchids, cacti, bromeliads, amphibians, and more than 800 bird species and 131 animal species, including the golden lion tamarin, which is only found in this ecosystem.
From your cruise to Ilhabela, explore the island’s natural landscapes while riding in a 4x4 vehicle that takes you through lush vegetation and along the coast for exquisite views of the sea and the island’s flora and fauna. When you arrive at Cachoeira dos Tres Tombos, “three waterfalls,” cool off in the refreshing spray as you watch water cascading in harmony from the three separate falls. Top off a South America shore excursion with some beach time at Curral Beach, one of Ilhabela’s busiest and most popular beaches, enjoying sun, surf, and the sounds of lively Brazilian music.