Accommodations and Food
Accommodations in Ilha do Mel mostly fall largely into two categories: rustic and exceedingly rustic. In general, Encantadas’s pousadas are more modern, while those in Nova Brasília are simpler but more charming. For all-out isolation, try the handful of basic offerings on Praia da Fortaleza.
In summer and during holidays, Ilha do Mel’s pousadas fill up fast and reservations are a must. Often, there is a minimum stay of 2–3 nights. In terms of nourishment, fish and seafood are the culinary mainstay. Although you’ll find no shortage of restaurants in both Nova Brasília and Encantadas, the most memorable meals can often be found in pousadas.
Just off Nova Brasília’s pier, Pousadinha (Praia do Farol, tel. 41/3426-8026, www.pousadinha.com.br, R$40–70 d) offers attractive wooden lodgings nestled in a nicely landscaped garden. Two large “lunar” rooms can accommodate groups of up to six. The staff is friendly and you can rent surfboards, bikes, and boats. The pretty Restaurante Pousadinha (noon–9 p.m. daily, R$15–25) serves tasty local fare for lunch and Italian dishes at dinner.
A more romantic option is the Pousada das Meninas (Praia do Farol, tel. 41/3426-8023, www.pousadadasmeninas.com.br, R$130–150 d), a collection of charming though somewhat cramped bungalows (housing 2–6 people) ingeniously constructed from organic and recycled materials and decorated with whimsical flair. Bikes, surfboards and other water-sports equipment can be rented.
One of the island’s newest pousadas is Canto da Figueira (Praia de Fora, tel. 41/3426-8127, www.cantodafigueira.com.br, R$150 d), named after the large fig tree that dominates the verdant garden. Rooms are quite comfortable with lots of wood, gleaming bathrooms, and stone steps leading up to a mezzanine where there is an extra bed.
On deserted Praia Grande, more than just serious wave aficionados will appreciate the Grajagan Surf Resort (Praia Grande, tel. 41/3246-8043, www.grajagan.com.br, R$160–320), owned and operated by a die-hard surfer. Accommodations in brick bungalows are fairly modest (especially considering the hefty prices). The best (and most expensive) face the sea and boast great verandas that look out over jungle and the beach.
Located on the trail that leads to the Praia de Fora das Encantadas, Pousada Fim da Trilha (Encantadas, tel. 41/3426-9017, www.fimdatrilha.com, R$150–180 d) is one of the nicer options. Surrounded by greenery, rooms offer amenities such as hot running water, air-conditioning, and a DVD player. Its restaurant, the Restaurante Fim da Trilha (noon–4 p.m. and 8–10:30 p.m. daily, R$20–35), serves up some of the best seafood on the island. Specialties include lobster à moda da casa, calamari with seafood cooked in beer, and a copious paella.
Closer to Novo Brasília, Restaurante Sol e Mar (Praia de Fora, tel. 41/3426-8021, 11 a.m.–close daily, R$25–40) is renowned for inventing moqueca da Ilha do Mel, a local version of the classic Bahian fish and seafood stew.
© Michael Sommers from Moon Brazil, 2nd Edition