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Ilhabela

(4.3/5 based on 15,000+ reviews for top 30 attractions)
Things to do: beaches, nature, trails

Capital of Sailing

Translated as "beautiful island," Ilhabela has the natural landscape to live up to its name. Located 6.4 km (4 mi) off the coast, the island offers picturesque areas of UNESCO-protected jungle, many attractive waterfalls and rivers, and a selection of secluded sandy beaches. The waters off the island's coast support a whole host of marine life, and whale watching trips, snorkeling, and diving rank among the most popular things to do in Ilhabela. On land, walking tours and other ecotourism experiences can acquaint you with the diverse list of natural inhabitants, including capuchin monkeys and toucans. Make your own Ilhabela vacation itinerary, with a little help from those that know the place like the back of their hands, by using our Brazil trip builder.
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Where to stay

With much of the island protected against overdevelopment, all but a handful of accommodations are found on the western coast of Ilhabela. There, upscale hotels with plenty of private grounds lie to the north or south of the main town. Look in the town itself for the main budget-friendly options, with characterful pousadas (guesthouses) the most popular option. The island can be pretty busy during peak seasons (especially summer, December to March), so booking ahead is essential. With the mainland so close, you can easily hop on the ferry back to Sao Sebastiao to sleep.
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