Ilhabela City Tour and Toca Waterfall
- Guided sightseeing: Ilhabela island's main town has the same name and a quaint colonial charm. You'll pause at Barreiro point for postcard-perfect views of the sailboats in the harbor and the mainland across the water.
- The power and the glory: Visit the old power station, which is practically a museum from electricity's early days, and a small church built in 1806 with a strikingly beautiful altar.
- Toca Waterfall: Toboggan down these beautiful falls on a lush mountain slope above town. A sugar mill nearby once distilled cachaca, the rum in Brazil's national cocktail.
About this Ilhabela tour
In modern times, Ilhabela is a popular getaway for Brazilians and foreign tourists, but it was also a favorite of pirates and privateers back in the 1500s. What wasn't to love? It had calm waters to moor their ships, an abundance of rainforest resources, and shoreline nooks and coves that provided perfect cover for lightning ambushes of unsuspecting commercial vessels.
Perhaps the most infamous of this lawless lot was Englishman Thomas Cavendish. While in the service of Queen Elizabeth on Christmas Eve, 1591, he led a squadron of five ships and 400 men to Ilhabela and imprisoned the entire population hardly a difficult undertaking, since everyone was in church.
The English pirates looted the village but stuck around for a few months (you'll likely feel the same reluctance to leave) before returning to sea. A storm at the southern tip of the continent sunk two of Cavendish's ships, so he returned to Ilhabela with one of his remaining galleons. Memories of Christmas past no doubt brought a cold chill to the beleaguered villagers. Their salvation came when a Portuguese war fleet arrived and Cavendish fled.
He would return to Ilhabela once more, but died in what may have been a mutiny. He was just 31. Ultimately, a large number of his crew wound up staying on Ilhabela, accounting for at least some of the blond, blue-eyed fishermen that live on the island to this day. They wouldn't be the last visitors who found "the beautiful island" to captivating to leave.
Plantation owners began serving cachaca (pronounced "ka sha sa") to their slaves more than 400 years ago after noticing the drink would increase their strength. It's hard to say if that vigor came from the sugarcane juice or the alcohol produced by fermenting and distilling it. Today it's a symbol of Brazilian identity, and the main ingredient in the caipirinha, Brazil's national cocktail.
On a cruise ship? Meet your driver on the pier, in front of the ship. Please look for the GoBe Representative holding our logo sign with your name. Staying at a hotel? Be sure to advise the GoTo Crew so we can meet you in the lobby.
Space is limited, so please reserve early. Credit cards are accepted on the restaurants at the beach.
Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, or steep terrain. This tour is not wheelchair accessible due to the content of the locations visited.
Adventure, Family Friendly, Cultural, Scenic
13-seat air-conditioned vans or 20-seat mini coaches
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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