There’s something very special about looping around the whole island. It is more challenging than our other two kayak tours and you’ll feel a great sense of achievement when you’ve done it.
Begin by paddling up to and around the Fortaleza de São Sebastião and then continue parallel with the Contra Costa. On this side of the island it’s possible to catch a few waves and take your time to enjoy excellent snorkelling at Ilha Gardens. Then it’s on to the second Fortaleza and church of São António, beautifully positioned on a headland at the end of a sandy beach and busy fishing village.
The fascinating Fortaleza de São Lourenço is the next port of call. It is the least visited of Ilha’s 3 fortalezas because of its location on its own separate island at the southern most tip. Here we take the opportunity to enjoy refreshments and if you’re feeling adventurous you can climb up the rocky cliff onto the island and take a look around.
After São Lourenço paddle past the 3 cemeteries and under the bridge that connects Ilha to the mainland.
Then make your way towards the bairros and the bustling beach where the big fishing boats bring their catch ashore. Weave in and out of all manner of sea craft and try to dodge the kids who swim out for boleia (a free ride). Continue past the crumbling grandeur of the World Heritage buildings: the old quarantine station, the Capitania, the Memorial Slave Garden and the outstanding Green Mosque.
Finally wind your way through the mangroves and back to the starting point at Ilha Blue.
Kayaking gives you a great sense of freedom, you travel at your own pace and stop whenever you want. Keep your eye out for dolphins – they love to play around in the bay and this is your chance to do the same. Slip off your kayak and have a swim or dive down to reef, ‘raft up’ at sea while your guide tells stories of the old trading days, sea battles and sunken treasure.