Ilha dos Frades – History, Beaches and Tourist Spots

Ilha dos Frades na Baia de Todos os Santos
Ilha dos Frades

Ilha dos Fradesis one of those small paradises that has conquered the ecotourism public. A perfect place to enjoy nature on outings with friends and family.

The Ilha dos Frades is the second largest in the Bay region.

The island of Frades is the second largest in the region of Baía de Todos os Santos and has places with preserved Atlantic Forest.

Hidden paradise in Bahia, Ilha dos Frades enchants by its beauty and history and has officially become a neighborhood of Salvador.

In addition to history and beauty, Ilha dos Frades demonstrates how to preserve what it has best, its environment.

Visitors enjoy the clear and calm sea of the Baia de Todos os Santos, in addition to the beaches, landscapes, cuisine and historical architecture attract Bahians and tourists.

From the top of the church of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe it is possible to see the calm waters that surround Ilha dos Frades, located in the Baia de Todos-os-Santos.

Surrounded by Atlantic Forest, the small paradise, which is eight kilometers long, occupies a territory that resembles the shape of a 15-pointed star. On each of them is a beach.

Atracadouro na Ilha dos Frades
Atracadouro na Ilha dos Frades

The natural attributes are such that in 1982, Ilha dos Frades was considered an ecological reserve.

Coconut groves, mountains, lakes, waterfalls and a typical vegetation of the Atlantic Forest, with the existence of native trees, including the brazilwood, make this piece of land, an ecological sanctuary. All this remains quite preserved.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Loreto na Ilha dos Frades
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Loreto na Ilha dos Frades

A rustic and natural climate still reigns on the island. Electricity, for example, only arrived in 2003. Before that, everything was lit by candlelight and generators.

According to legend, the island received this name after the Tupinambás Indians who inhabited the region murdered two friars who went to the island to catechize them. The name caught on and to this day residents sustain this story.

A warehouse where incoming slaves were quarantined, a flour house and a lazaredo, all in ruins, keep a bit of the island’s history.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe na Ilha dos Frades
Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe

View the map of Baía de Todos os Santos

Presence of religious  can be seen in the two churches on the Ilha dos Frades

  • Our Lady of Loreto, built between 1640 and 1645 by Francisco da Costa, owner of the island at the time. In 1756 it underwent major renovations,
  • There is little information about the foundation of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Friar Agostinho de Santa Maria stated in 1711: “This house of the Lady is very old, and so there is no longer any memory, nor is it known when it was founded; but it is said that the founder was called Domingos Rodrigues, and that he was extremely devoted to this Lady, who was the Lord of those lands.”

Videos about the Frades Island

Beaches of Ilha dos Frades

Mapa da Ilha dos Frades
Mapa da Ilha dos Frades

The Ilha dos Frades is shaped like a 15-pointed star, with many deserted beaches and calm seas.

Corals and reefs form stretches suitable for diving, with a maximum depth of 11 meters and visibility of up to 15 meters horizontally.

Among the most famous beaches are Ponta de Nossa Senhora, Loreto, Paramana and Viração.

Ponta de Nossa Senhora na Ilha dos Frades
Ponta de Nossa Senhora na Ilha dos Frades

1. Ponta de Nossa Senhora

The most popular and famous of the local beaches, Ponta de Nossa Senhora is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. The sea without waves is ideal for children.

On the sand, tents serve tourists cold beer and seafood dishes. Located in the north of the island, it is on this beach that most schooners dock. On Sundays, the place is quite busy.

Enjoy the visit and climb the Morro de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, where you will find the ruins of the church of the same name. There you have the best view of the beach.

Pequeno cemiterio ainda existe nas ruinas da Igreja Nossa Senhora do Guadalupe na Ilha dos Frades
Pequeno cemiterio ainda existe nas ruinas da Igreja Nossa Senhora do Guadalupe na Ilha dos Frades

2. Loreto Beach

In the center of the island are the beaches of Loreto and Paramana.

Loreto beach is known for the large natural pool that appears at low tide, great for diving.

On the south side, in a small cove, is the picturesque Church of Our Lady of Loreto, which is also worth a visit.

Praia de Loreto na Ilha dos Frades
Coqueirais enfeitam a Praia de Loreto
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Loreto na Ilha dos Frades
Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Loreto ainda está preservada

3. Paramana Beach

Praia de Paramana na Ilha dos Frades
Praia de Paramana na Ilha dos Frades

Paramana is very busy on weekends and concentrates some tents that offer comfort to tourists. It has a small village, known by the same name, with houses of native fishermen and vacationers.

The natural pools and a stretch of Atlantic Forest, with streams and waterfalls, are other attractions of this beautiful beach.

The most deserted of the beaches has Atlantic Forest, rock formations with an extensive coconut grove as a frame, white sand and a lot of tranquility.

4. Praia da Viração

Praia da Viração na Ilha dos Frades
Praia da Viração é praticamente deserta

Viração beach has become a favorite for nudists and those who want to be in touch with nature without interference from man. There is no infrastructure on site.

The sea has the same characteristics throughout the region, allowing delicious baths at any stage of the tide.

5. Tobar Beach

Tobar Beach is one of the most beautiful on the island, surrounded by Atlantic forest, with transparent waters and coral reefs that form crystal clear natural pools during low tide.

From Praia do Tobar the bather can still walk along a short ecological trail until reaching Praia do Tobazinho, ideal for those who like peace and quiet, since the strip of sand is practically deserted.

6. Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe Beach

Praia da Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe
Praia da Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe

The most popular beach on the island, Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe Beach is located at the northern end of Ilha dos Frades, in a region of intense blue sea and warm waters.

Beachgoers will find excellent infrastructure in the region, with several restaurants and beach huts offering showers, toilets, umbrellas and beach chairs.

Take advantage of your visit to the beach to visit the charming Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, built in the 17th century.

You’ll need to take your breath to climb the 136 steps of the little church, but the effort is rewarded by an indescribable view that reaches Praia da Viração.

In addition, Ponta de Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe Beach is the only one on Ilha dos Frades with a blue flag, one of the most important ecological parks on the planet.

This means that the beach has been approved in at least 34 requirements of socio-environmental preservation, such as tourist infrastructure, preservation of native forest, quality of sea water, among others;

History of Ilha dos Frades

According to data, the name “Frades”, which gives the island its name, comes from a tragic story.

Ilha dos Frades na Bahia
Ilha dos Frades in Bahia

According to religious reports, after saving themselves from a shipwreck, a group of friars managed to reach the island, and were then devoured by Tupinambás Indians who inhabited the region.

Two churches make up the historic landscape of Ilha dos Frades. The first is the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, built in honor of the Baron of Loreto between 1640 and 1645.

The second is the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a hermitage founded by the Jesuits in the 17th century, with no precise date.

The Ilha dos Frades Lighthouse is part of the place where the very name of the island is related to the colonial period in Brazil.
The Ilha dos Frades Lighthouse is part of the place where the very name of the island is related to the colonial period in Brazil

On the island there are still ruins of an old lazaretto, a kind of hospital where sick slaves who needed to be quarantined were housed. In another part, there was a warehouse where slaves were put to fatten up before being sold.

Although there are few official historical records, it is believed that the island has had several owners throughout history.

However, unlike Ilha de Maré and Bom Jesus dos Passos, the settlement characteristics of Ilha dos Frades kept it isolated and sparsely inhabited, making it impossible to record territorial appropriations.

Its occupation never fully occurred, which ensured that the island preserved much of its biodiversity.

How to get there

There are two ways to get to Ilha dos Frades.

The fastest is through schooners that depart from the Nautical Center of Bahia. During the crossing, you have a beautiful view of several other islands of the Baia de Todos os Santos.

The tour costs between R$ 35 and R$ 50 per person. There is also the option of going from Salvador to Madre de Deus via BR-324, towards Feira de Santana.

It is 32 km to the junction with BA-522, towards Candeias, and another 20 km to the center of Madre de Deus. From there it is possible to take small boats that take you to several points of Ilha dos Frades.

Where to stay 

Many people take advantage of the tranquility of the place to camp in the middle of nature. However, most tourists visit the island on schooner trips that last only one day. There are no large hotels on the island.

Lodging is usually offered in houses of natives and small rather simple inns.

Bahia.ws is the largest tourism and travel guide for Bahia and Salvador.

Tourism and Travel Guide of Ilha dos Frades in Bahia

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