Ilhabela (Portuguese for Beautiful Island) is an archipelago and city situated 4 miles off the coast of São Paulo state in Brazil. The island is from the city of São Paulo and from the city of Rio de Janeiro. The largest island, although commonly called Ilhabela, is officially named Ilha de São Sebastião (St. Sebastian Island). It, the other islands (Búzios, Pescadores and Vitória) and the islets (Cabras, Castelhanos, Enchovas, Figueira, Lagoa and Serraria) make up the municipality of Ilhabela.
The islands in total cover . The population of Ilhabela in 2006 was 26,230, and in 2012 it was around 29,308, but during the holiday months, up to one hundred thousand people may be on the island, since it is a popular destination for tourists. To access the city, one must take a boat or ferry in São Sebastião, as there are no roads which reach it. During the summer, one may wait more than an hour to take the ferry boat. The ferry takes 15 minutes to cross the channel between the two cities.
The island was named São Sebastião Island by Americo Vespuccio, on January 20, 1502. During the 16th century, the Portuguese set up military points on the shore of São Sebastião Island.
On September 3, 1805, the Governor of the Province of São Paulo, Antônio José da França e Horta, decreted the political-administrative independence of the county. The Island had already 3.000 inhabitants at that time. The new county was named Villa Bella da Princeza, paying homage to the princess of Beira.
On November 30, 1938, during the Getúlio Vargas' Estado Novo, an act altered the name of the county to Formosa. Six years later, on November 30, 1944, another act ultimately changed the name to Ilhabela.
Nowadays, the city is a popular touristic destination. Among the current critical issues of the island, is the lack of proper sewage pipes to collect all houses' wastewater. As of January 2012, 46,6% of the buildings in the island lacked such infrastructure.