Imagine a paradise island that was once exceptionally wealthy and one of the pearls of the Indian Ocean, where over 30,000 people lived and prospered. Then imagine that island when it has all but been abandoned, with its mansions crumbling and its churches filled with bats. That is island is Ibo, home to only 4000 people at present after the regional capital was changed to the town of Pemba on the mainland and the Portuguese left suddenly in 1974.
One of the Quirimbas islands, Ibo is also home to some wonderful accommodation catering to all budgets; there are only three official hotels on the island but all are in stunning locations close to the beach. The restaurants are simple, the seafood is of the highest standard and the service is reputedly fantastic but in many, the food has to be ordered earlier in the day to ensure that they have the correct ingredients.
There is very little education on the island and no high school but there are some reforms being made; an English School has opened with the intention of improving literacy for the inhabitants and it is possible to arrange a visit.
The island is exactly what you would hope for from a remote paradise, although the beaches may disappoint a little as they are not ideal for swimming and snorkelling. During the particularly hot summer days you can find shade under a palm tree, where many of the locals reside.
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