Chagas' disease is a debilitating but comparatively neglected illness that affects about 15 million people. There is an urgent need to develop new, more effective, and less-toxic compounds. In this study, we assessed the in vitro anti-trypanosomal activity of the sesquiterpene elatol from the Brazilian red seaweed Laurencia dendroidea. We used electron microscopy to evaluate the effect of elatol on the morphology and ultrastructure of the parasite. Elatol showed a dose-dependent effect against the epimastigote, trypomastigote, and amastigote forms, with IC50 values of 45·4, 1·38, and 1·01 μm, respectively. Observation of treated intracellular amastigotes by light microscopy demonstrated a total elimination of the infection at a dose of 3·0 μm. In addition, the compound did not affect the red blood cells, and the CC50 value for LLCMK2 cells was 27·0 μm. Transmission and scanning electron micrographs showed aberrant-shaped cells and breaks in the plasma membrane, prominent swollen mitochondria, and extensive formation of cytoplasmic vacuoles in all the forms. This is the first report of the anti-trypanosomal effect of the sesquiterpene elatol.