Angra Dos Reis, Brazil
There’s much more to Brazil than the beach at Ipanema, beautiful and exciting though it may be. Travelers hunting for the ultimate paradise need look no farther than Brazil’s famous Costa Verde (Green Coast) region. At the heart of the Green Coast is the colonial port city of Angra dos Reis (meaning Bay of Kings or Kings’ Cove).
Located south of Rio de Janeiro City in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Angra’s vast bay features 365 lush, tropical islands—one for every day of the year—with more than 2,000 spectacular beaches. Though some islands are private playgrounds for the wealthy, supermodels and media companies, many remain much as they were when discovered by early Portuguese explorers over 500 years ago. Each island offers superb snorkeling, diving and hiking, and the region is a perfect venue for water sports, fishing and cruising.
Ilha da Gipoia
Ilha dos Porcos (Pig Island)
Ilha de Itanhanga
Ilha de Cataguases
Whether you prefer lazing on the beach, enjoying water sports, visiting the ecological treasures in the national parks or clubbing at exclusive local nightspots, there’s something for everyone on Brazil’s Green Coast.
Paraty is a National Historic Patrimony, a city that preserves its countless natural wonders and architectural heritage. The city was founded in 1667 around the First Church of Our Lady of the Remedies. In the past, Paraty enjoyed great economic importance due to its sugar mills and plantations. In the 18th century, Paraty stood out as an important port through which gold and precious stones flowed from Minas Gerais to Portugal by ship.
Today, Paraty is well known for its charming old city with artisans, restaurants, music, culture and, of course, outstanding natural beauty. The locally produced cachaças (an alcoholic beverage made from distilled sugarcane) is a special ingredient of the famous and juicy caipirinha cocktail.
The area has much to offer ecotourists with abundant flora and fauna in the Serra da Bocaina National Park, the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area—where the village of Trindade is located—and the Joatinga Ecological Reserve. It also borders on the Serra do Mar State Park. In other words, the Atlantic tropical forest is all around.
The sheltered bay of Paraty has 65 islands and approximately 50 beaches, some of which are accessible by car, but many of them are accessible only by boat. These islands are in a natural, almost wild state, but they also preserve much of the central “caiçara” culture—communities living by the sea that continue a time-honored way of life based on artisanal fishing, subsistence agriculture and extractive industry. This culture is a result of mixing traditions from Portuguese settlers with indigenous customs. The crafts (canoes and toys) are one of the richest aspects of the caiçara culture, which also includes cooking, music, dancing and holding festivals.
Paraty’s rugged geography offers beautiful waterfalls, which can be accessed from the beach along scenic trails. Saco de Mamanguá is a deep, fjord-like inlet from the sea, which stretches 8 km (5 mi) long and 2 km (1 mi) wide, with 33 beaches and 8 caiçara communities. It connects the Joatinga Ecological Reserve with the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area. At the bottom of Mamanguá is a gorgeous and very well preserved mangrove forest.
Praia do Pouso is one of the most remote beaches of Paraty, located in a beautiful and quiet bay accessible by boat. From there, you can hike a trail to the beautiful Praia Grande Waterfall, where you can refresh yourself in its waters.