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  • Brazil's Costa Verde is an incredible ribbon of coastline

  • between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

  • Here the emerald jungles of the Serra do Mar plunge

  • into the Atlantic in spectacular fashion,

  • but nowhere more so, than at Ilha Grande Bay.

  • Just a two-hour bus ride from the non-stop-energy of Rio,

  • Ilha Grande Bay offers rhythms that are in total tune with nature.

  • Once here, you'll find yourself caring less about finding the perfect Wi-Fi signal,

  • and more about connections of a deeper kind.

  • There are endless ways to lose yourself here:

  • in the worn cobbled streets of colonial towns;

  • in the cicada hum of pristine Atlantic forests;

  • in the sacred hush of churches;

  • and in the lazy tunes which drift from the noonday shade of cafes and bars.

  • There are endless lessons to be found here too:

  • in the local dishes

  • which have been perfected by generations of cooks;

  • in the patient hands of fisherman

  • who ply the endless art of net mending;

  • in the faces of the people who seek not to bend nature,

  • but are content to be shaped by it.

  • One hundred miles to the southwest of Rio

  • is the historic port town of Angra dos Reis.

  • Once, slave ships unloaded human cargoes bound

  • for the vast coffee plantations of the interior.

  • Today the port is a popular escape for Rio's harried locals.

  • Life is simple here, with each day set by the rhythms of the sea.

  • Pay a visit to the Culture House

  • and learn about the artists and poets who were inspired by

  • the daily theatre of this port and its mountainous backdrop.

  • Once you've explored the town,

  • there are endless beaches to enjoy.

  • Some, like Praia do Bonfim, are just a stroll from the town square

  • and are great spots to cool off on hot afternoons.

  • Others, like Praia do Camorim,

  • Eguas and Biscaia are just a short bus ride away,

  • and are perfect places to disappear for a few days, or longer.

  • Offshore, over 350 islands are calling.

  • Many are the exclusive domains of the rich and famous,

  • but others, like Gipoia Island, are open to all.

  • Climb aboard a ferryboat or set sail on a schooner

  • to the bay's undisputed jewel,

  • Ilha Grande.

  • For much of last century,

  • this incredible island was home to Brazil's Alcatraz.

  • What was once purgatory for the country's most notorious felons

  • is now heaven for nature lovers.

  • The island's main town is Vila do Abraao.

  • Until 1994 this was the home of prison guards and their families.

  • Today this tiny hamlet is filled with eco-tourism guides,

  • happy to help you discover one world's richest ecosystems.

  • There are no cars or roads here,

  • only boats and walking trails connecting the island's one hundred beaches.

  • From Vila do Abraao, take a small boat or the three-hour walk

  • to Praia Lopes Mendes.

  • Here, pirates once spent their days scouring the horizon for gold-laden,

  • Portuguese ships sailing from mainland Paraty back to their homeports.

  • Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries,

  • the port of Paraty was the end of the legendary Gold Road,

  • a mountainous route used to transport hundreds of tons of gold

  • from the mines of Minas Gerais to far-off coffers in Portugal.

  • Explore the crumbling fort

  • whose cannon defended the port from gold-hungry buccaneers.

  • And the church of Our Lady of The Remedies,

  • which according to legend,

  • was built from pirate treasure found in the sands of nearby Praia Trindade.

  • Then climb to the top floor of the Casa da Cultura,

  • where the windows frame the most beautiful artwork of all,

  • the city itself.

  • Paraty too, has been blessed by beautiful beaches,

  • such as sleepy Pontal to the north,

  • and hideaways like Praia do Rancho and Meio to the south.

  • The gold prospectors and pirates of old have long gone,

  • but today a new kind of treasure seeker has arrived.

  • They find their riches, in nature,

  • in the warmth of the people,

  • in the afternoon light which dances upon the water,

  • and in the evening lamps which bathe the streets in gold.

  • For those seeking a different kind of treasure, Ilha Grande's riches know no bounds.

Brazil's Costa Verde is an incredible ribbon of coastline

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Ilha Grande Bay Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia (4K)

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    Eric Wang posted on 2018/04/07
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