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

1088 Folder Collection
Eric Wang published on April 7, 2018
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