There is much to see and do at the dozens of cities that are part of Costa Verde, the stretch of coast between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The destinations include beaches, waterfalls, islands, historical buildings, tours and trails, amid beautiful scenery.
You can stay for several days in each of these places, and discover their secrets at your own pace. However, this tour is not intended to be exhaustive. It was designed so that you experience a little of each city. Then, just choose the one you like the most and return later.
Wake up early to enjoy the day and avoid the traffic jams of Avenida Brasil, when leaving Rio de Janeiro. Angra dos Reis, the first destination, is about 150 km from the Marvelous City (a trip which takes about 2 and a half hours).
Upon arriving, the difficulty will be choosing what to do: there are more than 50 beaches and 365 islands, most with green and transparent waters. Waste no time, and go to Cataguases Island, the closest to the mainland, just 10 minutes away by boat. The place is perfect for spending a few hours with the whole family, who may choose to either take a walk on the white sands, dive on its waters or practice SUP.
From there, go to another island, the one of Gipoia, which is also full of attractions. Its waters are great for surfing, at Praia de Fora and Praia Brava, as well as for diving, at Praia das Amendoeiras. At Praia das Flechas, there is a panoramic view of Botinas Island and Ilha Grande.
At night, there are two options: going back to Angra and walking around the historic center or boarding another boat, sleeping at Ilha Grande and waking up in one of the pristine paradises of this route.
Ilha Grande (Big Island) lives up to its name: it is the largest of the coast of Rio de Janeiro. It has 192 km² of lush vegetation typical of the Atlantic Forest, guarded by the Tamoios Environmental Protection Area and other three conservation units: the Aventureiro Marine State Park, the Ilha Grande State Park and the Praia do Sul Biological Reserve.
The next day, visit Cachoeira da Feiticeira, which is the most beautiful of the place. A 1h30 walk leads to the waterfall which, with its swimming holes and rock slide, appeals to all audiences.
Keep going until arriving at Praia da Feiticeira, where you can take a boat-taxi (there are no cars on the island) towards the Lopes Mendes Beach. Rustic and with clean waters, it was chosen by the English newspaper The Guardian as one of the 10 most beautiful in Brazil. It's great for both surfing and swimming with children, where the water is shallower.
In the evening, make sure to take a walk around the charming little village of Abraão, where most of the hotels, inns and restaurants are located.
Colonial city and national historic heritage, Paraty was able to preserve its architecture and wonders, which call the attention of visitors in the beautiful houses and cobbled streets of its historic center. The city offers cultural tours, beaches, waterfalls, ecotourism activities and also hosts several festivals and events, such as the Bourbon Festival, Festa da Cachaça and Flip, the Literary Fair of Paraty.
In one day, the best thing to do is riding a boat through the diverse landscapes of the Bay of Paraty. By boat, you can see both the mountains of Serra do Mar and the small islands and beaches of the coast, where the boat makes a few stops for you to dive. Or just admire the scenery and rest.
Those who feel up to it can take the evening to visit Cachadaço Beach, in Trindade, next to Paraty. A preserved and calm location, with no restaurants or inns. The waters are usually calm, but some points hide strong currents and holes. So, attention to children! At the end of the beach the natural pools may be found, which are safer, where you can see many species of colorful fish.
On the way back, walk without rush through the streets of the city, which is full of architectural gems. Take the opportunity to visit some of its churches, such as the Mother Church, and visit the art galleries and workshops of local artists. It is worth it to check out the schedule of Casa da Cultura, since there are always some good expositions there (it closes early, at 6:30 p.m.) Paraty also has great restaurants, which are able to please the most demanding palates.
Ubatuba is at São Paulo’s part of Costa Verde. If the State is different, the wonders remain the same, as you will be able to see in the first destination of the day, Domingas Dias Beach, which is a symbol of the city. Small, with a sand strip of only 400m, it is very clean and ideal for those seeking quiet and calm. Don't forget to bring water and food, because there are no commercial establishments there.
To get to Anchieta Island, the biggest in the coast of São Paulo, you need to go by boat. Its waters, which are also crystal clear, as in all Costa Verde, are filled with fish and sea turtles. The adventurers will love Ilhote Sul, which is great for a night dive.
On the last day of sightseeing, there's still a lot to see. Ilhabela, the final stop of the trip, has 42 beaches and more than 300 waterfalls. The island is famous among sports enthusiasts. The practitioners of windsurfing and diving will love places like Praia da Fome, Praia da Serraria and Praia do Veloso. Those who prefer the quiet, on the other hand, will find Cachoeira do Gato, its 50m waterfall and swimming holes the ideal scenery for a good rest.
To get used once more to the hectic pace of cities, on the way back to São Sebastião, go straight to Maresias Beach, the favorite of young people. During the day, practicing water sports such as surfing is the way to go. Its favorable waves make it the stage of international championships of the sport. In the evening, you can take the opportunity to eat, dance and listen to lots of music. Or, if you want to retain the quieter pace, find a peaceful place to admire once again the scenery and begin planning the next holiday.