A Paradise on Earth

Last weekend we traveled to the Paraty bay area, a place that I visit since I was a kid. But this time was very special because I knew a new paradise: Saco do Mamanguá.

They say there is only one fjord in Brazil, which is the Saco do Mamanguá. To get there we traveled by car to Paraty Mirim, then took any traineira (a small and slow fisherman’s boat) that was siting on the beach waiting for tourists. You don’t have to setup an appointment or pay in advance. Just go. They use to charge R$35 per hour, for any number of persons up to about 10. We did everything in 4 wonderful hours.

Mamanguá is an 8km-long arm of the Atlantic ocean, far enough from Paraty to look as an almost untouched paradise. It has small clear water, isolated beaches, perfects for snorkeling, or simply for relaxing. In addition we were blessed by a beautiful shiny day, thats why I can’t avoid using the “paradise” word all the time.

The whole region deserves a visit, and thats why I’m writing this in english, to inspire non-brazilian folks come visit my beautiful country. But instead of a stream of words I invite you to explore the interactive map below. Click on the markers () to see more information and local photos.

Center of map
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Saco do Mamanguá
Saco do Mamanguá
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Paraty Mirim. A small and old village 18km far from Paraty. This is where we met Nelson and his “traineira” to take us to Saco do Mamanguá.
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A typical building in Paraty
A typical building in Paraty
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Le GiteFazenda Graúna. Go to Le Gite D’Indaiatiba, a beautiful pousada and restaurant by Olivier and Valerie. This restaurant is very expensive (about R$150 for two, no wine), but very good too. This place is in higher altitudes so in clear sky days you can have lunch contemplating the wonderful ocean down there.
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TrindadeTrindade and Laranjeiras. Trindade was a small fishermen’s village that turned to be a place that many hippies go nowadays. Larangeiras is a village of very expensive and big cotages.
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Ilha do Algodão.
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Exit from main road (Rio-Santos, BR-101) to the road that takes to Paraty Mirim.
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Fazenda São Roque. There is nothing here, not even a good beach, but this is where I use to stay when I go to this region. No hotels nor pousadas.
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Thermonuclear power station of Angra dos Reis
Thermonuclear power station of Angra dos Reis.
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TaritubaTarituba. Used to be a small village and beach where simple fishermen live and work. They still live there, but all their wives opened simple restaurants along the shore and around. Due to the excess of fishermen boats (called “traineiras” in portuguese) this beach is dirty and not apropriate for swiming. Nowadays you may find some nightlife in Tarituba on weekends or holydays.
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Mambucaba. This is well organized village built for the engineers of the Angra Dos Reis’ thermonuclear power station. It has the most beautiful beach on the region, with clear waters. This place is almost outside the bay so you will find surfists riding the waves. This beach is always full of young people.
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Ilha do BreuFazenda São Gonçalo. A private farm with a calm beach, good for children, easily accessible only from certain points. You’ll find places to park your car and walk for 3 minutes to the beach. If you want, you can pay R$7 per person to a fisherman and he’ll take you and your family to the Breu (the picture) or Pelado island, right in front of the beach. You will stay on clear water beaches with big stones full of aquatic wildlife. Bring your diving mask and snorkel. There is also a rustic restaurant there, where you can chill out having a caipirinha de maracujá (passion fruit caipirinha) or água de côco (coconut water) with fried fish. Don’t miss their mandioca frita (mandioca is something similar to a potato but only available in Brazil).
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The Iriri waterfallsCachoeira do Iriri. Coming from Paraty to Rio, right before the São Gonçalo farm complex, there is an almost unaccessible beach that you will see from a hill on the road. A reference is a red and huge cellular antena. On the other side of the road there is a bus stop and a trail into the forest. A 3 minutes walk will take you to a beautiful clear water river with a natural pool and waterfalls. You will see a closed house but you are not transpassing. Just chill out there the whole afternoon after the beach. You can stay under the waterfall to heal your backs. If you feel adventurous, look for a jungle trail right on the side of the pool, going uphill. It will take you to the second floor of rocks, but there is nothing there. Keep on going up until you find the river again on the third floor. Look down and you will see your non-adventurous friends that stood on the first waterfall. Say hello and goodby, because we are not finished. Walk by the river for 3 minutes until you see a huge natural water pool with another waterfall. You’ll be probably alone there. This is a window to paradise. Just don’t miss this point.

Other things to do

  • Walk around in old Paraty area and remember that you are visiting one of the eldest places in Brazil. Enjoy the rich nightlife with live music. The city is always packed by tourists from all parts of the world.
  • Have a light vegetarian meal in the Ganges, close to the famous Pousada do Sandi. Or choose one from the tons of restaurants around. In Paraty you should have seafood.
  • Have an icecream in a place called Sorveterapia. The owner is a sort of researcher in the art of icecream making, and has developed a very light and natural formula to produce it. Very unexpensive too.
  • Going north on the BR-101 road (also known as Rio-Santos) you will find many beaches. The most important ones are marked on the map. Ask also about the big number of waterfalls. Some of them you can see from the road, coming down the mountains big and white. My preferd is Cachoeira do Iriri, hidden but marked on the map.
  • Going south thowards Ubatuba there are some famous beaches too, as Prumirim, Ubatumirim, Almada, Praia Vermelha, etc. But I don’t use to go there very much: the closer you get to Ubatuba, the crowder will be.
  • If you have an off-road car or jeep, leave Paraty to west, towards Cunha, through the old way. There are some more waterfalls on the go, nice handcraft shops, restaurants and amazing tropical landscapes. Cunha is known as home of excellent ceramicists, so look for their studios. Have a meal in the Restaurante Uruguayo.
  • You will see a lot of rain in all that region too, almost every day. This is a bless that you should contemplate quietly. The rain smells absolutely delicious over there.

15 thoughts on “A Paradise on Earth

  1. Hi Avi:

    Can you recommend a pousada in Trindade for us to stay in when we visit the Paraty area in Jan/feb of 2008?

    We plan to stay in Paraty for a few days but I promised my wife some quality beachtime in Trindade.

    Best regards,

    George

  2. Wow, I will be sure to go there on my next visit. Is the rain there as it is in other countries such as the Dominican Republic where it rains for 20-30 minutes then its as Sunny as if no rain occured

  3. É verdade cara, o popup ballon não funciona nem no Firefox ou no IE.

    Ainda sim um excelente plugin, estou tentando achar o erro.

    abs e parabéns pelo plugin

  4. No meu firefox 3.5.2 os baloes apareciam em branco mas o texto estava lá.
    Na linha 275 acrescentei a cor preta no estilo dai funcionou.

    style=\”width:auto;height:auto;color:#000;\”>

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