Didem Doğan

Paraty and Ilha Grande on Costa Verde

The Costa Verde Region, which is called the Green Shore, encompasses the parts of the Rio de Janerio State from Itaguai to Santos. The ‘green’ part is named after the forested mountains which run parallel to the Atlantic Ocean. The buses which depart from Rio arrive in Paraty in five hours, taking the shore road and passing through Mangaratiba, Conceição de Jacarei, and Angra dos Reis. One of the old colonial towns, Paraty is an old port city which was built in the 16th century to load onto ships the gold and other minerals mined in Minas, i.e., the Mining Region. Imagine the gold mined there transported along the 1200 kms. long road all the way to Ouro Preto. And that not only minerals, but also slaves from Africa were transported here. Today, it is definitely a touristic postcard town. Its roads are paved with big stones. The two-storey houses, wrought-iron balconies, and double-colored window frames of the Portuguese architecture we are familiar from the old cities in Brazil, such as Ouro Preto, Salvador, and Olinda…Paraty has taken on a bohemian character because it started to host a literature festival organized in last years and dedicated to an author every year. While window-shopping at art galleries and shops selling designers’ goods, you walk on the cobblestones with your flip-flop on your feet, as if playing a game of balance…

If you have come to Paraty you should absolutely visit a paradise place which is the island of Ilha Grande. This island is the most adventurous place on the green shore. Its name is Grand Isle, but the word ‘grand’ borders on ‘massive’ by the Brazilian standards. There are three spots where you can cross from the mainland to the isle: Mangaraiba, Conceição de Jacarei and Angra dos Reis. You can cross in half an hour with fast boats, and in one and half four with bigger boats. The place where you shore up on the isle is the town of Abraão: which is nothing but a bunch of lodgings, restaurants, and travel agencies selling boat tours. There is no other settlement on this big isle, except for amazingly beautiful beaches reachable only by boat. And you cannot drive here. The only thing you can do is get from one spot to another by private boats, or taking part in a sight-seeing boat tour along the isle. The hiking and climbing tracks here too require you to go on foot. For instance, walking into the forest from a beach, and reaching a waterfall by foot.