When we think about Brazil, we imagine the vast Amazon Rainforest, Brasilia - its capital created from scratch, or even the incredible Iguaçu waterfalls. However, what usually springs to mind first is Rio de Janeiro with its mythical Ipanema beach, the Corcovado and Sugarloaf Mountain where the statue of Christ looks out over and embraces the city with its open arms. What we don't think about so much is its coasts and magnificent sailing routes. Welcome to the Costa Verde and its 200 km of dense vegetation, natural reserves, lagoons, desert islets and villages with colonial architecture scattered throughout the tropical forest.
Departing from Angra dos Reis
To the west of Rio de Janeiro, the Angra dos Reis municipality is an ideal departure point to discover the Costa Verde during your sailing boat or catamaran rental. With its backdrop of mountain chains which can reach an altitude of up to 1000 m and covered in dense jungle, the municipality of Angra dos Reis boasts dozens of islets. There are many mooring points which are perfect for swimming, diving and discovery, some larger than others and some more or less rocky. The extremely rugged coast creates a labyrinth blending water, earth and forest, full of shades of blues and greens - it is a real feast for the eyes. Although it is not the most developed sailing destination, this wild region has fewer tourists - an advantage for the few who want to make the most of these landscapes.
Sail around the Ilha Grande
The Brazilian paradise of Ilha Grande is located just opposite Angra dos Reis. Thanks to its unusual history, this island is protected from building projects and is covered in a lush jungle which goes all the way down to stretches of sand which border the coast. There are no cars on the island - but there are carts! Colourful beach bars serve tropical fruit cocktails full of promise! On the south coast of the Ilha Grande, you can drop anchor alongside Lopes Mendes with its fine white sandy beaches and deep blue waters - a picture-postcard paradise. If your heart says yes, don't hesitate to venture into the heart of the forest and discover many species of plants and animals. The former prison is still there too and is open to visitors who want to dive into Brazil's former penitentiary system.
Dock at Paraty
Get back on the water and sail along the Portuguese gold trade route until you reach the port of Paraty. Founded in the 16th Century, this town is a nugget of colonial architecture with charming streets paved with large stones, white houses with doors and windows in every colour imaginable and churches which display the remnant's of the town's former wealth.
Make the most of this stopover to find out more about local crafts, taste spicy food or visit the Emporio de Cachaça museum, displaying Brazil's national alcohol. Portuguese settlers, native Indians and African slaves - all these influences are combined here to create a joie de vivre that is rich in colour and typical of this great country.
Sail into the Saco do Mamangua Fjord
The south coast of the state of Rio is particularly rugged and rocky. In this labyrinth of islands and islets, a 8 km-long stretch of water reaches towards the mountains, creating the Saco de Mamangua "fjord". This area is also home to lush, wild vegetation and the Caiçara Indians.
Very few tourists have the opportunity to come here, mostly because this area can only be accessed by sea. There are no marked routes here. Make the most of this opportunity to go deeper into the jungle by boat and experience exceptional meetings, full of sharing and friendly people, accompanied of course by fresh, grilled fish.
Drop anchor at Prai do Sono
On the other side of Saca de Mamangua, the fishing village of Paria do Sono is the perfect picture of a village. Its long white sands are just an invitation to go swimming. Once you have dropped anchor in the bay, several huts are ready to welcome you for a gourmet break. This is still part of the route. All the tourists that you see relaxing on the beach will either have arrived by sea like you or via hiking trails which wind through the tropical jungle between the Caiçara villages.