The mountainous littoral and calm green waters of the aptly named Costa Verde (“Green Coast”) provide a marked contrast to the sand and surf of the coastline east of Rio. One of Brazil’s truly beautiful landscapes, the Costa Verde has been made much more accessible by the Rio–Santos BR-101 Highway – something, however, that has led to an increase in commercial penetration of the region. The fate of this 280-kilometre stretch of lush vegetation, rolling hills and tropical beaches hangs in the balance between rational development and ecological destruction, and so far the signs augur badly. Ecologists warn that fish stocks in the Bay of Sepetiba, which covers almost half the length of the Costa Verde, are in constant danger of destruction because of pollution.
ILHA GRANDE comprises 193 square kilometres of mountainous jungle, historic ruins and beautiful beaches, excellent for some scenic tropical rambling. The entire island is a state park and the authorities have been successful at limiting development and in maintaining a ban on motor vehicles, whether owned by visitors or locals. The main drawback is the ferocity of the insects, especially during the summer, so come equipped with repellent.
- Paraty and around