The Costa Verde, translated as the Green Coast, is essentially the coastal areas of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states. This loosely runs from Santos in the south of Sao Paulo state to Buzios as you travel further north to the edge of Rio de Janeiro state. It’s an area of beaches, mountains, lush rainforests, wildlife and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.
The 3 most popular areas in this region are Paraty, Ilha Grande and Buzios, all of which are similar but very different. Roughly 4 hours equidistant from both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo is the colonial town of Paraty. It’s a UNESCO heritage site and one of Brazil’s best preserved and most loved towns. The historical centre, where most people stay is a grid of cobbled streets, pastel coloured buildings and churches which are wedged between the ocean and the rainforest. The bay of Paraty is the perfect location where to hire a boat for the day and head out to a secluded bay for a picnic lunch. There are lots of activities on offer in the town from whitewater rafting and trails leading to cachaça distilleries through to stand up paddle and diving in the bays. There are some lovely boutique hotels or for something more exclusive, Paraty is a great location to hire a villa, especially if you’re travelling in a family. The town is also home to the largest literary festival in Latin America, called FLIP, which is a brings numerous international authors to the town annually. Ilha Grande (the big island) is a short drive followed by a short boat ride and is another exceptional location to hire a villa. It’s more of a backpacker destination in terms of infrastructure but there are some fabulous beaches and deserted bays for you to explore. Just south of Paraty, towards Sao Sebastiao and Ilhabela, and also just north of Paraty, towards Angra dos Reis, are some excellent boutique luxury hotels. These are also superb areas for private villa rentals which become hugely popular for a Christmas or New Year family getaway to Brazil.
In the opposite direction from Rio de Janeiro, you will find the town of Armação dos Búzios (or Búzios for short) which is set on a peninsula east of Rio de Janeiro. It’s very different to Paraty and has much more of a Mediterranean beach town feel to it with numerous beaches. These include Ferradura, on a calm horseshoe bay with water sports, and Geribá, a popular surfing site. The town centre of Buzios consists of a few cobbled streets including the Rua das Pedras which is full of numerous boutique shops, restaurants and bars. During the summer months, this is where the livelier nightlife can be found. Often clients want to decide between Buzios and Paraty as a way to finish a holiday to Brazil before flying home from Rio de Janeiro. The choice is personal but if you are looking for a more lively finish then Buzios offers the better options, whereas for a quieter stay, try Paraty. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.