By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Located at the entrance of Costa Verde (Green Coast) along the southern shoreline of Rio State, Mangaratiba has frequently been overlooked – considering Ilha Grande, and Paraty’s tourism appeal. However, Mangaratiba offers stunning nature and solid hotel infrastructure, and is closer and less expensive.
Only 100 kilometers away from Rio de Janeiro and located between the bays of Ilha Grande and Sepetiba, Mangaratiba’s region includes over thirty islands and a hundred beaches.
Among the main beaches, Muriqui is definitely the most eventful one.
Ideal for visitors looking for good infrastructure, Muriqui offers a variety of bars and restaurants, and live music by day and night. Apart from the gray color of its sand, Muriqui is clean and suitable for swimming.
Another option for experiencing Mangaratiba’s busy beach life is Ibicuí. Because of its calm waters, Ibicuí is recommended for families with small children. Like Muriqui, there are eating and drinking options along Ibicuí’s 600 hundred-meter extension. What’s more, visitors can practice water skiing at this beach.
If a chilled environment is what you want, the Saí and Saizinho are the right places to go. Even though they can get a little busy in the highest season, Saí and Saizinho are usually desert for most of the year. That same vibe can be found at the Brava beach, which has a more modest infrastructure.
Even though there is plenty to see in Mangaratiba, one of the tourists’ favorite program is going on a ferry trip to explore its beautiful islands, like Itacuruçá, Jaguanum and the famous Ilha Grande. All the ferries depart daily from Mangaratiba’s wharf, and there are options for diverse budgets.
Besides Mangaratiba’s incredible beaches, one cannot miss its stunning waterfalls, situated at the Piloto mountain range.
The most famous ones are Conceição de Jacareí, which has a water slide and forms a natural pool on its bottom; Poção, composed of three different falls; and Bengala, also offering a very nice natural pool.
What’s more, Mangaratiba is also a great destination for those who enjoy culture and history. Founded in the eighteenth century, the city – especially its center – hides some architectonic treasures from the past, like the Matriz de Nossa Senhora da Guia, a church from the nineteenth century that is lined with Portuguese tiles.
One must also visit the Povoado do Saco relics and Mangaratiba’s former coffee farms, which remind of Mangaratiba’s “golden age”. Once the residence of a former coffee baron, the Solar do Barão de Sahy was revitalized and transformed in a cultural center. Make sure to go to the venue and check its art exhibitions.
When it comes to culinary, there is no wonder why sea food is Mangaratiba’s greatest specialty. Among the diverse options, one should try out Mirante restaurant (situated at Muriqui beach) and its “moqueca de camarão” (cassava based stew with shrimps) or the “tambaqui na brasa” (grilled tambaqui, a fish from the Amazon).
To get to Mangaratiba from Rio de Janeiro, one must go until Santa Cruz and take the BR 101 road (Rio-Santos) until the exit to Mangaratiba. From São Paulo, take Via Dutra SP BR 116 and follow until São José dos Campos. Then, take the Tamoios road, passing by Caraguatatuba, Rio-Santos, Ubatuba, Paraty and Angra, until you arrive in Mangaratiba.