By Hakan Almerfors, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Located only 40 minutes (25 kilometers) by local bus from Paraty is the small village of Trindade. It is truly a taste of paradise – beautiful white beaches and crystal clear water surrounded by dense Atlantic Rainforest – if you really want to get away from the stress of the modern world this is the perfect place.
Trinidade does not have a big place in history, with fishing and hunting its main sources of sustenance. Worth mentioning though is the part it played as a pirate hideout when boatloads of gold were shipped to Portugal from Paraty during the 18th century boom in the nearby town.
In the 1970´s an investor sought to exploit the area’s natural beauty by constructing a large luxury condominium, but the local population fought back and managed to win a famous legal battle with the support of some high profile artists and musicians. The victory led to the town becoming a popular hippy hangout during the 80’s and 90’s as it remains to an extent today, and helps to explain the strong sense of community it boasts under the banner Associação dos Moradores Nativos e Originários da Trindade.
Trinidade is blessed with a wealth of outdoor activities. The natural pools of Cachadaço are just a short hike or boat ride from the village inside the Serra da Bocaina National Park, where huge granite boulders form natural salt water pools. They are best visited in the morning, and offer some excellent snorkeling.
The waterfall Pedra Que Engole (the rock that swallows) is a natural phenomena where you literally get sucked into a tunnel under the rock. It may sound scary but is supposed to be perfectly safe. A popular day trip is to the hidden beach Praia Brava, considered one of the top beaches in Rio state, and offering surfable waves and a little waterfall just by the beach.
A short boat trip visits still more beaches, including Praia do Sono, Antigos and Ponta Negra. There are quite a few more options for surfing too, and various hiking trails available, the most frequented is to Cabeça do Indio (The Indians Head).
Several good seafood restaurants line the main beach, also providing excellent spots to have a beer or a caipirinha in the early evening. During the summer and on most weekends there is live music on Praia dos Ranchos, and it soon becomes apparent where the locally-coined phrase “ninguem dorme” (no one sleeps) comes from – the party regularly lasts till sunrise. However, in low season during the week, do not expect much in the way of nightlife. Some recommended places to stay:
– Pousada em Busca do Sol, Rua Pedro Rosa, tel (24) 3371-5141
– Pousada e Chalé Magia do Mar, Praia de Fora, tel (24) 3371-5130
– Kaissara Hostel, Rua das Flores, tel (24) 3371 5248
The last of these is run by a Brit called George Taylor, who opened his doors just 1 year ago. Having spent 16 months traveling to various parts of Brazil, George eventually chose to settle here “to enjoy the nature and beauty of one of the few genuine paradises on Brazil’s coastline. It also gives me a fantastic, uncomplicated quality of life in a place where I have been made to feel very much part of the community.” He mainly receives westerners whose principle objective is to “…find somewhere special that is a bit off the beaten track but still relatively accessible, then just chill out and enjoy quality beach life.”
Buses leave regularly for Trindade from the bus station in Paraty – from early morning until evening, the company is Colitur.
Hakan Almerfors is Swedish and has been living in Rio de Janeiro since 2003. He has been working with tourists ever since, in 2007 he created the Rio travel information site Gringo-Rio.com