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January 3, 2008

Angra dos Reis - Rio de Janeiro


Angra dos Reis - Rio de Janeiro - Brazilian Cities

Angra dos Reis is comprised of 365 islands and two thousand beaches filled with natural beauty, legends and social events. It is located in the Fluminense Green Coast, between the States of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, on the margins of the Rio-Santos Highway (BR-101).

Angra dos Reis

To know well this part of the Fluminense Green Coast, one must travel by boat, being able to see the crystalline waters, and the mansions of the rich and famous, erected on private islands.

Among all of its islands, Ilha Grande stands out. Considered the paradise of adventurers, with its trails, waterfalls and deserted beaches, it played an important role in Brazil’s historical-cultural scenario for having housed a prison for almost 60 years.

In the past, Angra dos Reis was one of the most important ports of the Fluminense coast. Ships loaded with goods docked there from the other side of the world. Slave ships also arrived there with hundreds of slaves to supply forced labor in the coffee plantations of the region.

Today, in addition to a national and international tourism reference point, Angra is the stage to intense debate due to the installation of the only Brazilian nuclear plants, Angra I and Angra II.

Ilha Grande
It is the largest of all Angra dos Reis Islands. It has fascinating landscapes, 86 beaches with different characteristics, backwaters, rivers, lagoons, waterfalls, plains, mountains and peaks spread out over 193 km². The proximity between the Atlantic Forest and the sea is quite close and the paradisiacal sites are abundant. Many beaches are accessible only by trail or boat.

The Ilha Grande bay accommodates one of the largest concentrations of shipwrecks in the world, and is an excellent option for the practice of diving. Standing out in these scenarios, locations such as Lage do Guriri (Ponta de Castelhanos), Jorge Grego Island, Meros and Naufragios Island. The ocean floor presents a great variety of fish, corals and caves with sizes varying between 10 and 20 m tall.

Ilha Grande is a sensational location for trekking, trails and walks. There are many options, from hills, mountains, brooks, rocks, slopes and beaches, most of which are within the Atlantic Forest. The island has some urban centers such as Abraão Village, where one can find restaurants, inns and commerce. It is 1 hr 30 min by boat from Angra dos Reis.

New Year’s Sea Procession
Decorated boats leave Flechas beach, in the Gipóia island on January 1st, every year.

Boat Rides
The take off point for sea outings is the city of Angra dos Reis itself, on the mainland. There are private islands ostentating luxurious mansions, and others opened for visitation. In them, there are fine sand beaches of clear, calm waters, perfect for diving.

Contorno Road
Tour on the mainland that leads to several beaches, from the most popular, such as Praia Grande, to the calmest, such as Retiro Beach. The highlight goes to Tanguá Beach, and the historical buildings, such as Ermida do Bonfim – erected in 1780 – and the Naval College.

Gipóia Island
The name comes from the jibóia python, as its shape resembles that of a snake. The very popular Jurubaíba and Flechas beaches are located there. There are also good options for surfers, such as Grande and Feras beaches. Piedade beach is perfect for families, and Amaral beach, due to the absence of facilities, is always more deserted.

East Side
Coqueiro beach is empty and it contains the remains of an abandoned railway. Maciel beach has a good infrastructure and is quite busy. In the East Side there are shipwrecks, which have become attractions for divers.

Angra has 365 islands. Some of them have won special highlight overtime, such as Porcos Island; Botinas Islands, which are the postal card of the region; Itanhangá Island, which has trails, climbing, canoeing and diving options; and Ilha Grande, the most famous of all.

At Serra do Mar, there are many waterfalls and river rapids, among them, Bracuhy, Ariró, Branqueta and Capureta. All rich in natural beauty and filled with unique landscapes.

On the mainland, next to the plants, is Brava beach, very much sought after by surfers; and Secreta beach, completely deserted. Close by is Mambucada, a historical villa that preserves old mansions which tell a little of the local history.

With many islands, wrecks and abundant marine life, the Angra Bay is one of the best diving points of the Southeast coast. In its clear waters, emerald green in color, visibility is good most of the year. There are many diving courses on location.

Cultural Attractions
Angra dos Reis has many Churches and mansions declared as cultural heritage, whose buildings date back to the 18th century. A tour that reminds of the Island’s past and teaches a little of its history, experienced by its first inhabitants.

Edifício do Paço Municipal
Abandoned in the 1920’s, the Paço building had begun to fall into ruins. It was restored in 1930 and is today City Hall.

Chácara da Carioca Fountain
Built in 1842, it still runs, and has five fountains. Legends tells it that anyone who drinks from the middle fountain can no longer leave Angra dos Reis.

Former Chamber Mansion and Prison
Building dating back to the first decade of XVIII, it is today City Hall.

Morcego Mansion
Building that belonged to the pirate Juan de Lorenzo. the building and the old aqueduct data back to the 19th century. It is in Ilha Grande.

Gulf - Hotel do Frade & Golf Resort
The course was designed by Dave Thomas and Peter Allis. The necessary equipment – balls, golf bags, handcarts, gasoline cars, and other support facilities are at the disposal of the guests for renting. If preferred, instructors can be hired to teach the basics of the sport. The circuit has a course of 6,420 yards in between mountains, crystalline rivers and natural lakes, its highest part reaching the hillsides of the Atlantic Forest.

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