Named for the ancient Atlantic forest that covers much of the shoreline, the Costa Verde (Green Coast) 175 mi/280 km southwest of Rio de Janeiro offers relaxing day and weekend trips from Rio de Janiero as well as Sao Paulo. Locals favor its charm and authenticity over fancier Buzios.
The drive from Rio to the city of Santos is beautiful: Small beaches line one side of the road, jungle and mountains the other. Visitors pass cattle ranches, quaint 17th-century towns, uncrowded beaches of white sand and more than 300 offshore islands. Highlights in the state of Rio de Janeiro include Angra dos Reis, a beautiful bay covered with island paradises such as Ilha Grande and Ilha de Gipoia, and the colonial town of Paraty.
The state of Sao Paulo is home to lovely beaches surrounding the resort towns of Ubatuba and Sao Sebastiao, as well as those on the island of Ilhabela. Sao Sebastiao is only 93 mi/150 km east of Santos. Located 45 mi/70 km southeast of Sao Paulo, Santos is Brazil's leading commercial port. East of Santos are beautiful beach towns.
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