There's no lack of roads to the northern shores. There's a road to every
quiet and cozy little town you may seek as your destination. The area between Rio and São Paulo has Brazil's
most developed net of highways, and coming from São Paulo, the top notch Ayrton Senna turnpike is followed by
the recently finished Carvalho Pinto that provides a fast and secure communication to the northern beaches and
But then, nothing is comparable with the stunning scenery that waits for the traveler who drives along the
Rio - Santos. The stretch between Bertioga and Paraty offers a collar of beautiful beaches and astounding
views. The road begins in Santos. Bertioga (km48), a little more than 100kms away from São Paulo,and marks the
beginning of the Caiçara Coast. Its first part, the SP-55/BR101 (state and federal denominations) has long and
straight passages with extensive beaches, passing by the Boracéia, Juréia and Juquehy beaches (km 90). Through all its course there are gas
stations and repair shops at regular intervals.
From Juquehy onwards, already in the county of São Sebastião,
small ranges and hills are cut by the road that follows the curves of the slopes providing highpointed
belvederes and small stretches of lowlands near the beaches of Camburi,
Barra do Saí and Baleia. Boiçucanga (km 102) grew to
become a small town. Between traditional caiçara refuges and modern shopping facilities the old fishing
village became an obligatory stopover offering lodging and quality food.
From "Boiçu", as the locals call it, one
passes by Maresias (km 112), a beach with good waves and
flabbergasting weekend cottages. The invasion of the "paulistas" created luxury condos the size of
small towns. It opened the way for hotels, restaurants and shops. The always preserved scenery mixes a well
done rustical architecture with the natural surroundings, protected by severe environmental restrictions. The
council of São Sebastião is in charge of protecting and avoiding the destruction of the Mata Atlântica.
Toque-Toque (km 118), Guaecá
and Barequeçaba are only a few of those good beaches
before one arrives in São Sebastião. Between curves and waterfalls the road demands attention from the driver
when fog rolls down the slopes at dusk and in the early morning hours.
In the port of São Sebastião (km 148) one finds the Almirante Barroso crude oil terminal of Petrobrás,
Brazils state owned oil conglomerate, where half of all the oil consumed in Brazil arrives in megatankers. The
town preserves its colonial center right on the waterfront between bars of the moment and restaurants. The
ferry leaves from São Sebastião and takes the tourist to a tropical paradise called Ilhabela. The center of sailing sports of the State due to its
favourable wind conditions and privileged race courses.
Between São Sebastião and Caraguatatuba the Rio-Santos cuts through boroughs like Indaiá, Pan Brasil, Lagoa and commercial centers. The local traffic
is intense on the 28 kms that separate the two towns. In Caraguatatuba (km 176) one can hit the Tamoios highway
(SP-99), passing through Paraibuna and arrive at Brazils most important road, the Dutra turnpike near the town
of São José dos Campos, with an almost obligatory stop at the "Fazendão" ("Big Ranch")
At the Tabatinga beach(km 194), already on the way to Ubatuba, there's a police station. On that spot one finds the most
luxurious condo of the region, the Costa Verde Tabatinga. The pattern of the road, straight stretches at the
seaside and winding curves on the hills , remains the same. The area is densely populated on the beaches and at
the roadsides, getting more rustical and wild in the direction of the Serra do Mar. The beach of Maranduba (km 200) also has turned into a small town with a good
After several accesses to crowded or lonely beaches , with calm or fierce waves, such as Pulso, Praia Brava,
Fortaleza, Vermelha do Sul, Domingas
Dias and Lázaro, one arrives at the Saco da Ribeira inlet, an important harbour for sport and pleasure
boats, where schooners start their trips to the Anchieta Island
and its old and now abandoned correctional institution. Santa Rita,
Enseada and Toninhas,
between others, connect themselves till one arrives at Cruzeiro
beach, in the town of Ubatuba, on km 227.
At the Praia Grande beach in Ubatuba, the road gets wider and
is now called federal highway BR-101. 3,5 kilometers more and one arrives at the crossover with the SP-125.
There starts the Oswaldo Cruz highway that passes by the charming town of São Luiz do Paraitinga and connects
with the Dutra turnpike in the town of Taubaté.
Upwards to the town of Paraty, pristine beaches and islands (that stretch of road was opened in the 70's)
set one of the most impressive scenes of that area. Itamambuca
beach hosts international surf contests. Félix beach (belvedere and police station on km 244), Promirim,
Ubatumirim (only gas station around) Puruba and Picinguaba stand out for their beauty. In Picinguaba (km 268),
the traditional caiçara lifestyle is still alive within the preserved center, the only place where the Serra
do Mar National Park reaches the shore. Right over the stateline between São Paulo and Rio, near Camburi, lies
the county of Paraty.
In Paraty starts the 100 km long road that passes by the town of Cunha and ends in Guaratinguetá. After
Paraty, rolling over the Rio-Santos, there are 92 km to go until a Angra dos Reis, and another 173kms to drive
to arrive at the glamorous megacity of Rio de Janeiro.