Sunday, August 24, 2014

Trindade - the way it was before

The secret to traveling in Brazil is to get to these bars before they put in a floor, walls and air conditioning!

Brazil is changing year after year. Some say for the better; some say otherwise. As travelers throughout Brazil, Luiz and I have seen a lot of “evolution” at the natural places we love to visit. What I have witnessed over the past 15 years, in terms of the development of previously rural or sparsely populated coastal areas, is a fraction of the changes Luiz has seen since his early adventures as a teenager. He and his friends were frequent campers on beaches and in tiny towns long before comfortable pousadas appeared on the scene.

Sorry Cabo Frio. Not my favorite beachfront view.

Sometimes the “progress” is stark and ugly. I think it is safe to say that Cabo Frio is a fail, having lurched blindly into the fast lane of tourism development. While the beach has stayed clean and the water remains spectacularly clear and crystal blue, you need only look behind you to the burgeoning little city and its wincingly soulless, crowded and chaotic beach-town tourist lowest-common-denominator “development.” Hint: if you want to visit the beautiful sea near Cabo Frio (without doing the whole European upscale thing of Buzios) set your sights on neighboring Arraial do Cabo.

Arraial do Cabo: still a small town - with lots of beaches, and just a cab ride from Cabo Frio.

This post, however, is meant to focus on the success story (so far) that is Trindade.

Luiz and I have been to Trindade in the past. You can learn more about our first visit (and see photos of a very fat Jim) here. At that time we enjoyed a small coastal hippie town that was slowly morphing before everyone’s eyes into a burgeoning (on a tiny scale) coastal getaway for the Paulistas escaping their urban zoo for a weekend. We felt lucky to have been there before it was totally overrun.

During our first visit to Trindade we loved the fact that the tiny, winding access road that enters the village literally traverses a stone waterfall/spillway where the forest meets the sea. No bridge, just a shallow stream of water easily driven through. This bit remains exactly the same.

That wonderful lunch from years ago.

It was our birthdays when we first visited (as it was, again, this second time around) and we ate a spectacularly generous and delicious seafood pasta in a clay pot lunch at a beachside restaurant. I remember thinking at the time that the restaurant was clearly a “temporary-turned permanent” type of structure plopped down on the sand just out of reach of the tide. It was convenient and had great views/ambiance, but it was also an eyesore on an otherwise pristine tiny beach in a natural area. There were several such invasive restaurants lining the shore.

This past May we revisited Trindade on a day trip down from a beach house retreat just outside of Angra dos Reis. It was our birthdays and we were spending a long week touching base with some of our favorite local gems: Ilha Grande, Paraty, Angra do Reis and Trindade.

I had my heart set on a return visit to the restaurant for that amazing seafood pasta.

Imagine my surprise (and heartwarming delight) when we hiked out to the little beach and found it totally bare of any built structures. None. Nothing. Just a woman selling cold beverages from a cooler – and a beautiful natural beach!

Could it be? Is it possible? Could IBAMA (the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) actually be enforcing environmental laws? Did IBAMA actually kick squatters (even delicious seafood pasta making ones) off of environmentally sensitive national forest land? According to the itinerant cold drinks saleswoman that is exactly what happened.

No buildings... yay.

I am standing where the restaurant used to be.

Cue swelling music. Yay! Thank you IBAMA. Thank you Brazil. Yay!!
The beach at Trindade (one of them, there are many) the way it was 20 years ago! Go visit. Go see for yourself.

Looking up from the water - Luiz is where the restaurants used to be. There are small traces of cement floors still in the sand.

Now if we could just put a limit on how many Paulistas can override the place on a holiday weekend. But hey… I don’t blame them. It is a beautiful place.

I love this shot of the bus stop at the edge of town.

And speaking of beautiful getaways that remain natural - don't forget the Juatinga Ecological Reserve that is located along the coast between Trindade and Paraty. We have had some great times there too.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jim, great posti love visiting wild untouched natural places and Trinidade ticked all the boxes. You're a good guide to Brazil's hidden secrets.

Turkey Holidays said...

Great Post and Nice Article.All of the photos are so good looking natural and Beautiful.Really I like
this.Thanks for sharing.I Would like to visit this places.