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Welcome to the Northern Shores of São Paulo
Caraguatatuba Ilhabela São Sebastião Ubatuba

Welcome  | Culinary | History | Legends | Yachting | Fishes | Pirates | Rio-Santos | Access | Satellite Image

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Remaining signs of thrilling events in Brazil's hystory can still be found on the northern shores of São Paulo. Here the natives, settlers, jesuits and pirates fought for their promised land where the finally victorious Portuguese established the basis for a new Nation. Lots of remains from colonial times can still be found in the landscape: cannons, historical centers such as Paraty and São Sebastiao, ranches in ruins or restored in Ilhabela and Caraguá, forts in Paraty and Bertioga. Churches and modest chapels in Ubatuba. Part of this past is hidden in the bushes and part of it has vanished through the centuries from memory.
Nevertheless today its possible to discover that heroic period, with the help from specialized companies and projects from city halls. One just has to take a placid stroll thruogh the preserved areas, or follow the rustic trails to discover ruins hidden benath the centenarian trees . And in company of the Caiçaras search for the traditions that survived being passed on from one generation to the next.
Researches also revealed the life of nomadic tribes that were there before the arrival of the indian natives at the beginning of the Christian era. The northern seaside reveals itself as rich in history as in sunny beaches.

Before Christ

Before the beginning of the christian era, Ubatuba already was inhabitated by groups that dedicated themselves to fishing and collecting of shellfish fulfilling their diet with game, fruits , seeds and roots. frutos, Their groups roamed the beaches, cliffs, mangroves and lakes serching for fish, shellfish, turtles, dolphins, small mammals, birds and products from the forest.
In preparing their food they made small fires, grilling devices and cooked or roasted the meat over burning coal. While fishing they probabely used bow and arrow just like the indian tribes did, their successors by the time of Brazil's discovery.
The team of the University of São Paulo leaded by the archeologist Dorath P. Uchôa, studied the sites of Tenório a and the island of Mar Virado near the Saco da Ribeira inlet and came to the conclusions mentioned above . In the museum of the Fundart Institution in Ubatuba one can find millenia old utensils found at those excavation sites.

The Portuguese Brazil

The northern seaside of São Paulo kept a great part of its original landscape until the opening of the Rio-Santos highway in 1975. Several cycles of urbanizing of areas didn't spoil its general outline. They only preserved for the future the places for visitation of historical places full of memories and intriguing legends. Here still are the ruins from colonial times, native villages and pristine beaches just like in the times of Martim Afonso de Sousa, Lord of the Province of São Vicente that included the major part of the actual coast of São Paulo, where the battles that decided the fate of this country were fought. Here the Portuguese and Catholic Brazil was forged. It could have been French and Protestant or even indigenous if the outcome of those fights had been different.
From the defeated natives only a few settlements of the guarani indians in São Sebastião and Ubatuba are remaining with their original caiçara's way of preparing manioc flour. The indians made the "uí-atã", a common dry manioc flour made from raw grated manioc roots pressed by hand or with the "tipiti"cylinder, not different from the flour made by the caiçaras of today

The Tamoio Confederation

The Portuguese dominion was consolidated. The province of São Vicente was the biggest between the ten established by Portugal's King D. João III, and the first to be colonized in the beginning of 1532. The villages emerged on the sedimentary plains by the sea where the water resources and soil promoted a favourable agricultural growth and allowed the raising of cattle herds. In the area of the shores of the province of Rio de Janeiro, the French seeked alliances with the indians in order to establish "Austral France". In 1556 the tupinambá indians were leading the Tamoio Confederation under the rule of Cunhambebe, the "Great Chief".
While besieging the town of São Vicente, the indians captured Hans Staden. In 1557 the Portuguese, or "perós" recaptured the Fort of São Felipe, and crossing the Bertioga channel raised the Fort of Santiago.Both forts defended the settlers against the fearsome cannibals. The most famous report about the life of the indians was written by the German Hans Staden who lived as a prisoner with the indians and almost turned into lunch in the settlement of Iperoig, known today as Ubatuba.

Staden, an adventurer.

He managed to avoid being eaten for thanksgiving, and the first edition of his report in 1557 was presented as the "Real history and description of a country inhabited by savage naked men and cannibals situated in the new world called América, unknown in the country of Hessen before and after the birth of Jesus Christ until last year. Hans Staden from Homberg in Hessen saw and experienced it by himself and now divulges this report thanks to the invention of printing".
The remains of the indian population still appear on the free markets and local fairs of artisans, selling their traditional products among brownskinned caiçaras who, not rarely, blink their blue eyes inherited from the French. Visiting the indian villages depends on prior authorization from the Funai Institute.

Hard Times

During the first half of the nineteenth century the northern shores underwent a period of growth. At first they were difficult times due to the constant harassing by pirates that roamed the coast bringing terror to the local populations and that only would fade after 1830.
Beyond that, the shores resented the lack of communication with the upland. The trails established by Father Dória connecting São Sebastião to the the other side of the mountains and Ubatuba to São Luís do Paraitinga are both from this century.
The opening of these trails was stimulated by a new product, coffee, with Ubatuba and São Sebastião leading its cultivation and export. The improvement of the roads would occur only later in the sixties with the beginning of tourism.


Having had their importance as coffe ports, São Sebastião e Ubatuba started to decline when in 1867 the railroad between São Paulo and Santos became operational. In 1877 the railway connection between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro was established. These tracks contributed to the economic decay of the northern shores.
Beyond the day to day farming and fishing the area developed the growing of bananas, a culture that was introduced from the lowlands of Santos in the beginning of the eighteenth century and intensified in the next. Several attempts were made to link São Sebastião to the uplands of São Paulo by railway.
Ubatuba even started to partially build a railway with french technology . Luckily for the later on coming tourists it wasn't successful. The area preserved its beauty for a new discovery. Today it holds a magnificent past and lonely beaches waiting for the new adventurers with their four by fours, bikes, boats and yachts,offering marinas, an extensive array of hotels, intense nightlife and a thriving commerce.

Welcome  | Culinary | History | Legends | Yachting | Fishes | Pirates | Rio-Santos | Access | Satellite Image

Caraguatatuba Ilhabela São Sebastião Ubatuba


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