Mangrove in Paraty
A tour of the mangrove in Paraty is an unforgettable part of any visit.
Mangrove, also known as a tidal forest, is made up of plants that are resistant to salt water and can be found in the transitional zone between sea and land in the tropics. With its nutrient filled waters the mangrove, often referred to as a marine nursery, is the perfect place for young fish, shrimp and crabs to grow in a safe environment. In addition to this the complex root systems help prevent coastal erosion due to the action of the waves and stormy weather. Understanding how the mangrove benefits the environment is still not yet fully understoond. By way of example, a recent study has calculated that mangrove in the Amazon stores roughly double the amount of carbon stored by the region’s rainforests.
Brazil has approximately 15% of the world’s total mangrove and historically Paraty, with its protected bays, has been an important centre for mangrove supporting marine life in the larger Bay of Ilha Grande and an integral part of the local Caicara way of living. To this day, during full and new moons when the tide goes out further, local people will go into the mangrove searching for charru mussels and edible crabs when in season.
Mangrove can be found throughout the municipality of Paraty. The most easily accessible mangrove is found in front of the historic old town centre on the Terra Nova (New Land), making it popular with birdwatchers. Short kayak trips from Jabaquara beach heading towards Itu Island will get you to some healthy mangrove in the bay of Paraty. However, more extensive areas of mangrove can be found at the back of the bay of Mamangua and in the mostly overlooked Saco do Fundão bay.
You can get close to Mangrove by boat but to really get up close and personal its best by canoe or kayak. A kayak tour that includes a visit to the mangrove is an enjoyable and entertaining way to observe the wildlife – fish, shrimp, crabs and birds – and better understand how the eco-system works and its importance to the environment and local economy.