Santos and South Coast

Santos and South Coast is a region in the state of São Paulo. It is formed by the Baixada Santista, a coastal metropolitan area with 1.6 million inhabitants centered on Santos, and the Paulista part of the Ribeira Valley, Brazil's largest area of primary Atlantic rainforest, part of the Atlantic Forest South-East Reserves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


"Little Sea" at Araça, Ilha Comprida


Other destinations


Without doubt, the South Coast is where the São Paulo state was born, with the foundation of the São Vicente village in 1532. The early years of the region where marked by violent fights between Portuguese settlers and native Brazilians, and by the difficulty of Portuguese settlers on achieving economical prosperity. This second factor has lead to expeditions to the inner part of the state, the so-called Bandeiras, with the expeditioners, the Bandeirantes, becoming major historical figures in the state.

The region would have many economical ups and downs until the XIX century, when the boom of coffee farming happened. Santos quickly became the most important port of Brazil, a status that it maintains until nowadays, thanks to the industralization era that started in the 1950s. The surrounding cities became either dormitory cities for workers of the port of Santos, or beach resort towns for Paulistas. Eventually those cities conurbated with Santos, forming the metropolis known as Baixada Santista.

In the south of the region, the Ribeira Valley, on the other hand, never recovered from economical stagnation. This fact, while keeping the cities from the region small and relatively poor, ironically contributed to the preservation of the region's Atlantic rainforest, beaches and Colonial-era (pre-XIX century) historical heritage - making the region a true unspoiled gem in the state.


Stay safe

Crime is a major problem in the Baixada Santista metro area, with only Bertioga being relatively safe. Walking at night should be restricted to well-trafficked areas. The Ribeira Valley is not particularly dangerous for visitors, although one must remember that it is a poor region, where one must avoid displaying possessions and entering very poor areas.

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