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Camamù Bay

Some 30 nautical miles north of Itacarè lays the Bay of Camamu. There are a lot of different villages in the bay and up the river. For us it was the first time navigating in a river, most of it uncharted.


If you are interested in local culture, you might enjoy a visit to Cajaiba, the village where most of Brazil’s “schooners” are built.  This village is incredible, you will not find it on tourists guides like the Lonely Planet, and a search query on Google returns 0 results.

Cajaiba, the only church
Cajaiba, elementary school

I believe everyone in the village works in the “shipping yard”.  Well, if that can be called a shipping yard.  The process of building 1 boat takes about 9 months and 20 men.

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These impressive wooden ships are built entirely by hand using traditional “old school” boat building methods.

Most of the workers were wearing flip flops, and there was no concern about safety:  Look at this guy using a chain saw…

Shipyard personnel were very nice and let us visit the yard and climb on the boats…

These boats are just fantastic, it’s really nice that they let us walk around them.

Most are sold for use in tourist destinations in Brazil, like Ilha Grande and Bahia de Todos Os Santos.

There is one guy in the village who builds small scale replicas for the owners:

All in all it was a very interesting visit and we felt so lucky we had the opportunity to get there.  Once again, this little town is off the beaten path and even most of Brazilians ignore its existence.


Sailing south in the Rio da Serra, we arrived to the little village of Maraù.

Maraù was for us just a staging stop to get to che famous Cachoeira do Tremembé.  There isn’t really much going on here.

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Cachoeira do Tremembé

This waterfall is pretty amazing.  You can get there with your dinghy navigating on the river.  Quite a unique experience.  Here is our track if someone wants to get there:

Tracks from Maraù to Cachoeira do Tremembé

When we got there the spectacle was amazing…  Where else in the world you can get to a waterfall by sailing on your own sailboat up a river?


Camamù is the most insignificant town we’ve visited so far in Brazil.  It reminds me of Bakersfield, CA.

There is no reason to go there, really.  There is practically nothing worth seeing.

So why we went there?  We went there because the French sailor Michel Balette in his pilot book says that on Saturdays you have an amazing farmers market.  Quoting from his Pilot book:

[quote author=”” source=”” ]”The entire population of all the villages in the region converges on the town to buy, sell, exchange and barter.  They come from all over, on foot, on horseback, by donkey, by boat and flock to the enormous market square”. [/quote]

We went there on a Saturday morning and we were really not impressed.  The Pilot book was printed in 2010, evidently something happened in the last 10 years.

I think I’ll send an email to Michel Balette and ask him to review the information about Camamù in the next edition of his Pilot book.

Anyways, to get there we took a fast boat and we really enjoyed the ride.  The town was quite rich back in the XVII century as the area became the largest producer of cassava in Brazil.

So it became the target of pirates, especially Dutch. Because of this, the inhabitants blocked the passage to the harbor with huge underwater rocks. The rocks are still there today, and the captains of the passenger speed boats sail very fast zig-zagging in the river in order to avoid them. They are totally covered by water and there are no marks, so they must have memorized them all!

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Ilha do Goiò

This anchorage was very nice and quite.  There is a little shack on the beach where you can get a beer and watch the sunset.

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Barra Grande

Barra Grande is a charming little village that reminded me a lot Abraho in Ilha Grande.  The streets are unpaved, just sand. There are lots of nice restaurants and pausadas, and it looks like in high season should be a very lively place.

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The highlight of Barra Grande was that together with Joaquin and Monica of Plan B we rented some quads and went around exploring the island.  Ahhh…. if only I had my dirt bike and my riding gear!

Magnificent trails for a dirt bike.  Not so much with a quad, especially for the passenger!

All in all we loved Camamu bay and we highly recommend it.  Good time was had by all.

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