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Paquetá Island

Paquetá Island

Paquetá Island is an island in the Guanabara Bay and is a district of Rio de Janeiro city. The name of the island was already given by the Tupi tribes. The meaning of the name itself is still open for discussion, some say it means "many shells", a reference to the plentiful shells on the island's beaches, others say it comes from a small rodent "cuniculus paca" that was found present on the island. Cars are not allowed on the island.


Paquetá Island was first mentioned by the French cosmographer André Thevet, who joined the expedition of de Villegaignon in December 1555. Up to the end of the 15th century though the Tamoio Indians used Paquetá Island already as hunting and living grounds. The discovery was acknowledge by king Henri II as a French discovery in 1556. Only 10 years later the city of  "Saint Sebastian of Rio de Janeiro" will be founded officially by the Portuguese.
After the Portuguese beat the French the island was divided in two allotments (sesmarias), "Campo" and "Ponte". The island was used for production of fruits, vegetables, stones and timber for construction. When the Portuguese court arrived in Rio de Janeiro, the island gained a more important status as a political centre and lots of aristocrats started visiting the island or started living on the island. Nowadays the main characteristic of the island is more touristic.

Attractions and monuments

Preserved trees

Boabab Tree

An official decree of 1967 (Decreto Estadual E 1902) placed 10 trees under official protection. One of the most famoes trees is the "Árvore Maria Gorda" and can be found at 425 Tamoios Beach, it is a rare example of an African Baobá tree of a few hundred years old with a circumference of 7 meters. The beautiful flower of this tree has medical aplications.
Other examples of the protected trees are:

  • The almond tree at the corner of Praia dos Tamoios and Ladeira do Vicente.
  • The mango tree at 44 Padre Juvenal Street.
  • The tamarind tree at 221 José Bonifácio Beach (Praia José Bonifácio, 221).
  • The breadfruit tree at 210 Comandante Guedes de Carvalho Street.
  • The mango tree at the corner of Comandante Guedes de Carvalho Street and Monoel de Macedo Street.
  • The mango tree at the corner of Frei Leopoldo Street and Manoel de Macedo Street.
  • The tamarind tree at 258 Praia das Gaivotas.

Paquetá Cemetery (Cemitério de Paquetá)

35 Manoel de Macedo Street
The cemetery that was inaugrated in 1867 emits a cozy and peaceful atmosphere. It contains two landmarks worth visiting: The stone chapel built by the painter Pedro Bruno and the Navy mausoleum of 1912, made in memory of sailors and officers that fought in the Revolta da Armada (Rebellion of the Armada).

Bird Cemetery

Manoel de Macedo street next to the Paquetá Cemetery
It must be the only cemetery for birds in the world, originally it was a project of Pedro Bruno and Augusto Silva, to express the community's love for birds and nature, and the freedom of spirit characteristic of the Island. Two little monuments can be found in the cemetery: "O Pássaro Abatido" and "Pouso do Pássaro Cansado"


Darke de Mattos Park (Parque Darke de Mattos)

On the corner of José Bonifácio beach and Luis de Andrade street.

A romantic park with several centenary trees, garden, trails and lookouts located on the edge of the Valdez allotment, the last remaining area of the original farm. It was dismembered from 1747 on. Several tunnels that were made by the Jesuits up to the mid-eighteenth century can be found were white clay was extracted from Morro da Cruz to make porcelain. In the late 19th century, a textile factory and a rice refinery were implanted. With the decline of these productive activities,  Morro da Cruz was sold to Bhoering de Mattos who at the time was the owner of Bhoering Chocolate and Globo Coffee. His daughter donated the property to the municipality, who then  transformed it into Parque Darke de Mattos.

House of José Bonifácio (Casa de José Bonifácio)

119 José Bonifácio Beach

José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, lived on the island in this house. He was an important intellectual and tutor of the children of  D.Pedro I. He was also known as the Patriarch of Independence. The house itself cannot be visited, visitors are allowed on the grounds only.


Church of Senhor Bom Jesus do Monte (Igreja do Senhor Bom Jesus do Monte)

Bom Jesus

45 Tamoios Beach

This is the Paquetá's Parish Church. The original chapel was built in 1763. The latest renovations took place around the turn of the 20th century.


Bridge of Longing (Ponte da Saudade)

On José Bonifácio beach in front of n° 31.

A legend tells the story of João Saudade  an African warrior of the Benguela nation brought to Paquetá as a slave. According to tradition,  he went to the bridge every afternoon at sunset to cry for his wife and son whom he missed and longed for. In the midst of a lightening, he suddenly disappeared and was never seen again. People say he rejoined his family.


Rock of Lovers (Pedra dos Namorados)

Next to "Ponte da Saudade"

According to a romantic legend, a person has to stand with his back towards the rock, than throw 3 pebbles over his shoulders on to the rock, if one of the pebbles remain on the rock, this person is certain of an everlasting relationship of love.


El Rey's Manor-House (Solar D'El Rey)

Príncipe Regente Street (Rua Príncipe Regente, 55)

When prince regent D. João had to look for shelter during a thunderstorm, he ended up in the house of a slave dealer named Francisco Gonçalves da Fonseca. Afterwards D. João visited the island several times and always stayed at the house of the slave dealer.  That's how the house got its name. In the 1920's, the house held the headquarters of the Brazilian School (Escola Brasileira). In 1937 it came under the protection of the IPHAN, that guarantees its preservation. Since 1977, the house serves as the Library of Paquetá.


Cannon at Tamoios Beach (Canhão de saudades a D. João VI)

Tamoios Beach (Praia dos Tamoios), across the way from numbers 341/349 .

The cannon was part of a battery of cannons used to greet D. João VI when he arrived on Paquetá island, "The Isle of Love" as the King used to call it.


Moreninha Rock (Pedra da Moreninha)

At the end of Moreninha Beach (Praia da Moreninha)

This rock has been immortalized by Joaquim Manoel de Macedo in his novel "A Moreninha". Next to the rock various trails heading into the forest can be found.


São Roque Chapel (Capela de São Roque)

São Roque

São Roque square

The name of the chapel comes from its first worshippers, the owners of the São Roque farm and of the population to the patron saint. The chapel was inaugurated in 1698. A  marvelous painting by the hand of Pedro Bruno hangs above the altar. Unfortunately the chapel only opens for weekly services from 9:00 to 10:00 am.

Renato Antunes Bandstand (Coreto Renato Antunes)

São Roque square

A little bandstand, typical for little towns or cyties, it was built during the administration of Marcelo Cardoso, in the early 1980's. The bandstand is used for the festivities of São Roque and São João.


São Roque Well (Poço de São Roque)

Next to São Roque chapel

Initialy the well was constructed to provide water to the São Roque Farm. Another legend on the island says that whomever drinks from its water  thinking of the girl you love, this girl will fall in love with you and you will also fall in love with the island. The water of the well is also believed to cure ulcers. After D. João VI drank of this well, a skin ulcer on his leg cured miraculously.


Rural residence of the Coconut Trees (Chácara dos Coqueiros)

At the end of the Castagneto beach.

Separated from São Roque Farm, in 1871 the property was used as a "Blood Hospital" where transfusions were given to those wounded in combat during the Rebellion of the Armada. It was also a teaching establishment for a few years: Brazil Institute (Instituto Brasil).



Painter Pedro Bruno Square (Praça Pintor Pedro Bruno)

Next to the ferry station.

The square was a project of Pedro Bruno himself. Many of his works can be found on the square:  stone water fountain, benches and bougainvillea columns. Paulo Mazzuchelli carved the bronze bust of Pedro Bruno. When the square was inaugurated the artist Pedro Bruno was still alive and already the square was carrying his name out of recognition for his importance on the island.


Rainha Dona Amélia Preventive Service (Preventório Rainha Dona Amélia)

Catimbau beach (Praia do Catimbau)

A beautiful mansion from the early twentieth century, nowadays supported by Ataulfo de Paiva Foundation, it operates as a semi-boarding school for deprived children. There are several eclectic buildings forming an architectonic collection. It is not open to visitors.


Paquetá House of Arts (Casa de Artes Paquetá)

31 São Roque Square (Praça de São Roque, 31)

The Cultural Center of Paquetá Island, it promotes artistic and cultural events.



Saint Roque Festivity

the weekend nearest to  august 16th.  In honor of the Island's patron saint.


Saint Peter Festivity

29/06 In honor of the patron saint of fishermen who keep their traditional maritime procession.


How to get there:

First you have to get to the "Praça XV" by taxi, bus, subway or car. Once you're there you head for the ferry terminal to get the ferry, wich will take about 70 minutes to get there.

Rio de Janeiro (Praça XV) - Paquetá: (R$ 4,50 one way)

Mon. thru Fri. 5:15 am. 7:10 am. 10:30 am. 1:30 pm. 4:00 pm. 5:45 pm. 7:00 pm. 9:00 pm. 11:00 pm.
Sat./Sun/Holidays 5:15 am. 7:10 am. 10:30 am. 1:30 pm. 4:00 pm. 5:45 pm. 7:00 pm. 9:00 pm. 11:00 pm.




Paquetá - Rio de Janeiro (Praça XV): (R$ 4,50 one way)

Mon. thru Fri. 5:30 am. 7:00 am. 9:00 am. 12:00 o'clock 3:00 pm. 5:30 pm. 7:15 pm. 8:30 pm. 10:15 pm.
Sat./Sun/Holidays 5:30 am. 7:00 am. 9:00 am. 12:00 o'clock 3:00 pm. 5:30 pm. 7:15 pm. 8:30 pm. 10:15 pm.

Paquetá Island

Ilha de paquetá Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil

Latitude: -22.759722
Longitude: -43.108889
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