Manatee distribution – From Wikipedia

Manatees live in warm tropical waters, in the Caribbean, West Africa, and in the Amazon basin. In the northeast of Brazil, there are some conservation projects to promote and protect these unusual animals.

We visited one of these sites, at Barra de Mamanguape, north of João Pessoa. (It’s about 2 hours drive from the city, with a few short stops). We were also test driving a car for the weekend, more on that later.

Visit for all the details.

There’s a car ferry from Cabedelo, at the north end of João Pessoa, so we got on to the BR-230 motorway nice and early, aiming to arrive at our destination in time for lunch. The ferry is about R$ 17 (€4) one-way for a car & four passengers.

route to peixe boi
The roads get fairly bad after you pass the Igreja da Guia.

One of the oldest churches in all of Brazil is just across the water, near Lucena. A brief tour from the attendant was well worth the price of the small tip.

And finally…


A boat tour out into the lagoon, plus a visit to the exhibits on site, costs about R$15 (€3.50). We were lucky enough to have a Manatee come right up alongside the boat, he sniffed around for a couple of minutes, and having satisfied his curiosity, headed back off to munch on some more seagrass.

After all the excitement we had a bit of a swim on the beach nearby to cool off at the end of the day.