Rio Grande is as old as the history of the whole south region. It was explored by Portuguese sailors led by Martim Afonso de Sousa who sailed the southern Brazilian coast to the defend from the French.
It´s the last harbour for those who sail southbound to Uruguay or Argentina from the Brazilian coast and need to make a call. The huge port is one of the most important in Brazil used for export of commodities and fishing industry.
Rio Grande is surrounded by the Lagoa dos Patos and Pampa fields with low vegetation and the climate is mostly cool with very strong winds.
Lagoa dos Patos is the second largest lagoon in Latin America and the biggest in Brazil. The most accepted etymology is that the name “Patos” comes from an indigenous tribe that used to live in the area when the Europeans arrived. The lagoon is basically from Porto Alegre city to Rio Grande with the outlet to the Atlantic. It is 280 km long, has a maximum width of 70 km. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a sandbar about 5 miles (8 kilometers) wide. Most of this area is a reserve for fauna and flora.