The walls of the Santa Cruz da Barra Fortress were erected in 1555 using rocks that were cut and settled by hand. Located on the entrance of the Guanabara Bay, it has 45 cannons from the 18th and 19th centuries and a chapel built in 1612 with a 18th century image of Santa Bárbara. The São Luiz Fortress finished building in 1775 and has a collection of cannons of different calibers that were used during the 2nd World War and were brought to Brazil as wars trophies. On the top of the Pico Fort, the visitors will be surprised with a 360º view that encompasses the Santa Cruz Fortress, the city of Rio, the entrance of the Guanabara Bay, the Corcovado and the Sugar Loaf. Built in 1555, Barão do Rio Branco Fort is the oldest one in the complex, and was the place in which the Dutch squad and the Duclerc French expeditions were defeated.
The island is inhospitable, surrounded by steep rocks and has no beach, which makes landing on the island very complex and difficult. But those who look more closely at the horizon from the edge of Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon, at night, must have already seen flashes of white and red cutting through the darkness of the sea. The luminous signs are from the Ilha Rasa Lighthouse, which building was authorised by D. João VI in 1819 and marked by several historical events. It construction was finished in 1829, and became the first Lighthouse to be open after Brazilian Proclamation of Independence. At the time of construction, at the highest point of the island, the lighthouse was also used as a military headquarter, housing artillery pieces that are still preserved today. The place also functioned as a political prison where the anarchist José Oiticica and other prisoners were held during the government of Getúlio Vargas. In addition, the Rasa Island Lighthouse has been the scene of films and inspired poets and musicians such as Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Edu Lobo. Currently, it is administered by the Brazilian Navy, being an important instrument of navigation control due to its strategic location. The Brazilian Navy maintains a fixed garrison on the island, where there is now a helipad, but supply is still done by sea. For logistical and environmental reasons, there is no public visitation to the Lighthouse.