The town of Paraty in Brazil, situated between steep, jungled mountains and an island-spotted bay, has a spectacular setting and a colonial center that has been a National Historic Site since 1966. Pedestrianized streets line the town’s charming lanes, adorned with elegant white buildings beneath fanciful multicolored borders, while latticed windows fit seamlessly with the surrounding natural beauty. (Despite the ankle-twisting cobblestones, however!)
In 1650, Paraty (sometimes spelled Parati) first became a station of the Portuguese on their route carrying gold from Brazil’s Minas Gerais region back to Portugal.
Due to increasing pirate attacks, it became more and more difficult for the Portuguese to safely transport gold to Portugal, so they began bypassing Paraty.
Starting up in Paraty
Despite its excellent location next to Rio, São Paulo, and Paraty is packed with local and overseas visitors on weekends because of its proximity to both cities and its UNESCO status. Although Paraty is an example of Portuguese colonial architecture and one of the most popular tourist destinations, it retains its charm and relaxing atmosphere.
Since we have been traveling in Colombia, we haven’t visited such a beautiful colonial city. In contrast, in South America, we’ve seen plenty of them, for instance, the charming Villa de Leyva or our favorite Yard. Even though Paraty has postcard-perfect cobblestone streets and adorable houses all year round, its frequent rain should not deter you from visiting the town since the rain will show you another city feature other than the charming cobblestone streets and cute houses.
When it rains heavily, the cobblestones of streets create channels to drain excess water. It is possible to take beautiful photos of colorful houses reflecting in canals when it rains. During a full moon on the second week of every month, seawater rises (during high tide), enter the city, and cleanses the place. Paraty becomes a miniature Venice every month thanks to this architectural masterpiece.
This travel guide for visiting Paraty was compiled due to visitors’ reviews on the Brazilian coast.
Visit Pousada and Enjoy Your Time
It does not take much time for a visitor to discover that Paraty is vast, and there are lots of pousadas to choose from, some of which are better than others.
The perfect place to stay in Paraty ensured we enjoyed our stay in the town to the fullest, and we could not wait to get back to our retreat, Pousada Literária de Paraty, after spending the whole day outdoors.
The Top 10 Things to Do and See in Paraty
Take a stroll through the Historic Center.
Visiting Paraty’s historical center fills you with a sense of the town’s history and charm. The Portuguese influence is apparent in the architecture of the buildings, which are white with colorful door and window frames and have cobblestone streets connecting them. The Matriz Square and the Santa Rita Church, and the surrounding houses are two sights you may not want to miss visiting while you are here.
Relax on the beaches of Barra do Corumbê
The Beaches of Barra do Corumbê lovely beach for a day trip with the family, particularly with young children. The water at this beach is safe, clean, and shallow, and it offers superb views of the bay. As it has smooth waters, you will have no problem getting your balance on the board at the beach since you can learn standup surf paddling there. You can also go to nearby restaurants such as Corumbeer, which has a natural pool right on the beach and is excellent for children, or Cheiro de Camar*o, which serves terrific seafood.
The Mangroves of Jabaquara Are Worth Exploring.
The only way to reach the mangroves is through Jabaquara beach, which means you have to cross the sea, adding another layer of adventure to the adventure. Getting close to the mangroves can be done by renting a kayak and rowing over to them, which is the most fun way. You will find the impressive Saquinho do Corumbê, a small bay with crystal clear water.
Enjoy a Boat Ride
Among the best things to do in Paraty is to take a boat trip to check out a natural wonder nearby. At 11 a.m., the boat tours leave the port. You can return four hours later. There are numerous beaches and coves to admire during your stay, including Praia da Lula, Praia Vermelha, and Praia de Santa Rita. Snorkel gear is provided so that guests can observe the marine life and be served food and drinks, such as caipirinhas, while onboard.
Experience the Excitement of Praia do Cão Morto’s Beach
Thanks to its unfortunate name, Cão Morto does not bear any resemblance to the beach it boasts. There is a long crescent of soft sand on the beach, pristine waters that gently slope into the shallows for meters, and for miles behind the beach, there are remnants of a dense, rich Atlantic forest. There is an impression of an expansive salty lake instead of the sea from the immense greenery surrounding it.
Discover the Beauty of Saco do Mamanguá
A natural wonder as unique as Saco do Mamanguá, yet largely unnoticed by tourists. A corridor runs between the sea and a series of breathtaking green peaks, like in a fjord. In addition to the best beaches, the area is home to scenic mangroves and beautiful hiking trails.
Visit the Local Distilleries and Sample Some Passable cachaça
The Festival da Pinga in August commemorates the fact that Paraty boasts a locally-made cachaça. It is worth visiting the distilleries to sample high-quality cachaça and purchase some bottles as souvenirs. There is an option to hire a jeep for a tour of the distilleries, providing fascinating information from the local guides.
Enjoy a Visit to Praia Grande
Praia Grande is located in the island’s central fishing hub, home to a bustling local fish market where fresh catches are traded every day. It would be best to take a short distance from Praia Grande to Prainha, a fishing village where you can enjoy the best and freshest seafood in Paraty. Also, it’s possible to reach Ilha do Araújo by boat from Praia Grande. A rich landscape is waiting to be explored here, with secluded beaches, dense forests, and small bars.
Waterfalls Are a Great Place to Take a Dip
It would be best to visit the nearby waterfalls that are nestled within the surrounding Atlantic jungle. There are many waterfalls for tourists to see in the wilderness, including Tarzan, Tobog*, Poços do Penha, and Poço das Andorinhas, all of which offer inviting swimming opportunities under the exotic foliage. If you rent a bike and want to ride there, you can hire a jeep and visit these waterfalls.
Grauna Mountain Region Escape
Grauna is a mountainous region just outside Paraty with stunning scenery and charming villages and waterfalls. You can dine at the public restaurant of Le Gite D’Indaiatiba in the heart of the forest, which serves gourmet, authentic French cuisine. You may also be willing to check out the local trails if you are interested in hiking.
There are easy access points to Paraty from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Sao Paulo has five buses daily that operate from Paraty. The bus ride takes about six to seven hours and is R77 per person.