Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.Robert Frost
Along the Costa Verde of Brazil, there is a little Portuguese colonial town, backed by mountains, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo : Let us introduce you to the charming Paraty.
Symbol of the Brazilian Gold Rush era, the town has beautiful architectural landmarks, such as the waterfront Capela de Santa Risa, a famous whitewashed church built in 1722.
Highly appreciated for its charming historic centre as well, this is a destination extremely coveted by both locals and tourists.
Among Brazilians, Paraty is also communally referred to as “um Paraiso Preservado”, literally translated: A preserved paradise.
From its charming historic centre to its incredible surrounding’s beaches, Paraty combines everything to spend a lovely time. So as you understood it, it’s a must while you are discovering the South East of Brazil.
Want to get a look around with us?
↠ Currency – Brazilian Reais (BRL)
↠ Best time to go – From April to June, it’s the low season, so prices will be lower and the streets less busy. Avoid January and February if possible, as it’s the rainy season and also overpopulated by tourists.
↠ Prices – Mid-range
↠ Airport – Aeroporto de Paraty. It’s also easily accessible by buses from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo.
↠ Best way to travel – There are plenty of cheap bus rides from the city centre to the different beaches of the city. Biking can be a good option as well and it will give you more freedom for your activities’ schedule and, of course, it’s a more sustainable solution.
Top 10 things to do
1 – Centro historico
Classed at UNESCO World Heritage, this is an unmissable stop while you are in the city. Wandering around these white buildings from the 17th century, sprinkled with touches of blue and yellow, is so enjoyable for your eyes.
And the bonus: it’s forbidden to cars, which makes it not only safer but nicer to discover its countless cobbled streets.
We arrived in Paraty at 5h30 am by bus from São Paulo, just on time to catch the sunrise and witness the city, slowly awaking and showing its beautiful colors.
It’s amazing to enjoy the cultural heart of the city, with no one around and also when the heat isn’t bumping you.
2 – Paraty’s marina
During your tour through the historic centre, you have to make a stop at the marina.
Filled with amazingly colored boats, this is a really cute spot. We watched the sunrise over there and it was truly wonderful.
3 – Trindade
Trindade is a little gem, a small fishermen’s village, 45 minutes away from Paraty. Buses are leaving each hour from Paraty’s bus station to Trindade.
The ride will cost you 5 reals per person (approximately 1 euro) and you can pay it straight with the bus driver.
On your way, you will enjoy a scenic drive through the jungle of the Costa Verde, until you will reach the beautiful coast of Trindade.
4 – Praia do Cachadaço
During those 3 months in Brazil, this beach is, without any doubts, the most beautiful one I’ve seen. Unspoiled and wild, this long sandy beach is such a peaceful place. It’s cutting you off from the rest of the world and it makes you feel so privileged.
Surrounded by greenish mountains, with powerful waves stretching along the shores, this spot is uniquely breathtaking.
5 – Piscina natural do Cachadaço
From Praia do Cachadaço, you can access through a 40/45 minutes challenging hike, to another treasure of Trindade : its Piscina Natural.
As you hike through the lush and luxuriant jungle, you can smell the fruits and hear the sweet music of the waves. And as a final reward, you will arrive the Cachadaço Natural Pools.
The area is protected from the open seas by large rocks, which makes the water clearer and populated by multicoloured fishes. It’s a great spot for snokerling.
6 – Ilha dos Pássaros
From the main beach of Paraty, Praia do Jabaquara, you can access by kayak, stand up paddle or even by swim to the beautiful Ilha dos Pássaros, which means Birds Island in english. It’s one of the 65 islands that composed Paraty’s bay and it’s the home of an incredible scenery. Its clear waters host a multitude of fishes and its trees are a sanctuary for many species of tropical birds.
7 – Praia do Forte
After Ilha dos Pássaros, you can keep going until Praia do Forte. The beach is a quiet spot, perfect to chill out on a hot afternoon.
As the name suggests, this place is known for hosting an ancient fort. It’s the only one in Paraty, built in 1793 in order to protect the flow of gold from the pirates.
From the beach you can reach the fort through a nice walk up. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with one of the most awesome view imaginable over Paraty’s bay.
8 – Cachaça testing
Cachaça is the most emblematic and traditional liquor of Brazil. Main ingredient of Brazil’s ultimate signature cocktail : Caipirinha.
Paraty is known for having one of the best Cachaça distilleries of the whole country, so it’s only making sense to allow yourself a Cachaça testing during your stay in the city. Try the corn Cachaça, that’s our favorite.
9 – Kayak tour in Paraty’s bay
Want to discover some hidden spots along Paraty’s bay ? The best way to do it is by renting a kayak with one of the many touristic agency of the city. We personally recommend Paraty Explorer.
A great exploration through the mangrove, meetings with some vividly red crabs and an unique discovery of desert beaches with the most blue sapphire-colored water, as far as the eye can see. Most of them aren’t even accessible by boats, how great to have such wonderful beaches just for yourself ?
10 – Natural slide of Penha
Only 8 km from Paraty, we invite you to check another awesome spot : Cachoeira Toboga or also called Cachoeira da Penha (The Penha’s Waterfall). You can access there from Paraty’s bus station, taking the line going to Penha, the ride lasts only 30 minutes.
It’s a natural slide, surrounded by beautiful waterfalls and little pools for those who want to enjoy a refreshing and invigorating swim. A fun moment sliding down its smooth surface into a chiller river below. The way down isn’t that sloping, which makes it completely safe.
If you keep going up, you will arrive into a beautiful bamboo forest and emerge onto an incredible series of secluded waterfalls. A perfect morning activity right ? Sliding down some natural slide and jumping off waterfalls, enough to make you feel like a kid again.
Where to stay ?
Fancy – Mamangua Eco Lodge, a peaceful place by the ocean.
Mid Range – Just in front of the Praia do Jabaquara, Hostel Sereia do Mar.
Don’t break the bank – Enjoy another great location at Geko Hostel & Pousada Paraty
About us – We spent our 2 nights in Paraty in a charming place, with a nice refreshing pool, perfect for the summer days : Pousade Cores do Mar. The location was also great, a minute away from the main beach.
Where to eat ?
- Manuê – 01 Rua Joao do Prado
- Tore de Italia – 615 Rua Mal. Deodoro
- Restaurante Tempero Mineiro – 19 Rua Dom Pedro I ♥︎
- Casa Cacaira – Along Praia do Cachadaço, in Trindade ♥︎
- Maria Fulô Bistrô Natural – 656 Rua Presidente Pedreira
- Istanbul Paraty – Rua Manoel Tôrres
Where to get a drink?
- Cervejaria Caborê – 421 Avenida Octávio Gama
- Geko Chill Beach Bar – 4 Avenida Orlando Carpinelli
- BalacoBacco Beach Bar – Avenida Jabaquara ♥︎
– Paraty’s region is known for hosting a lot of mosquitos, especially during the rainy summer season. Bring with you a repellent for mosquitos. Apply it especially at sunset time and through the evening, that’s their rush hours.
– Get in advance at the bus station when you go to Trindade, it tends to get crowded. So, to avoid and endless queue and to be squeezed standing up during the way, arrive 20 to 25 minutes in advance, to be able to sit during the ride. Between the bumpy roads and the tight turns, this ride is quite turbulent.
However, we spent it up on the way in and it was actually quite funny for us, but on the way back, after hours of hiking, a sit was more than appreciated.
– While you explore Trindade, especially its natural pools, we highly advise you to avoid the weekends. The amount of people increases and makes the discovery of this beautiful place less nice. If you don’t have a choice, try to go there the earliest you can.
– For the natural pools, you better check the tides as well, to be sure to enjoy the place with the best conditions.
– The most recommended Paraty’s cachaça distillery is Maria Izabel. They are producing one of the best cachaça by hand since 1996.
– Even though the natural slide of Penha isn’t dangerous at all, we recommend you not to imitate the locals, they are more daring and fearless. They have countless of those natural slide throughout Brazil and are doing that since they are kids, so unless you really feel confident about it, going down sitting is already full of sensations.
– Give a taste to a delicious Açai bowl at Manuê, so refreshing and yummy.
– Our special eco tip
Don’t take the boat rides from Praia do Cachadaço to the Piscina natural.
A lot of persons don’t want to bother trying to find the path through the jungle to access to the natural pools and pay boat rides to get there.
Not only this participates to make the place overcrowded, but those boats are coming in and out approximately every 5 minutes, which spoiled the purity and clarity of the water. Plus, this place is a refuge for many species of fishes that tend now to desert the pool’s waters because they are frightened by the excessive traffic of boats.
What was once an unspoiled and protected area, is becoming damaged by human activities.
Some treasures of the nature have to be deserved, if you want to enjoy it, you have to respect the nature. Besides, the walk through the jungle is part of the charm, an occasion to discover the beautiful nature that surrounds us. This region is called Costa Verde – the Green Coast for a reason, let’s enjoy the show provided by this amazing scenery.
Using ways that are destroying natural landscapes that you want to visit for their preserved beauties doesn’t make any sense, does it?
Please, consider this when you are traveling. If we want to keep our ability to visit such places, let’s act more mindfully.
Hoping you enjoyed your time with us.
See you soon for a new adventure around the world.