Paraty is an absolutely charming, little colonial dream sorrounded by lush forests, waterfall and beautiful little islands. What´s not to love am I right?
Located about four hours by bus from Rio de Janeiro and six from Sâo Paulo and absolutely safe it is perfect for two or three days of relaxation between city hopping.
If you already used Easy Transfer to get to Ilha Grande they can easily get you to Paraty as well and will also give you an almost unbeatable discount. Another advantage is the fact that they take you door to door.
Otherwise buses leave regularly from Angra dos Reis to the bus station of Paraty. As they can use a special lane they will get you there faster, than the Easy Transfer shuttle, that has to take the curvy costal road and the bus station in Paraty is so central that you can easily walk to your accommodation.
Where to stay
We had an absolutely amazing time staying at Leo´s Clan Beach Hotel and I can´t reccomend it enough. The owner Leo is an absolutely amazing, fun person that will help you with anything, there is a little pool on a rooftop (say whaaat?) and regular barbecues. What more can you ask for?
It is also located right next to the historic centre and offers cheap double room and really cool day trips.
What to do
Paraty is not necessarily huge so just taking a stroll through the picturesque cobble stone streets is a wonderful first day activity. While just soaking up the beauty around you can be wonderful the city has such a rich history you should not miss out on the free walking tours offered by Free Walkers. I already mentioned them in my Rio posts and think they are wonderful company. Their tours leave daily from the main square at 5pm and I thoroughly enjoyed them. There are some hidden secrets behind all those darling buildings and what a waste it would be to miss out on them.
The sorroundings of Paraty are absolutely gorgeous, be it the beautiful little islands or wonderful waterfalls and lucky you: there are great day tours to explore them! We decided to get the Caipi boat, which is exactly what it sounds like: a little boat, which will take you through the wonderful laguna right outside Paraty, while consistently serving Caipirinhas. To be honest sun bathing, while drinking is one of my absolute favourite day time activities and doing it on a boat just makes it so much better.
For a quieter day we also took a Jeep tour around the waterfalls and the jungle. We got to see a traditional Caipirinha brewery (sorry Caipirinhas are one of my all time favourites and Brazil makes you appreciate them even more) as well as two beautiful waterfalls and one of them you can even slide down!
I really enjoyed both of the tours and can highly recommend them. We booked them very easily through our hostel and both were absolutely worth the money. You could also do horseback riding for a day, which I very much wanted to do, but it was about 50 Euros per day, which was just not in the budget.
What to drink and shop
This section would usually be What to eat however the Brazilian cuisine has never really swept me off my feet (sorry Brazil). Paraty has some great restaurants, for example a really cool (and expensive) fusion of Thai and Brazilian foods, but your girl was on a budget! What you really should not miss is the amazing artisanal Caipirinha, which is brewed here and is very famous across Brazil, so if you stock up on something to bring home it should be here. Also definitely have the amazing drink, that the city is famous for: Jorge Amado. Named after the country´s famous author, it is a spice infused, sweet Caipirinha called Gabriela with passion fruit and lime. It is absolutely delicious and please do not think you can just get the Gabriela somewhere else, you will fail. So get it while you can.