Introduction to Paraty
Paraty is a fabulously picturesque colonial town on one of Brazil’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, the Costa Verde. The town itself, with its colorful old buildings and fishing boats, is dwarfed by the forest-covered mountains behind, which slope down to meet the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The rocky coast has many bays here and is sprinkled with around 60 islands and hundreds of secluded tropical beaches, many accessible only by boat. Trips to some of these can be arranged in the town.
Paraty used to be an important port for shipping gold from the mines of Minas Gerais to Europe. It retains the fort, churches and houses built during this period of affluence. The town is also famous for its festivals. Visitors come for the Festa do Divino Espirito Santo, which takes place 7 weeks after Easter, and the Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios on September 8th. Carnaval in mid-March to mid-April, and the Festas Juninas throughout June are also popular festivals for dancing through the night on the town’s cobblestone streets. It isn’t always possible though as at very high tides, seawater fills some of Paraty’s streets!
As well as the town itself, much of the Costa Verde, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, is worth exploring. Hundreds of tropical islands, including the magnificent Ilha Grande, pristine Atlantic rainforest with waterfalls tumbling down the mountainsides, and beaches galore make this one of the most beautiful parts of Brazil.
What not to miss in Paraty
The Town of Paraty
The town of Paraty is extremely charming with its old fort, beautifully preserved churches, colonial houses, and colorful harbor.
Beaches such as Vermelha and Lulas are only a short, scenic trip along the coast. Tours will also stop at good snorkeling and swimming spots.
Ilha Grande is the biggest of the islands in the area, but a little more remote. It also contains some of Brazil’s best beaches.
On-board a Schooner vessel your Captain will take you to several reefs for snorkeling and to several secluded beaches that are only reachable by boat and perfect for swimming, exploring and relaxing.
Hiking in the Rainforest
Whether you’re looking for some light coastal walking to Paraty’s best beaches or you want some serious hiking into the Atlantic Rainforest with the breathtaking views of the coast; Paraty has just the hiking trail for you.
What you need to know
When to go
Paraty and the Costa Verde lie just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The climate is therefore fairly stable, with most days around 86˚F (30˚C). The rainy season is from December to March, which is also the hottest time, both for weather and for the festivals. The winter months of June to August are slightly cooler but there will be plenty of summer days without rain, and some winter days with tropical downpours for an hour. This part of Brazil is never far away from the sun though, and for most of the time, it is truly beautiful!
How to get there
Paraty and the Costa Verde lie on the coast around 4 hours or 124 miles (200km) from both Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The best way to get to the area is to fly into one of the airports of these cities, which are served by many direct scheduled flights from Europe, the US and other cities in South America. The rest of the journey has to be made by road, but the route is spectacular in both directions with jungle on one side and beaches, sea and islands on the other.
Where to stay
Paraty has hotels to cater for everybody, from quaint budget places to those in huge colonial houses frequented by celebrities from Brazil and beyond. The view from the bedrooms can be stunning, even in cheaper places. There are many delightful restaurants in the old town, with seafood being a definite specialty of the area.
The coastal road is generally well maintained and metered taxis are available to take you to places out of Paraty. Local bus services run up and down the coast to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and also up and down the hills to other small beach towns. Hiring a car in one of the two big cities to drive around the area is an excellent option for those who are prepared to first negotiate the traffic and other problems of driving in Brazil’s metropolises. This will give you more options to see the various parts of the coast, and stop at the places you prefer, and there are many opportunities to stop and admire the scenery around Paraty and the Costa Verde!