Paraty is the perfect small town to me. It’s sitting right by the sea, it’s an old historical town and it has an arty vibe, with lot’s of art galleries and live music. It’s only 200 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro, so it’s easy to combine it with a visit to Rio de Janeiro.
Paraty is cobblestones and history.
The cobblestoned streets of Paraty.
In the 17th and 18th century, Portugal made huge gold finds in Brazil and tons of gold were shipped from Brazil to Europe for a couple of centuries. Paraty was together with Rio de Janeiro the big gold center and there was a trail going from the mountains, where the gold mines were, to the coast called the gold trail. The gold trail ended in Paraty, where the portuguese fleet was waiting to ship it to Europe, so the town was very prosperous and therefor has a lot of historical buildings from that age.
Paraty has a fantastic natural setting.
History and nature combined.
Paraty is by the coast and right next to a small mountain range and in between the mountains and the coast, you still have some atlantic rain forest that you can explore. If you are in town, then I would recommend one of the jeep safaris to the atlantic rain forest. I have tried that twice and it’s a good way to explore the area.
Fishermen in Paraty.
Paraty itself does not have much in the way of beach, but you only need to sail for a few minutes with one of the many boats that are lined up in the harbor, to get to some of the most fantastic beaches you have ever seen. You can either charter your own little boat or go on an excursion with one of the bigger schooner like boats. The schooner tours are really cool and I can only recommend them highly. You sail up and down the coast and anchor up next to small secluded beaches, where you are often the only boat. The sea there is crystal clear and with the mountain backdrop, you really have the perfect natural setting.
Take a boat tour to an empty paradise beach.
At night the town is alive too. Not so much with big noisy parties and clubs though. Paraty is more about strolling around between nice restaurants and cafe’s and smaller concert venues. It’s not so much a destination for the young party crowd, but more suitable for couples and families I would say. And it’s certainly not a resort like place either. It’s a small historical town with no high rise buildings and the places people stay overnight is mostly pousada’s, which is the brazilian word for guest house. Many of these pousada’s have a very high standard though, so it’s not just for budget travelers. If you ask me, then Paraty is for people who likes to escape from the big crowds, while still having good facilities.
Live music in one of the many art galleries in Paraty.
One of the many nice pousada’s in paraty.
Paraty is located around 200 kilometers south of Rio de Janeiro and it takes around 4 hours to get there by bus, or a little shorter if you have a private transfer. In my humble opinion, this is the perfect place to visit if you are in Rio de Janeiro, but want to take a few days off from the big city and visit a smaller place in the rio de Janeiro state.
I have been to +70 countries and traveled non stop for over two decades and Paraty is in my personal top 10 of places in this world, so you better get down there too, so you can see that I am right 🙂
Perfect holiday destination.