Iguazu falls are without doubt a natural wonder of the world we would goes far as to say you can’t come to Brazil without visiting them.
Paraty & The Costa Verde | Discover one of Brazils best kept secrets
Paraty is a small town on Brazil’s Costa Verde and is surrounded by mountains. Its a small colonial town and its cobbled colourful streets bring visitors from far and wide. We chose this town to spend Christmas as we wanted to stay away from the hustle and bustle and expense of an area such as Rio de Janeiro and opt for a more quiet Christmas by the sea. Paraty was perfect, apart from the 4 continuous days of rain but was a great little town with plenty to keep us occupied on our stay.
How did we get to Paraty?
You can catch the bus from the main Rio bus station, Novo Rio Bus Station. You get here by catching the overland tram in the direction of Rodovidaria. The company that run the buses to Paraty is Costa Verde and you’ll find them tucked away in a back corner of the bus station. It took us a few mins to find them and we were almost going to ask at the information desk when we spotted them. Around platform 10 if I remember correctly. From here you can purchase your ticket to Paraty and we purchased ours the day before so we could ensure a decent seat but its pot luck at then end of the day really. The journey is 4 – 5 hrs depending on weather and traffic and the bus will drop you off at the Paraty bus station which is pretty much in the centre of town. Its not a large town so everywhere is practically walkable. If you do need a taxi then there are some stationed just outside the bus station.
Where did we stay when visiting Paraty?
As we were staying over Christmas we wanted somewhere nice to stay so decided to spend a little bit more than our budget, well actually not much more really but we found Pousada Brazish which actually was one of very few options left. Christmas was a popular time for people visiting Paraty. The hostel was great. It had a pool, the staff were wonderful and the breakfast buffet was one of the best we’d had on our travels. The room was ok with a little balcony and we had a fridge which came in handy. It was about a 20 min walk from the centre of things but we didn’t mind that as the walk was along the river and always had something or other going on. We would recommend this hostel if in the area.
What to see & do in Paraty?
Take a wander around the historic centre
The historic centre of Paraty is a pleasure to wander round and its filled with cobblestoned streets and brightly coloured houses. I spent quite some time wandering the streets with my camera trying to catch the perfect image of bygone times which is what the centre of this town is. Its like walking back in time. Brazil in a bygone age and its lovely.
Check out the local beaches
Paraty has its own little beach, Pontal beach, right on the edge of the historical centre. Its a great place to chill but its not advised to swim here as the water is not the best however there are kayaks you can hire and get yourself off into the lagoon to explore. Kayaks can be hired at any of the local tour offices next to the beach. Pontal beach is also the place where the locals come to celebrate the many festivals that the town has. Ask at your Hostal if there are any festivals and Pontal beach is where the celebrations will be.
Paraty does have an abundance of other beaches and the most accessible from Pontal beach is only a 15 min walk away. Jabaquara beach is super popular with the locals because not only is it a lovely little beach just under the water is mud with is said to have fantastic exfoliation properties so you’ll find some strange mud caked folks if you visit this beach. Also there is a fort half way along the path on the way to the beach but we didn’t go in as we didn’t have any cash with us that day and its a few R$ to enter.
Visit the nearby town of Trinidade
For another beach experience, and one that we thought was the best one, get on the bus to the nearby town of Trinidade and you’ll find yourself in another fabulous little town. Trinidade has a hippy like vibe and we wished we’d have found it sooner as we’d have spent more time there.
You can get to Trinidade by bus from the main Paraty bus station. The buses leave every 30 mins or so and costs around R$5 per person. The journey takes about 1 hour and travels along the main road to Trinidade. Just on the main road, at the Trinidade turn off, the bus stops and everyone gets off. There is another smaller bus waiting to take you down the narrow winding road to the coastal town of Trinidade. This second bus is included in your ticket price. The same thing happens in reverse when the small bus takes you up to the main road and you catch the bigger bus back to Paraty.
The beach at Trinidade is great and when we visited was packed with sunbathers. The water is great for swimming and all along the beach on the road behind are restaurants and souvenir shops. A small town with a big vibe.
There are endless opportunities for shopping in Paraty and you will be sure to leave with a souvenir or two. You can also buy their local blend of Cachaca which is quite famous and handicrafts made by the local people. There are also shops were you can buy swimwear, clothes, jewellery and all sorts of other items. We found the shops to be of good quality and a pleasure to browse. There is also a lovely Chocolate shop where you can choose your own selection of their hand crafted chocolates to make your own selection. This was what I chose for Chris’s Christmas present as something he could open on Christmas Day. Yes, he’s a chocolate lover so it was perfect.
Check out some of the fabulous bars and restaurants
Paraty does have an amazing amount of restaurants with all sorts of food from local dishes to Italian. We had some great meals whilst in town. There is also Thai and Chinese restaurants and steak and grill restaurants and a superb seafood cafe. One of my favorite places was the ice cream parlour which had a great range of flavours and the most amazing milkshakes. For Christmas dinner, we ate at the Italian La Dolce Vita however if you want to splurge then there is a very fancy restaurant which gets amazing reviews called Banana da Terra. Let us know on our social media pages if you tried this one.
Hire a bike
To see more of the town or to get out and about there are several places in town where you could hire bikes. There was always people passing us on bikes but as we are walkers we didn’t have the use for a bike. The bikes would be handy if your accommodation was further out of town or you just fancied exploring by bike.
Other things to do in Paraty
As I mentioned above we had 4 days of torrential rain whilst in the town which we used to just chill rather than try and get out and about. There are loads more to do in this wonderful little town which sadly we didn’t manage to do and we have marked Paraty in our list of places we’d definitely come back to. Unfinished business.
Here’s what else Paraty has to offer:
Boat trips to the offshore islands
Take a tour to the offshore islands and see the local marine wildlife. Tours include a trip to selected islands and lunch.
A trip to Brazil’s tropical fjord
The Saco Do Mamangua, the Brazilian Fijord. Its known for its emerald green waters, remote beaches and dense vegetation. Its a sight not to be missed and can be done by a boat tour or a hiking tour.
Hiking the many local hills
Paraty is a town surrounded by hills and there are trails that can take you to the most spectacular waterfalls. Your hostel can help with this in guiding you to the best trails.
Slide down the stone waterfall Pedra Blanca
This waterfall is one of the most popular in the region and sadly you cant access this alone as its on private property but can be visited on a jeep tour. The waterfall is a great swimming spot so perfect for cooling off after a days hike.
Free walking tour of the city
Get a good feel for the history of this town, Brazils first planned town. The walking tour is every day at 10.30am and 5.00pm at the Praca de Matriz.
We loved the little town of Paraty. It was a real pleasure to wander down its cobblestoned streets and we were just disappointed we didn’t get to see more of the region and get involved with all it had to offer. There may well be a next time and we can update this blog post with our own experiences of the things we missed.
Booking resources for your stay in Paraty
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s second largest city and said to be one of the most visited cities in South America. When you think of Rio you think of carnival, fantastic beaches, favelas and famous landmarks such as Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf mountain.