The Brazilian government has recognized Paraty as a National Historic Site since 1966 and it is one of Brazil’s most lively towns during the summer holidays. Both Brazilian and Western vacationers come here to enjoy this artistic place and its beaches. The colonial center is greatly preserved showing the old architecture, including the irregular cobblestones. The city is colorful, has history, is vibrant and definitely worth a visit!
Fun fact: they built the city lower than sealevel so the streets get washed clean every day by the tides which was really necessary back in the days without sewers..
Getting to Paraty from the Pantanal wasn’t easy and took us 2 days!
The bus picked us up at Buraco das Piranhas at 8.30 am and brought us to Campo Grande terminal (good bus, cost 90 Real p.p.) Arriving there, we saw that we had about 5 minutes to get our tickets and get on the next bus to Sao Paolo (cost 195 Real p.p.). This was along ride and we arrived in Sao Paolo at 6.30 am the next morning at Terminal Intermodal da Barra Funda. As the bus to Paraty left at Terminal Rodoviario Tiete we had to change terminals so we took a metro.
Checking the times beforehand online we saw that there leaves a bus every hour to Paraty. However, they were all fully booked since it was Friday and Paraty is a popular weekend destination. We had to wait for 6 hours till 3 pm for the first bus with free chairs (75 Real). Finally, after a beautiful drive through some mountains and with breathtaking views we arrived in Paraty at 10 pm.
There was a shared kitchen at the second place we stayed, so we did most of the cooking ourselves. We found a really good butcher with even better meat so we had some delicious rumsteaks.
We did go out for dinner twice and the first time we ended up at a really good pizza restaurant: Malagueta. We had two half pizzas and this was more than enough for the both of us. And is was so delicious! Best pizza we had in ages. Second place we eat was near the busterminal called Istanbul, we read they serve nice plates of kebabs. Although the food was good and fresh, the portions was a bit small.
Pousada do Ouro is probably one of the best pousada’s you can book in Paraty. This beautiful place is visited by many celebraties (such as Mick Jagger) and is situated in the old centre. We learned that this used to be the house of a salesman because it has an upper floor overlooking the water. This way, the owner could see the ships coming and could hurry to the port to be the first there and could buy the best products of the boat. We stayed in this room and the view was amazing. And so was the room.
The pousada has a nice swimming pool which was delightful after 2 long travel days. We enjoyed the sun, the great wifi, the refreshing water and the breakfast was a treat in the morning. The buffet is small but it is really tasteful.
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We stayed 2 nights at Pousada do Ouro but fell in love with Paraty and decided to stay longer. We saved up quite some Airbnb credits and booked a room at Sunrise Bella Vista. This guesthouse is really close to the centre, has a small but good enough room, shared kitchen, breakfast included and a really friendly owner.
As said, Paraty is an old colonial Portugese city with a beauty old city centre. It is great to walk around and admire all the colored doors. It is however terrible as well to walk around the old city due to the uneven roads.
FREE CITY TOUR
To learn more about the history, we strongly recommend doing the free city tour, done by Free Walker Tours. They do this tour everyday, except wednesday, at 5 pm. Make sure to be at the Matriz Square (Paraty main square) about 15 minutes before to have some time to visit the church and walk around a bit. The tour takes about 1,5 hour and even though they say it’s free, they do ask for a donation.
Paraty is partly surrounded by water and you will see the most beautiful and colored boats in the harbors and canals. One of the things that is a must do here, is an island tour with one of these boats. Walking by the water, the shippers will ask if you want to do a tour. We booked our tour with Paraty Tours (cost 60 Real and 3 Real Tax) and it was a great day. We left the harbour around 10.30 am and stopped at several places where they have some nice beaches and/or good swimming spots. We brought our snorkeling stuff, but there was nothing to see. The water however was really clear and blue. The tour takes around 5 hours and we were back in the harbour at 3.45 pm. One tip the food on the boat is expensive, maybe better to take some food with you.
Paraty has some beautiful beaches nearby such as Trinidade and Paraty Mirim which are easily accessible by bus. We didn't feel like spending an entire day at the beach and decided to spend an hour or 2 at the nearby Praia do Pontal. Not a great beach but good enough.