Paraty (also spelled Parati) is a coastal historic town in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was first settled by the Portuguese in 1667. Its old churches, cobbled streets and nearby forests, waterfalls, islands and emerald-green sea attract lots of tourists interested in mixing cultural tourism and more natural settings. The culture and nature of the region are, together with Ilha Grande, listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Paraty grew in the 18th century as a strategically important port for exporting the gold mined in Minas Gerais. When shipments in nearby Rio began to attract the attention and ambition of pirates and privateers from rival European powers, the Crown began using Paraty as their safe port for getting their gold to Lisbon. Together with Ouro Preto, the town was part of the Estrada Real (Caminho Real or Caminho do Ouro, Gold Road), a route used to export gold in colonial times. It was also an obligatory sleep-over stop for travelers between Rio and São Paulo until the late 1800s, when the inner road was opened. This caused Paraty to be forgotten, stalled in time, away from "progress" and disfiguration and helped it preserve its old city as it was in the past. In the 1970s, it was rediscovered as a popular tourist destination.
It is home to about 37,000 people.
With a scheduled flight, it's most convenient to arrive in Rio. There are further flight connections to São Paulo. From both cities, you can take an intercity bus or shared ride with Blablacar to Paraty.
As of May 2021, there are not yet commercial flights to the nearby airport of Angra dos Reis.
Another possibility of transport is to arrive by sea by way of a sailboat or cruise ship from Rio de Janeiro, Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande. Fast boat transfers from Safari Transfers from Angra dos Reis are also available.
Air-conditioned buses go back and forth from Rio to Paraty and Paraty to Rio. Buses to and from Rio depart about nine times a day. The trip takes about four hours. The trip to and from São Paulo takes about six hours. From São Paulo try Reunidas Paulista; from Rio de Janeiro, Costa Verde Transportes.
- 1 Bus Station (Rodoviária de Paraty), Rua Jango Pádua (500m from historic center). Checkout the timetable for buses in the region around Paraty.
The historic town is compact and can be covered on foot; cars, save for taxis picking up or dropping passengers, are not allowed into the historic city center. The rough boulders of the old city streets would quickly destroy the shocks of most cars anyway.
Buses to the beautiful village and beaches at Trindade (30 km south of Paraty) and outlying beaches leave from the Bus Station. Buy tickets onboard approximately R$3 to Trindade.
Something of a time capsule, the historic center looks much as it did back in the 1800s. Once a month, at high tide when the moon is full, seawater rises from its normal levels and comes in through special openings in the seawalls that separate the city from the bay, to wash the Historic Center streets — a marvel of ancient city planning. The streets are only flooded for a short time, until the tide recedes. The water is usually only 15-25 cm (6-10 in) deep and a few merchants near the seawall put out small bridges to span the flooded streets for the benefit of pedestrians.
- 1 Igreja Matriz (First Church of Our Lady of the Remedies), Matriz Square. Built from 1787 to 1873. Houses a museum of sacred art. Its square can be considered the town center.
- 2 Casa da Cultura (Culture House), Rua Dona Geralda, 177 (corner of Dona Geralda and Samuel Costa streets, adjacent to Matriz square), ☏ . M-Sa 09:00-19:00, Su 09:00-14:00. Built in 1754 as a jail and reopened in the present state in 1990. According to UNESCO, the most beautiful representative of 18th-century local architecture. Temporary and permanent exhibitions, bookstore, cafe and small theater.
- 3 Espaço Theatre (Teatro Espaço), Rua Dona Geralda, 327, ☏ , [email protected]. Cultural space. Has a twice weekly presentation of a famous puppet group.
- 4 Santa Rita church, Largo Santa Rita (on the waterfront). The oldest church of Paraty, inaugurated in 1722, regarded by Lúcio Costa (urban planner of Brasília) as the most beautiful church inside Brazil.
- 5 Forte Defensor Perpétuo (Perpetual Defender Fort), R. São Pedro de Alcântara, s/nº, Morro do Forte, ☏ . 18th-century stronghold built with British cannons to defend the gold against British privateers. Built in 1703, reformed in 1822 (when it received the present name, a homage to D. Pedro I) and restored in 1985. It's not actually a fort but a battery, as its walls don't completely encircle its perimeter. Inside there's a museum of popular arts and crafts, a few remaining cannons and very nice views of the bay.
Around the waterfall, many trails for shorter or longer hikes can be found, checkout OpenStreetMap.
- Iriri, Rio-Santos highway km 158. Beautiful low waterfall ending in a shallow refreshing pool.
- 6 Cachoeira do Tobogã (Cachoeira da Penha). Beautiful waterfall with a slide if you bring towel and swimsuit. There is also a nice hike from here to Cachoeira da Pedra Branca.
- 7 Pedra Branca (White stone), Paraty-Cunha Rd (keep right after the white bridge, trek starts at road's end). Low fall with a pool. Along with the waterfall, there are the ruins of the town´s first power plant. A trail from here goes northwest until it hits the road from where you can take a bus back to Paraty.
- Poço do Inglês (English's Well), Downstream from Pedra Branca. No fall, just a pool. Very relaxing.
- A boat trip through the bay. You can even find your own private beach on one of more than 300 islands. Small boats are available for charter near the river mouth. Negotiate a price before leaving.
- Snorkeling in the bay. When you rent a small boat (and hire the driver for the afternoon) you can ask about getting a mask and snorkel. They'll also supply you with fish food. You just jump off in the middle of the bay and float around feeding fish.
- Kayaking and Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boarding in the bay to islands, beaches and mangrove.
- Trekking the Caminho do Ouro/ Gold Trail. Access from the Paraty-Cunha road. Lots of trails through the Atlantic Rainforest to tropical beaches, like Praia do Sono.
- Palombeta Speedboat (By the Pereque Acu river, near the bridge.), ☏ , [email protected]. Speedboat trip will get you to more uncrowded and remote beaches. As many stops as you want, snorkeling, photos, stop and a restaurant at the end then back to town. English speaking guide. R$700.
- There is the distillery Alambique Engenho D'Ouro. Provided is a great deal of knowledge in the art of producing and savoring excellent cachaças and liqueurs. Just go by bus for 30 minutes to Penha. From there you can walk to the distillery.
- Jabaquara, Next to the fort. Very calm sea with almost no waves. Beach kiosks sell snacks and refreshments.
- Lula Beach. Clear water and calm sea.
- Paraty Mirim. A long beach cut in half by a river.
- 1 Praia das Laranjeiras (Praia do Engenho) (take a colectivo to Trindade and get off at the junction, walk or hitch-hike the rest). The best beach near Paraty with crystal clear water. There are housing estates, but no issue getting to the beach. In off season it is the best.
- Bloco da Lama (Mud Carnaval), End of Jabaquara Beach. February. Crowds of people go to the end of Jabaquara beach on the Saturday afternoon before Carnaval, cover themselves in mud and chant. Sounds crazy but it's a lot of fun.
- FLIP (Festa Literaria Internacional de Paraty), [email protected]. Usually takes place in July or August. Held in large tents next to the sea, this literature festival gathers some of the best national writers and guest international authors. There are shows, exhibitions, workshops and film screenings. Hotels can get pretty crowded, book well in advance for this period.
- Festival da Pinga (Festival da Cachaça), Matriz Square. 3rd week of August. A town well-known for its sugarcane liquor, it's no surprise that there's a dedicated festival to celebrate pinga. Regional versions of cachaça can be tasted at stands set up in Matriz Square. There's also live music and plenty of food stands.
Paraty is one of the famous producers of cachaça, a strong spirit distilled from sugarcane juice. In fact, in the early 20th century, cachaça was known as parati. Dozens of excellent brands are available, and there are shops with shelves of cachaça filled from top to bottom. The town is also home to many artists inspired by the scenic surroundings, and there are quite a few gallery and handicraft shops. Miniatures of the colorful boats that dot Paraty's harbor are commonly found souvenirs.
- 1 Cachaçaria Cana Caiana, Rua do Comércio, 100 (a block away from Matriz Plaza), ☏ . 09:30-22:30. Gives out free samples to try before you buy, and also sells plenty of homemade sweets.
- Casa Coupê Restaurante, Praça da Matriz, 6 (in Matriz Square-Historic Center), ☏ . Fabulous local fresh foods with a touch from Barcelona.
- Sereia do Mar, Av Praia do Jabaquara 33 (800 metres from the town center looking out onto one of paratys most beautiful and tranquil beaches), ☏ (delivery and reservations). Daily 17:00-23:00. 24 varieties of pizza and over 10 other main dishes, and an excellent wine list. With live music on weekends and helpful and friendly staff. From R$14 for a main course and from R$19 for a large 8-slice pizza.
- Casa do Fogo bistrô (Casa do Fogo Paraty), Rua Comendador José Luiz 390 (Historical center), ☏ , [email protected]. Daily 17:00-01:00. Casa do Fogo serves flambées specialities, all flambée with cachaça - seafood, vegetables and fruits, on the menu you also find meat, chicken, vegetarian, pastas and moquecas. From R$18 for a starter to R$120 for a flambée seafood paella for two.
Dance with the locals at bar/clubs in the main square, Lado B da Praça or Dinho's Bar, or in Paraty 33.
- Cervejaria Caborê, Av. Otávio Gama, 100 (in Caborê, along river Perecé), ☏ . M-F 17:00-00:00, Sa Su 11:00-00:00. Bar-restaurant of local brewery. Home of the Caborê draft.
The Historic Center suits visitors wanting to be where the action is, and it has plenty of charming hotels and pousadas. It can however be busy and noisy particularly at night so its worth considering staying outside and walking or cycling in. Cheaper options can be found at the newer neighborhoods, outside the tourist area. There are over 200 pousadas in the area. Watch out for the busy periods of FLIP (see Do above) in July, Carnaval and New Year's.
- Pousada Arte Urquijo, R. Dona Geralda, 24 (in Centro Histórico, close to Santa Rita), ☏ . Check-out: 12:00. One of the coziest and most charming accommodations in the city. You get your own (to keep) handmade slippers to use inside on the clean floors. A/C, safe. From R$300 including breakfast.
- Pousada do Cais, R. Travessa Santa Rita nº 20, ☏ . A restored lord's house from the 17th century. Made with rich materials, this hotel preserved the colonial architecture and style. Has the luxurious apartment with the best view of the harbor and bay.
- Pousada Porto Imperial, R. Ten. Francisco Antonio s/n, ☏ , fax: . This hotel is set in a colonial house next to the Matriz church. Many of the air-conditioned rooms are located at the internal patio and garden. R$200-340 (check out high/low season prices).
Outside the historical center
- Pousada do Príncipe, Av. Roberto Silveira, 801 (One block from the Bus Station), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Pousada with rooms around an internal garden. From R$115.
- Pousada Corsário Paraty, Rua Joao do Prado 26, Bairro da Chácara, ☏ . An excellent pousada at a good location, along the canal, near the bus station.
- Pousada Bromelias, ☏ . Bungalows, waterfall, natural swimming pool, gastronomy, massages and body treatments, ofuro bath, sauna beside waterfall, tennis.
- 1 The Eco-farm, Rod Rio-Santos km 552 (30 min from Paraty, then hike through the rainforest), ☏ , [email protected]. Family-run organic farm, only accessible by trail through the rainforest. Experience life on the farm, learn about organic farming, natural medicines and rainforest preservation. Private rooms, dorm accommodations or camping options. Recommended by National Geographic in their South American Staylist, 2011.
- 2 Pousada Aquarium, R. Cinco, 73 - Portal de Paraty (20min walk from Old Town), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Quiet and tranquil B&B in a residential neighborhood, 20-minute walk from the city center and away from loud streets. Owned by Brazilian wife and American husband. The inn is full of artistic touches, the rooms are huge and comfy, and the daily poolside breakfast is fantastic. R$192.
- Che Lagarto Hostel Paraty, Rua Benina Toledo do Prado, 22 (2 blocks from the historical center), ☏ , [email protected]. Swimming pool and bar inside the hostel. WIFI, public kitchen and breakfast included in the fee. From US$16.
On the beach
- Sereia do mar, Av. Jabaquara, 851 - Jabaquara (800 metres from town center), ☏ , [email protected]. Hostel is in front of and 10 m from Jabaquara beech and 800 m from town center. The hostel offers an excellent complimentary buffet breakfast, internet access, pool and ping pong tables, along with a wide variety of tours including kayak, jeep and boat excursions. The hostel also has a full bar and an excellent restaurant. Prices from R$25 for dorm room and R$60 for double.
- Chill Inn Hostel & Pousada, Rua Orlando Carpinelli, 3 (Beach Front - Pontal Neighbourhood), ☏ , [email protected]. Free pick-up and breakfast, right on the beach with view. Touts its "cool atmosphere". Dorms from R$34 - Privates from R$140.
- Geko Hostel & Pousada, Rua Orlando Carpinelli, 5, Praia Pontal, ☏ , [email protected]. This hostel in front of the sea has a quiet and relaxed environment where you can enjoy a caipirinha and meet people from all over Brazil and the world. Dorms - R$34, Double - R$135.
- Casa do SUP, Avenida Jabaquara, 26 (Beach Front - Jabaquara Neighbourhood), ☏ , [email protected]. Guesthouse in front of Jabaquara beach, a good location for Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP). Discounts for board rentals and tours. Prices from R$45 for dorm room and R$120 for double.
- Corumbe Beach Villas, Rod Rio-Santos km 179, Praia do Corumbe, (6 km from Paraty Old Town), ☏ . Beautiful and charming villas with 4 and 6 en suite bedrooms with private pool and jacuzzi, right on the beach. Stunning views.
- 3 Eliconial Paraty Pousada, Rua Sete de Setembro, 5 - Jabaquara Beach -, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. In a quiet environment 50 m from Jabaquara Beach, this small hotel provides charming rooms with balcony and kitchenette. Free Wi-Fi, pool and parking are available. Guests can take a dip in the jacuzzi, chill out on the tropical grounds or enjoy a varied breakfast by the swimming pool. For additional relaxation, there is also a spa unit in the hotel. R$160-230.
If you need additional options of budget accommodations (Bed and Breakfast): http://www.pousada.com.br
There are plenty of internet cafes just outside the historical center. You can't avoid seeing one while walking a few blocks along the main street.
Hostels and private rooms are available ...:
in the south(-west):
- Paraty Mirim – 18 km. You find idyllic beaches, waterfalls and an indigenous village. Surrounded by forest, it's like living in the nature. There is a direct bus from Paraty.
- Trindade – 25 km. Popular beach in an old village. You can do surfing, hiking, swimming in natural pools, visiting waterfalls or just relaxing on one of the many beaches. Buses depart once per hour at around 45 after the hour.
- Ubatuba – 70 km. Beautiful beaches are the main attraction of this place, as well as its well-preserved nature. You can do mountain biking and trekking. One of the best places in Brazil to practice surf, nautical sports, diving and birdwatching.
- Ilhabela – 155 km. The island is considered one of the natural paradises of the São Paulo coast. (Ilhabela means literally "beautiful island" in Portuguese). It is known for its forest-covered mountains, its amazing beaches and its savage trails.
in the east:
- Ilha Grande – 120 km. It's noted for its scenic beauty, unspoilt tropical beaches, luxuriant vegetation and rugged landscape. You will enjoy hiking. Lopes Mendes beach in Ilha Grande was once voted one of the top 10 most beautiful in the world by Vogue Magazine.
- Angra dos Reis – 100 km. It is comprised by many islands and beaches filled with natural beauty, legends and social events. You can rent a boat to see the mansions of the rich and famous, erected on private islands.
in the north-west:
- Cunha – 50 km. The city is visited for ceramics, a pleasant climate and gastronomy. People come to enjoy the local state park (Parque Estadual da Serra do Mar)
- Aparecida - 100 km. It's the most popular religious pilgrimage site in Latin America. Pilgrims come to visit the Basilica containing the statue of Our Lady of Aparecida. Other attractions are a theme park, aquarium and museums. From Aparecida to Santo Antônio do Pinhal.
|Routes through Paraty|
|Santos ← Ubatuba ←||S N||→ Angra dos Reis → Rio de Janeiro|