Paraty is a little colonial town in Rio de Janeiro state, and is the perfect stopping point when travelling between Rio itself and São Paulo. It couldn’t be more different to Brazil’s big cities, and it’s so nice to have a peaceful couple of days here before heading back to the madness.
Cities are by far my favourite places to see, but every now and then I visit a small town and fall in love with it. This is exactly what happened with Paraty – way more than I was expecting, but it was impossible not to. The cobbled streets and old houses of the town’s historic centre are enough to win anyone over.
It’s like a postcard, isn’t it? The old town centre is so picturesque, it doesn’t even look real.
One thing I do really like about visiting smaller places is that everything is usually pretty close together – restaurants, bars etc – making for loads of people in the same place and a buzzing atmosphere. Paraty isn’t exactly the place to go for a night out, but the streets of the historic centre were busy each night, with people sat outside the restaurants eating, drinking and watching street performers.
It’s also a really nice place for nature lovers. The town is surrounded by jungle and there are a number of waterfalls you can visit nearby, one of which is a ‘natural waterslide’ that you can slide down! There’s also the opportunity to spot some Brazilian wildlife, and it’s not shy! A group of tamarin monkeys would make their way into our hostel bar every morning and evening looking for food…
There are also several beaches around Paraty, two of which are just a short walk from the Old Town. These aren’t the best ever – the water was quite murky as the sea meets the river here. They’re good enough though, and there are plenty of places along them to get lunch and a beer. Apparently the beaches a little further out are much nicer, but we never ventured to them because we were limited in time. Also, I may have died if I ventured outside for a full day here – it’s SOOOOO hot. My poor ginger skin could barely handle it.
Questionable looking water…
We stayed in Che Lagarto hostel, which is a really big chain that they have everywhere in Brazil. The dorm was a bit weird but it has a decent bar, a nice reading/chill out area with hammocks and a little pool. Plus we found most accommodation was quite expensive here, so I don’t think we could have found anywhere better on a budget! We’ve stayed in one of these since which was also good, so I think they’re a pretty safe bet for backpacking South America.
Our time in Paraty was very chilled, and we didn’t do much apart from just generally admire the place. But when it’s as pretty as this, that’s okay with me!