Nearby Rio

Colonial Paraty

While visiting Rio de Janeiro, make some time for one of the finest jewels of Brazil’s crown – Paraty. It is one of the most popular destinations because of its uniqueness and beauty.

Paraty is a small town backed by mountains on Brazil’s Costa Verde, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Set in 1597 as a Portuguese colony village in a region populated by the Guaianás Indians, was established formally into a town in 1667 by its colonizers. Paraty still preserves the colonial feel and appearance due to the Portuguese style cobbled stone streets and 17th- and 18th-century buildings dating to its time as a port, during the Brazilian Gold Rush. The buildings in the old center are low rise, one-two story white houses with colorful doors and windows frames and curled roofs.
paraty houses
If you are interested in the colonial architecture, the town has four important baroque churches worth visiting, each with an interesting story.
Among them is the architectural landmark of the waterfront Capela de Santa Rita, a whitewashed church built in 1722. This is the oldest church in the town and it used to serve the white elite and freeman, former slaves. It is currently home to the Museum of Sacred Art.
 Igreja de Santa Rita Paraty
The second oldest church in the town is Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito, dating back from 1725. The church was used by Paraty’s African slaves and is has a much simpler, more rustic style than the other three churches in Paraty.
Other two churches worth mentioning are Capela de Nossa Senhora das Dores dated back from 1800, which was visited mostly by the reach women of the society and Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Remédios. The latter is the largest church in Paraty, taking over up to an entire block. The construction of the church began in 1646 when a woman donated her land for the establishment of the town of Paraty. However, her donation was accompanied by two conditions: one that a chapel is built on the land and second, that the the indians that lived in that area at the time would suffer no harm.

Activities

However, Paraty is not only about history, architecture and old city center. There are several tours that can be organized from Paraty to the Atlantic rain forest, the beaches or the neighboring villages, such as Trinidade.

Rainforest tours

The region of Paraty is located almost entirely in a natural park area and Atlantic Forest preservation area. Venturing in this part of Paraty enables visiting the many waterfalls that exist in the sierra path: Pedra Branca, do Toboga, Corisco and many other spots where the river is very inviting to a refreshing bath.
Amongst the Atlantic Forest tours, the Gold Path is not to be missed. Visiting the beauties of Serra da Bocaina National Park with its beautiful waterfalls and trails is a must on every visitor’s to do list.

Beach tours

In the direction of Angra dos Reis following the coast to the North,  there are the notably beautiful beaches of São Gonçalo, São Gonçalinho and Prainha. Little boats departing from São Gonçalo take tourists to the beautiful Ilha Pelada – the Naked Island.
Going towards Ubatuba, visit Trindade, Paraty-Mirim with Paraty´s oldest church, a Guarani Indians tribe and a beach with protected waters.
Another option is Praia do Sono, reachable at the end of a 6-hour trail. This is a well preserved beach with a small fishing village, where you can observe closely Paraty´s beach culture.

paraty boats

 

Stroll through the old center of Paraty

Indulge yourself to a lazy afternoon, of discovering the old city center. The small white houses, the chic cafés and the amazing local crafting shops make a time spent in the center wonderful and unforgettable. Wear comfortable shoes, the streets in the city center are covered by large cobbled stones, as in the colonial times.

Flooded Streets

Once a month when there is a full moon and the tide is high. Seawater rises from its normal levels, and pours into the Historic Center through special openings in the seawalls that separate the city from the harbor. The streets are only flooded for a short time, until the tide recedes. The water is usually not deep (15 to 25 centimeters) and some near merchants put out small bridges to cross the flooded streets for the benefit of pedestrians.

paraty flooded street

Where to stay

Pousada Guarana is the perfect place to relax in a weekend in Paraty. The hotel fits couples, small groups of friends and honeymooners. Here you will find many quiet corners to chat, read or relax at the pool surrounded by lush gardens and vibrant colored hummingbirds. It features an in-house massage service and a yoga room.

Pousada do Ouro is located in the heart of Paraty inside the historical centre. The rooms are beautiful, there is a refreshing pool, a spa, a sauna and free wi-fi.

Pousada da Condessa with a beautiful garden, offers apartments with private terraces,  swimming pools for adults and children, with wooden deck, game room, sauna, fitness area, an area for relaxation and massage, hammocks, an internal parking and all the infrastructure of comfort and leisure.

How to get there

Going from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty means a 4 hours ride if you opt for a bus. There are hourly departures from Novo Rio bus terminal with the Costa Verde bus company. The buses equipped with air conditioning are clean, on time and there is enough leg room.

You can alsogo by car, but the historical center of Paraty is car free, so you should check in advance with your pousada if parking is provided.

Tips

  • if you opt for the bus ride, make sure to have a sweater at hand. The air conditioning can be sometimes very cold.
  • the city center is car free, you might need to walk a bit from the taxi stop to your hotel.
  • wear comfortable shoes, the cobbled stones streets are not suitable for high heels.
  • take a boat tour to see the surroundings, it is all worth it.