What to do around Rio: Paraty

Paraty is a charming little town situated on the coast of Rio, around 150 miles (250 km) south in a privileged location with an amazing landscape.

This colonial city grew rich in the 18th century, as a port for the gold brought from it's neighbour Minas Gerais through “Caminho do Ouro” (Gold Path). With the decline of the Gold Cycle, Paraty's importance declined until the 20th century, when it was “rediscovered” with the construction of Rio Santos highway. But this forgotten period helped to preserve the architecture of the city, with its beautiful streets of whitewashed Portuguese houses and baroque churches. Paraty also has amazing beaches and forest-covered hills of Mata Atlântica in the surroundings.
Paraty is also known for it's “cachaça”, an alcoholic drink made from the juice of the sugar cane plant, and known for being used to prepare the famous “caipirinha”.

Paraty used to be one of the biggest producers of this drink, with over 100 producers. Nowadays this amount has decreased and the city has lost the position of the best "cachaças" in Brazil to Minas Gerais. But still, it´s worth trying the local cachaças - they are very tasty. 

Nowadays many cultural events are staged in the city, attracting tourists from all over. FLIP (Feira Literária Internacional de Paraty - International Literary Festival) is the principal of these events, bringing writers from around the world.

A good itinerary option for an escape to Paraty includes the #1 tour to make while in Paraty: a half day boat cruise around the bay, with snorkelling stops at some of its beaches and islands. Just amazing!

An important tip is to charter the boat or buy the ticket for the tour straight from the companies in the quay. This way you will be able to check the quality and atmosphere of boat. If you want fun, search the boats with live music. There will be a cover for the music but it is not expensive, around R$5 per person and it adds to the atmosphere.

Buying the ticket in the quay also allows you to save money. In the hotels they generally offer the tour for a more expensive price. The hostel I stayed in offered the tour to me for R$40 per person and in the quay I was able to pay R$25.

With one more day, you can make the jeep tour through the forest, stopping to swim in some waterfalls and  a stop at a “cachaça” producer. This tour lasts 5 hours and it is totally worth taking, as the accesses to the falls are through hidden paths in the forests, known just by the guides or the locals.

Contacts and Prices

-          Bus Rio x Paraty: Costa Verde, R$114 round trip
-          Hostel Che Lagarto: R$40 per person/day double room
-          Boat Tour: Bucaneiros, R$25 + consumation
-         Jeep Tour: Ativa, R$50
-         For dinner: Margarida Café, around R$80 per person for a meal with drinks
-          Bottle of cachaça: around R$50
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