Paraty gained town rights as early as 1670, an played a vital role in the “golden cycle”, the colonial period in which gold from Minas Gerais was crucial for the Portuguese colony which later became Brazil.
The town served as the port for the Caminho Velho (Old Route) used by gold traders. Later, Paraty became isolated, with railways and main routes leading far from this coastal town. In fact, in the first half of the 20th century it was easier to reach the town by sea than land! In the 1960’s, a new highway linked Paraty to São Paulo, and it became a tourist attraction thanks to the colonial atmosphere it preserved.
Attractions and activities
A trip to Paraty is a journey in time. The historic centre, with its cobblestones and Portuguese-time houses, boasts some architectural gems, such as the Igreja Santa Rita (1722) or Paço Municipal (18th century). Sugar cane and cachaça also play a significant role in the town´s history and present times; don´t miss a chance to visit one of the seven alambiques (cachaça workshops).
The most traditional is Coqueiro, managed by the same family for 5 generations. In the outskirts, you can visit 2,5 kilometres of the renovated Caminho de Ouro – which served for more than 300 years as a way to transport slaves, coffee, gold and cachaça.
The natural landscape is also a treat, with a variety of beaches, from the serene Paraty-Mirim to the wild waves of the Praia do Sono; from the crowded Pontal and Jabaquara located near the centre to the naturist praia da Figueira. The mountains surrounding Paraty (Serra da Bocaina) is home to many waterfalls, such as Tobogã, Pedra Branca or Toca da Ingrácia; they are not only beautiful, but worth taking a dip in the lakes below!
What to eat and drink
Paraty, as usual for tourist spots, offers a variety of options and cuisines, but be prepared for prices similar to large cities such as Rio or São Paulo. Maria Fulô Bistrô is worth visiting, with their tapiocas based on organic ingredients and local produce. Bendita´s, in the historic centre, is one of the most frequent recommendations, with generous portions, good service and live music.
There is an ongoing dispute between fans of Sorveteria Finlandesa e Sorveteria Pistache: which one is the best in Paraty. You won´t know... until you try both of them! For a party, a reliable choice is Paraty 33, with live music and a large dancefloor.
While searching for a bus ticket, it is important to pay attention to the bus stations.
Some destinations only have routes to one bus station and others more than one station. Depending on where you will stay in the city, it can make a difference in time and price if you have a choice in bus stations. Here is a brief summary of each station: