Paraty, Brazil: UNESCO World Heritage Town
Paraty, Brazil is a well preserved seaside colonial town in the state of Rio de Janeiro and it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The mix of sea, hills, colonial architecture, and cobblestone streets is paradisiacal. On top of this, there is a variety of exciting things to do.
You can visit islands, beautiful beaches, waterfalls, learn Paraty’s fascinating history, and even hike the cliffs of a fjord. Plus, I found Paraty to be quite cheap compared to the rest of southeastern Brazil, and its location between São Paulo and Rio makes it very accessible. This wonderful town is a must-visit for any traveler.
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How to Get There
Paraty is conveniently located between the two largest cities in Brazil. From Sāo Paulo, the bus ride is about 6 hours and from Rio it’s only 5 hours.
Bookaway is a great resource that allows you to compare the prices of both buses and flights, and secure your seat in advance!
What to Do
Island Boat Tour – The landscape surrounding Paraty is incredibly beautiful and the best way to take it all in is on a boat. On the tour, you’ll stop off for a swim in the crystal clear water at a couple nearby islands and have a few caipirinhas. Expect to pay 90-100 reals (R$) for a 5-hour tour.
Visit the waterfalls – Paraty has lots of waterfalls and the best way to visit is on a 4×4 tour. I think waterfalls are usually overrated attractions, but this is a great tour. The tour costs R$100 plus the small entrance fees at the waterfalls, and it lasts 5-6 hours.
Pico de Mamanguá – Mamanguá is the only fjord in Brazil and the hike to the viewpoint is incredible. You can visit on a tour for R$240, but they don’t go every day because it’s not as popular as other attractions. The other option is to take a bus to Paraty Mirim and find a boat to bring you to Mamanguá. Be prepared to negotiate because Brazilian boatmen notoriously charge a lot.
Macela’s Rock – This sunrise hike is amazing. Although, you need a guide and there often aren’t enough people for the tour to take place. Unfortunately, this is a common theme for hikes in Brazil. It costs about R$200 per person.
Free walking tour – For a small town, Paraty has a ton of history dating back to the colonial period and a walking tour is the best way to learn about it.
Trinidade – Paraty doesn’t have the best beaches, but the nearby town of Trinidade has a beautiful one. Buses frequently depart Paraty for Trinidade and the ride takes about 45 minutes.
Where to Eat
Boteco Da Matriz – Delicious typical Brazilian food at good prices inside the historic center.
Manuê Sucos – A fantastic option for açaí bowls, sandwiches, and juices.
Where to Stay
Che Lagarto – It can be difficult to find a clean and well-maintained hostel in coastal towns, but Che Lagarto was a great stay. They have a pool and a large patio, and the staff was excellent at contacting guides for the less common tours. The negative about this hostel is they double the prices as the date approaches. So, you’ll want to book a week in advance.
Casa Viva – This beautiful hostel is in a historic house just outside the town. It’s the perfect place to connect with the stunning nature that surrounds Paraty.
Where to Next
Rio de Janeiro (5 hours by bus) – One of the world’s most iconic cities known for its magnificent beaches, viewpoints, and samba parties
São Paulo (6 hours) – A megacity with fascinating museums, art galleries, and international cuisine.
Tiradentes (11 hours via Rio) – A colonial town known for its fabulous restaurants.