It’s important to schedule some downtime during any Brazil vacation. And if you need to relax, the quaint village of Paraty is perfect.
Visiting Brazil is a rush. From the endless attractions of Rio de Janeiro to the gushing jungle falls in Iguazu; the weird and wonderful wildlife of the Amazon and Pantanal to the fascinating culture and golden beaches of the North, it's impossible to get bored in the world’s fifth-largest country. Exhaustion, however, is a real possibility which is why it’s important to schedule some downtime during any Brazil vacation. And if you need to relax, Paraty is perfect.
Paraty is a seaside colonial hideaway halfway between the Brazilian giants of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. A tiny and charming cobblestoned historic center serves world-class fare among whitewashed colonial buildings, while just steps away crayon-colored boats float in the harbor. Beyond them, an inviting scattering of tropical islands dots the ocean like emeralds on a shimmering sapphire sheet.
Over 300 regional beaches and 65 islands surround this UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the town itself is free from distractions. Lounging and leisurely strolling are the main in-town activities. I spent my time in Paraty perusing tempting boutiques like Sobral, a hand-made Brazilian jewelry line featuring bright colors that blend Bohemian and chic designs. I also peeked in Cachaçaria Cana Caiana, which resembles an old western county store with wooden walls containing thousands of bottles of local liquors.
For a pretty small place, Paraty has loads of restaurants, bars and cafes offering an array of top notch local and international cuisine. Firm favorites include Banana da Terra (lovely colonial vibes & chic, modern takes on Brazilian classics) and Bistrô Alquimia dos Sabores (an irresistible 12-seater just out of town; bookings essential) but it's also the kind of town where you can simply wander into wherever takes your fancy. Many of the restaurants only open in the late afternoon, though if you wait for dusk you’ll enjoy a meal by candlelight or soft lighting, which creates cozy shadows that flicker between the modern-day and the colonial past.
When you’ve visited all the colonial churches and historic buildings you can handle and you’re properly rested, take a trip to one of the numerous natural attractions surrounding Paraty. An island-hopping boat tour of the bay and its islands allows you to enjoy the scenery from the sea, as well as swim and sunbathe at several island beaches. A day-trip to nearby stunning white sand beaches, such as Trinidade or Sono Beach, is another bathing suit worthy option.
Keen to see add a Paraty sidetrip to your Brazilian adventure? Its strategic location midway between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo makes it an extremely convenient spot for some serious R&R. Check out our Rio de Janeiro & Brazil tours here or speak to one of our Destination Experts about crafting the bespoke vacation of your dreams.
Credit to Julien Lavergne for the title image of this blog.