Uncover the beauty of Paraty Brazil, a stunning colonial town in Rio de Janeiro State. Visit Paraty and fill your days of strolling through the beautiful colonial streets and visiting the incredible beaches nearby.
While the secret’s been out for a long time now, Paraty still remains one of the most beautiful preserved colonial towns in Brazil.
It combines Portuguese colonial architecture with quaint cobbled streets, modern Brazilian culture, shopping, cuisine and exquisite beaches located nearby.
Visitors come to enjoy the laid back vibe, colonial history and architecture, boutique shopping and the beaches. If you’re travelling around Brazil or just on your way from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo or vice versa, Paraty makes a welcome change from all the franticness of the city.
Stroll around the old town of Paraty, sip cups of Brazilian coffee in any of the delightful little coffee shops and relax at the beautiful beaches of Trinidade- we’ve got you covered with this guide.
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How to Get to Paraty Brazil
Paraty RJ is easy to get to from both Rio de Janeiro city and Sao Paolo.
Paraty is located right in the middle between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and buses are frequent from both cities. From Sao Paolo to Paraty buses take about 5 hrs and from Paraty to Rio about 5.5hrs.
Buses are comfortable and are air-conditioned for the most part. I chose Costa Verde as they seem to come recommended and I wasn’t disappointed with their service.
The bus station in Paraty is fairly central and it’s walkable from there to the centre or to accommodation nearby. If you don’t fancy the walk, taxis are available outside the bus station.
You can also get to Paraty by rental car from, Rio, Sao Paulo or any other nearby destination. Parking in Paraty doesn’t seem difficult to find but I would recommend you don’t stay in the colonial centre for ease of parking at night unless your hotel offers parking.
I always use Rental Cars or Discover Cars when renting a car in Brazil and Latin America, they generally have the best deals, user-friendly websites and customer service. Click here to rent a car with Rental Cars. Check rates with Discover Cars here.
Is it possible to do a Paraty day trip from Rio? I’ve been asked this a few times and the answer is no. Whether you rent a car or go by bus it takes almost 6 hours to get to Paraty. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to be able to see Paraty in a day from Rio. You’d have to stay for at least one night and it definitely is worth it.
The Best Time to Visit Paraty
The best time to visit Paraty is during the winter months. Winters tend to be cooler but also drier and sunnier, meaning fewer rainy days. The driest months are June-August but they are also the coldest. The wettest and warmest months are December to February.
The average temperature in Paraty stayed between 60°F/15°C and 95°F/35°C. The best months to visit are April or May and also September or October.
I visited in December and unfortunately had really rainy weather. It wasn’t too bad in Pararty but most of my stay in Rio de Janeiro was wet. I really recommend avoiding December.
Where to Stay in Paraty Brazil
Most Paraty RJ hotels are located fairly centrally. The most charming place to stay in Paraty is in the colonial centre, however, consider that this is also the nosiest.
There are many bars and restaurants open in the evenings and it’s crowded throughout the day. If you’re looking for something a little more peaceful I’d recommend the outskirts of the colonial centre or the residential neighbourhood of Caborê.
Budget– Magias de Paraty Ecopousada – lovely little budget posada (guesthouse) located very close to the historic centre. They also have a pool to relax in after a long day of exploring, or just in case you don’t manage to make it to the beaches. Great breakfast and also free parking – great if you’ve rented a car. They also have a more eco-friendly and health-focused approach. Check rates and availability here.
Mid – Pousada Porto Imperial – This superb property offers a tropical calm oasis while still being located right in the historical centre. The guesthouse itself is built in the colonial fashion and its decor takes you back to times long gone. The beautiful pool area is perfect for relaxing at any time of the day. Check rates and availability here.
Splurge– Pousada Literária de Paraty – located in the historical center, this magical guest-house boasts large clean white rooms and swimming pool with all the colonial and Japanese minimalist feels. The breakfast is simple but tasty with heaps of fresh fruit. This is a fantastic property and perfect for the design focused. Check rates and availability here.
Airbnb also has a host of fantastic options in Paraty. If you’re new to Airbnb you can get $40 off your first booking- simply sign up here.
Heading to Rio de Janeiro? Read: Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro: A Curated Guide
Where to Eat in Paraty
Luckily there are quite a few plant-based and healthy options in Paraty, with enough to eat and drink for your 3-day stay. Many restaurants and cafes cater to veggies and vegans even if they aren’t fully plant-based.
Istanbul- Unfortunately the best food I had on my trip wasn’t Brazilian food at all, it was actually Turkish. In fact, I think this was the best Middle Eastern food I’ve ever had in South America.
The main event here is the mezze platter which includes crispy falafel, smokey baba ganoush, creamy hummus, tabouleh and pitta. It’s big enough to share and if you’re not too hungry there’s also the delicious falafel wrap.
If you’re a Middle Eastern food lover Istanbul simply cannot be missed off of a Paraty itinerary.
Colonia – All over Brazil including Paraty you’ll notice many restaurants serving food based on the weigh-and-pay philosophy.
Simply grab a plate, fill it up from the varied buffet, go to the counter and pay for the weight of your plate.
Colonia was one of the best buffets I found as even though it’s not plant-based in the slightest, there are many plant-based options for when you need something quick.
It’s also a great place to go if you’re travelling with a non-vegan as there are meat options too. It’s a great way to try some local Brazilian food.
Bistro Maos de Lotus – Vegetarian cafe selling Asian-inspired dishes based on rice and veggies, salads and sandwiches.
Manuê – Simple cafe serving up great pancakes and yummy acai bowls- something you simply have to eat when in Brazil.
Top Things to Do in Paraty Brazil
Wander the Colonial Center
The old colonial centre of Paraty Rio de Janiero is this area’s main draw.
It’s one of the most well-preserved, Portuguese colonial towns in Brazil and there’s no better way to see it than just walking the old cobblestone alleyways and exploring every nook and crevasse of these streets.
Admire the colourful arches and doorways, the cobblestones on the ground, the cute cafes on every corner and the intricate details and tilework on some of the buildings.
Relax on the Beach in Trinidade
One of the best things to do in Paraty is to visit Trinidade. Trinidade is a quaint, or shall we say was a quaint little fishing village located 45 minutes south of Paraty.
Now it’s a village filled with cafes, restaurants and shops surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the area.
There are in fact three beaches here, one can only be reached on foot via a hiking path. The beaches are clear golden sand and the waters are a spectacular greeny-blue. You’ll find many locals relaxing, drinking beer and eating seafood in the beachside restaurants, local teens surfing and people of all ages in tiny swimsuits frolicking in the waves.
While it might seem crowded at first it’s easy to get away from the crowds, just keep walking up the beach!
Hike to Sono Beach
Sono beach is probably one of the most beautiful beaches in Paraty, if not one of the best beaches in Rio de Janeiro. It really is a paradise with white sand, turquoise water lapping at the shore and lush jungle surrounding it.
It’s one of the most popular places to head on a day trip so make sure to get here as early as possible to make the most of it before crowds start sailing in.
To get here you can either take the bus toward Trinidade, to Laranjeiras. From here you’ll find the trailhead that leads to Sono Beach. You can also take a taxi from Paraty to the trailhead or a boat.
Tour the Paraty Distilleries
Paraty history is quite unique and has a close relationship with the growth and harvest of sugarcane in the area. This sugarcane was used to make cachaça, the national liquor of Brazil. No wonder why you’ll be able to find quite a few cachaça distilleries in Paraty.
The most popular distillery in Paraty is Alambique Eugenho D’Ouro but there are many others you can also visit during your stay. The best way to visit the distilleries is through a tour. You can combine a jungle waterfall Jeep tour with seeing and visiting the distilleries.
Hike the Caminho do Oro
The Gold Path or Caminho do Oro is a now disused, cobblestone path that used to function as the main way to transport gold from Minas Gerais to Paraty, Brazil (the major port back then) and then onto Portugal.
The path is broken up into different chunks and some parts go through private property so it’s a little difficult to do the whole thing without a guide.
A day or half-day excursion would be to walk one of the parts in Ponte Branca which combines two of the waterfalls mentioned below.
To get here take a local bus from Paraty bus terminal which goes to Cunha. Get off at Ponte Branca, at the actual bridge. From the other side of the bridge, you’ll see a cobblestone path on your right. This is the start of the trail.
Keep walking until you get to Cachoeira da Pedra Branca, have a swim and relax before making your way back the same way you came.
Go Scuba Diving
One of the best Paraty activities especially if you love watersports, is scuba diving in the emerald-blue sea. The ocean around Paraty is amazingly clear and full of tropical fish and other wildlife which you can spot.
You’ll go out on a boat, and see some of the most amazing coastline before heading down for a dive on some of the best diving spots around Paraty. You can also dive a shipwreck too.
Luckily you don’t have to be an experienced scuba diver to dive in Paraty. Check out this Discovery Scuba Diving Experience for Beginners which includes an instructor/guide and all equipment you’ll need for an amazing dive in Paraty.
Visit and Bathe in the Waterfalls
Many of the waterfalls are located along the Camino do Oro, so if you decide to hike parts of it as suggested above you’ll be able to discover them.
The easiest waterfall to get to by public transport is the Toboga Waterfall or Cachoeira do Toboga which isn’t so much a free-falling waterfall as water sliding down a giant rock.
The main attraction here though is the locals that practise ’surfing’ down the rock face- not to be tried yourself as it takes a lot of practice. Once you’re done with bathing, grab a fresh juice at the Tarzan bar, a simple restaurant located amid the waterfall and lush jungle.
Along the Camino do Oro you can also visit and bathe in Cachoeira Poço do Inglês and the Cachoeira da Pedra Branca, two nice waterfalls, along the trail perfect for a mid-trek swim.
Hike the Pão de Açucar Peak
Hike Sugar Loaf Mountain in Paraty – much smaller than the one in Rio- and spend time in some beautiful landscapes. From the top of Pão de Açucar, you’ll be able to see one of the biggest tropical fjords in the world.
On your way up to the top of the 1440ft peak you’ll also be able to experience the lush forests and local fauna. It’s one of the most stunning landscapes around and it’s just outside Paraty.
It’s a little hard to do this trip independently because of logistics but you can join the Pão de Açucar Peak Tekking and Hiking Tour which also includes a speedboat ride to Praia do Cruzeiro, one of the most beautiful beaches around.
Enjoy the Paraty Brazil Nightlife
Paraty is one of the most enjoyable places to head out in the evening for a meal, drinks and some live music. It’s generally safe to go out at night in Paraty, especially in the colonial center. Here you’ll find many chilled bars whose tables are set up amid candlelight on the streets.
It’s a wonderful spot to grab a caipirinha, relax after a long day of exploring and listen to some live, local music.
Go on a Paraty Boat Tour
One of the best ways to see the gorgeous beaches and coves in the area around Paraty is by a boat tour.
There are many areas in Paraty, especially in the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area that cannot be accessed by road. Even if taking a tour normally isn’t your cup of tea or shall we say glass of caipirinha, I would definitely consider it here otherwise you really do miss out on the abundance of the area.
This is one of the best Paraty Bay tours that will take you around the whole bay stopping at a few different islands and beaches. It also includes snorkelling and kayaking if you opt for it. Find out more here.
Go Shopping in Paraty Brazil
One of the best Paraty things to do is to actually go shopping.
Paraty is one of the best places in Rio de Janeiro state to go shopping. There are many designer boutiques and souvenir stores selling everything from gorgeous dresses and Brazilian-made swimwear to local Brazilian coffee.
No doubt you’ll be tempted to do a little bit of shopping. The best stores are all located in the colonial centre.
Go Kayaking Among the Mangroves
One of the best things to do in Paraty is to explore Paraty Bay by kayak. Not only is it more eco-friendly than a boat trip, but you also get a good amount of physical activity from it too.
Take a Half-Day Mangroves and Beaches Tour by Kayak and spend a few hours exploring the beautiful, empty beaches, the nearby mangrove forest and deserted islands. You’ll also have time to relax and swim in the gentle waters. All insurance and kayaking gear is included.
Where to Move in Paraty Brazil
Outdoor gym – Fitness culture is thriving in Brazil and that’s certainly the case in Paraty.
I found a great outdoor gym on the other side of the bridge from the main colonial centre just by the town’s main beach.
Here you’ll find a variety of bars you can use for push-ups and pull-ups as well as free weights made from concrete suitable for all. There’s even a bench to lie on for chest presses.
This was by far my favourite place to workout at sunrise (the gym faces the bay where the sun comes up), not just for its morning views but for its uniqueness and versatility too.
Yoga – Casa do Dharma – A great spot for daily yoga classes, meditation and therapeutic massages. This wellness oasis is the place to flow when in Paraty. Its central location means that it’s the perfect place for a morning yoga class before hitting the beach.
Hotel room workout – If you don’t fancy leaving your hotel or Airbnb why not try a quick hotel room workout? If you need some workout ideas don’t forget to check out all of my travel workouts here.
Run along the river – Paraty is a spectacular place to go for a run. It’s relatively flat and it has a lovely walking path/bike lane that runs right by the river, ideal for a long run.
Top Tips for Visiting Paraty
↠ Paraty Safety– I get a lot of questions about safety in Brazil and safety in Paraty. Generally, Paraty is a safe place to visit and I personally had no problems here. Being a small town there’s much less crime than in a city like Rio de Janeiro.
Having said that make sure to always go with your gut, have your wits about you and keep your valuables safe.
↠Party nightlife– If you’re into nightlife then there is plenty going on in the evening in Paraty. In the historical center you’ll find many lovely little bars and restaurants. Head to Paraty beach for louder beach bars and entertainment until the small hours.
↠ While 3 days in Paraty Brazil might seem like a lot, there is actually quite a lot to do in town and in the surrounding area. If you don’t have too much time, 2 days would also be enough to spend in Paraty.
↠ Pack for rain. This part of Brazil is very tropical and rain can come at any time even in the drier months. Make sure to bring a good rain jacket or an umbrella to avoid getting soaked.
Any questions about how to spend your time in Paraty RJ Brazil? Leave them below, I’d love to hear from you!
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