Paraty is the secret port of the colonial gold route. Have a relaxing vacation in a small bay surrounded by tropical jungle and islands.
If you are looking for somewhere in Brazil that offers nature, culture, peace and quiet, the colonial port of Paraty is a condensed version that will delight you.
Found in the Rio de Janeiro region, on the Costa Verde, this port which is listed as a World Heritage site is hidden in the heart of the “Atlantic primary forest.” It’s a place that has both a beautiful historical heritage and a preserved natural surrounding with beaches close by.
It’s about 4hrs by car from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo and it’s a choice stop for those who love culture or are looking for idyllic postcard style landscapes on a tour of Rio de Janeiro.
Almost forgotten and inaccessible by road only a few decades ago, Paraty, in the 17th century was the port of arrival for the African slave galleons. They would exchange their human cargo for gold and jewels for the Portuguese crown. This heavily guarded secret activity allowed the port to prosper and the building of beautiful mansions in this tiny idyllic cove began. Abandoned with the expansion of Rio de Janeiro, this village disappeared rapidly from memory, leaving only a few fishing families behind. It survived the test of time and was rediscovered in the mid 20th century to become one of the most charming tourist destinations in Brazil. Partly thanks to its exceptional colonial architecture, set facing the bay.
Paraty is surrounded by magnificent islands and beaches, it isn’t a beach resort in itself. It is better to drive a little further to reach other surrounding beaches. If you are looking for a more exotic time you can rent a boat and visit the small deserted islands covered by tropical forest that are dotted around the bay.
A tranquil oasis by day, the village comes alive at night. All the colonial buildings have become pousadas, bars or restaurants, perfect for friendly evenings on a terrace or over a delicious meal .
On your Paraty Tour
A small colonial town
A lively nightlife
Nature excursions into the surrounding area
Paraty Vacation – What’s included?
• 1 private transfer from Rio de Janeiro (hotel or airport) to Paraty
• 2 nights in a double room in a pousada from our selection
• 1 private transfer from Paraty to Rio de Janeiro (hotel or airport)
The historical heritage of Paraty, recognised by UNESCO
The history of the port of Paraty is closely linked to the resources discovered in this region.
Founded in the 17th century, this small village prospered rapidly by the production of sugar cane used to make cachaça and then coffee. Its location, hidden in the Ilha Grande bay also meant it was a very busy slave trading port. However, it was especially the gold and diamond mining of Minas Gerais, a few hundred kilometers north, that transformed this little fishing port into a hidden loading point for the galleons full of treasures destined for Portugal.
Due to the expansion of Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of the 18th century, Paraty was abandoned after the opening of a more accessible road to the mines in Minas Gerais. This caused the town to freeze in time, preserving the architectural treasures we now find in the historical centre. This is also the reason for its authentic colonial charm. Typical buildings from the period include pretty one-story houses with wrought iron balconies, and impressive baroque churches, including Santa Rita, in the heart of the historic centre.
The village is entirely reserved for pedestrians, which allows for a unique and relaxed atmosphere, furthermore the electric wires are buried underground which preserves the beauty of the area. These are ideal conditions for exploring the narrow cobbled streets which will reveal hidden treasures, classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
In this quiet and unspoilt atmosphere, you can lose yourself imagining the old times when the streets were full of stalls, adventurers and intriguing traders, trying to make a fortune from the riches of the “New World”.
Enjoy the culture of a natural paradise on the Costa Verde
Rediscovered only fifty years ago, Paraty has emerged from a deep sleep and now offers many charming pousadas with a “yesteryear” style and a town centre full of welcoming cafes and restaurants.
Paraty also has a thriving cultural life with many exhibitions and artists’ studios. An international literature festival, FLIP, attracts many visitors every year.
Its treasures also include its exceptional location; Paraty is surrounded by beautiful tropical forests that run right down to the ocean. These natural areas have lots of trails and paths allowing you to explore the Mata Atlantica which is almost extinct due to the deforestation of the coast.
If you are thirsty for adventure and freedom, we suggest you also explore the islands of the Costa Verde in search of deserted beaches of fine sand, bathed in turquoise waters, where you will feel you have found paradise at last. Paraty is the ideal starting point to reach these islands by boat.
If you want to extend your stay on one of the islands, then why not go a little further on to Ilha Grande? This ecological sanctuary has been open to the public for only 20 years and is the largest island in the region offering beautiful stays for ecotourism lovers. Have a look at our stay in Ilha Grande !
A colonial village close to Rio de Janeiro with an exceptional ecological heritage.
The village of Paraty is at the heart of an ecotourism complex in full expansion.
It is surrounded by several protected areas: the Sierra Bocaina Park, of course, but also the ecological reserve of Joatinga and the protection zone for the Cairucu. Also note that Paraty is the gateway to Serra do Mar National Park.
All of these protected areas form a green wall around Paraty and contribute as much to its tranquillity as to the atmosphere of ancient times when the settlers had cleared only a few acres of land. This green environment reflects in the waters of the bay and adds to the character of this village-museum of Brazil’s colonial past.
If you are planning a long stay and enjoy walking in natural surroundings, you will be delighted with this part of the Costa Verde where hiking trails abound. We recommend discovering the Sierra Bocaina National Park, but also walk some of the Guaianazes Indian trails, or the paved road built by slaves in the eighteenth century to carry the gold of Minas Gerais.
Paraty Vacation – Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Rio de Janeiro – Paraty
A vehicle and driver will collect you at the airport or your hotel and take you to Paraty at a little less than 250kms by road.
For about 4 hours, you will discover the state of Rio de Janeiro and its surrounding landscapes. First, you cross or go around the city of Rio de Janeiro (depending on your starting point) to reach the south of the city and the famous Br 101. The 5000km long road that runs along most of the Brazilian coast.
Shortly after Mangaratiba, the road runs right along the shore and offers a magnificent view, the ocean appearing and disappearing with the curves in the road. You then get to Angra dos Reis, and continue along the coast before arriving in Paraty Bay.
Your driver will leave you at your pousada and after checking-in you can settle in your room.
Whether you have left Rio in the morning or early afternoon, you will have time to get a first impression of Paraty by strolling the pedestrian streets, on the lookout for a good table for dinner! Remember to ask your pousada reception about the boat times to visit the surrounding islands if you want to make an excursion the next day!
Night at the pousada
Day 2 : Paraty
Take your time and enjoy a great breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
There are lots of things to do in Paraty :
For lovers of culture and history, you can visit the village and its churches, each of which was originally reserved for a particular social and ethnic group (rich whites, black slaves, liberated mixed race, poor whites). You can also visit the Casa de Cultura (Culture House), the Fort Defensor Perpetuo and other historical places.
If you want to enjoy the pleasures of swimming and relaxation, then go to Sono Beach, one of the most beautiful in the region or for an excursion to Trinidade, an authentic fishing village surrounded by the most fantastic beaches in the region. You can also kayak or stand up paddle or take a boat ride around the islands of the bay.
If you want to exercise in a beautiful setting, then you can walk in one of the surrounding national parks and travel the millennial paths in the footsteps of the region’s natives.
Finally, if you want to discover the local nature but you are not very motivated to walk a lot, opt for the jeep tour of the Serra da Bocaina, you will effortlessly get to see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country.
Night on site.
Day 3 : Paraty – Rio de Janeiro/ out
Buffet breakfast served at your pousada and last morning of visits or relaxation in Paraty.
A vehicle picks you up at the pousada for your return to the airport according to your flight time or at the end of the morning to a hotel in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Arrival in Rio de Janeiro, the driver drops you off at the hotel or airport of your choice.
End of our services.
Paraty Vacation – Accommodation
Pousada do Sandi (standard)
Pousada do Sandi is a small charming establishment in a beautiful period building. It offers cosy and comfortable rooms with a decoration skilfully blending classic furniture with a vivid modern colour design.
The services and facilities are fantastic and make this pousada good value for money in Paraty.
Pousada do Ouro (superior)
The pousada do Ouro is a superior establishment that offers beautiful rooms in a colonial style with beautiful furnishings. Located in the heart of the historical district, a stay here means total immersion in the village’s atmosphere. It features a pool, sauna and spa.
There is a very cozy bar here to start your evening and this is a favorite pousada among celebrities and stars, ideal for a luxury upmarket stay.
Pousada Literaria de Paraty (superior)
Pousada Literaria in Paraty is the latest addition to its upscale pousadas. In an old and completely renovated building, it offers great services combining charm and modernity. It is the official pousada for international writers invited to the International Literature Festival (FLIP) that takes place each year.
This is the ideal accommodation for a special occasion such as a honeymoon, as it features the famous Paraty suite of 180 sqm on two floors with fireplace & library. A must – see for those looking for luxury!