Paraty: Colonial charm and beautiful beaches
Lying halfway between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the lovely colonial town of Paraty is bypassed by the main north-south highway and is a little corner of Brazil that, if not exactly forgotten, is certainly well-hidden. You have to detour off the main road for a while and wind your way down to the Atlantic coast before you can start to enjoy everything this gorgeous little spot has to offer...
And it certainly is gorgeous! The town itself is one of those little colonial affairs that Brazil does so well: all cobbled streets and decorated buildings filled with cafes, galleries and museums. And in the area all around the town are dozens of quiet, secluded little coves with clear waters and white sands. Put all of this together and it means that if you have a decent stretch of time and really want to relax and let the sunshine do its work, Paraty is the perfect get-away-from-it-all spot!
The history of Paraty
The town originally developed as a port for the gold trade coming out of the nearby Minas Gerais mountains, and was linked to the mines by the 1200km "Gold Trail", built with slave labour for the Portuguese colonists. The gold traders and mine owners built large mansions and churches in Paraty but the mines eventually ran out in the 18th century, and the wealthy left town. Paraty became a backwater and, despite occasional mini-revivals based on agricultural products in the 19th century, remained that way until the building of better roads in the 1970s enabled it to appeal as a tourist destination.
Today, Paraty (or Parati as it's also known) is a cult favourite with Brazilian and foreign tourists, who come to enjoy the fabulous beaches and the lively cultural and artistic life Paraty has to offer. The town hosts an annual International Literary Festival and is home to numerous artists and galleries, so after a full day on one of the nearby beaches, you can take in a little culture in the evening before settling down in one of the many good restaurants or bars...
Beaches in Paraty
Not counting the huge number of beaches in the wider Ilha Grande area, there are over 100 beaches in the immediate area around Paraty itself. In practice, probably only around 20 are easily visited without your own car, but that should still be plenty to go on with! Whether you are keen to do some snorkelling or scuba diving, sunbathing or surfing, Paraty has a beach for you and we'll be happy to advise you as to the best one to go for!