It's not hard to guess that the ensuing gold rush most certainly led to the construction of the Gold Trail (Caminho do Ouro), a 1200 kilometer road, paved in steep areas with large stones, which connected Paraty to Diamantina via Ouro Preto and Tiradentes, also one of the most beautiful colonial towns in Brazil (so sad that we missed it). If you are planning to go in that direction, don't miss Casa Torta in Bichinho, Prados (State of Minas Gerais), just a few kilometres from Tiradentes. But let's focus on Paraty; believe me, it's gonna grab your eye...
Paraty is the real treasure between the sea and the mountains, a cute colorful gem, just four hour drive from Rio de Janeiro towards São Paulo (depends on traffic). We absolutely loved Rio, everybody loves Rio, how can you not, but this colonial town was absolutely on top of our expectations.
Some of you, who have been following our journeys, might have noticed, that we don't care much for 'polished' places. There has to be a raugh road and some dirt on our feet for a proper soul reset.
When we were walking on the beaches of Paraty, the sand had that glowy look like glitter and felt like walking on real gold. Ironically Paraty was called 'The Golden Port' for all the gold dug in the world's richest gold mines in the mountains of Minas Gerais and shipped all the way to Portugal.
I noticed people in Paraty leave their car windows wide opened, doors unlocked, nothing bad happened to anybody we talked to. There is practically no crime or the crime rate is very low.
For me there was nothing more cheerful than strolling around this rainbowy town, covered with cobbled streets, which were not that easy to walk on. Ladies: watch out for your ankles - so no high heels in Paraty :). Above all: nothing beats the feeling of drinking coconut water while exploring all those remote cute corners.
Meet the locals...
Where to eat in Paraty ...
I truly recommend Prosa Restaurant, where we ate several times and every time the food was so tasteful and the staff was amazing. I also liked their location and the rustic interior.
What I loved the most about this restaurant (beside food) was that you could sit outside, literally on the street and just a few meters away the Brazilian music played from the nearest square.
One time we went for dinner to Cafe do Canal and the staff was very kind, the food was okay too.
Where to stay in Paraty...
We stayed at the amazing Casa Paraty Cabore at Rua dos Tucanos 223. The price for four nights was 1.705 R$ (cca. 470 EUR), 5% VAT and 10% service charge was included. A bit expensive, but totally worth it. After all, you are not 40 every day, so happy birthday to my hubby!
The owner was an absolutely wonderful woman. Every guest gets a pair of flip-flops as a welcome gift. The house was perfectly decorated, mostly in white and in combination with natural materials. There were a lot of wooden elements everywhere and I noticed well selected details, like a wooden white dragonfly on the night lamp or a seahorse on the closet door. The real house of style.
The breakfast was royal and the staff (a beautiful local girl) was so kind. If you look at the photo below, she stayed behind that right door, everything else was there for us. We really felt welcomed and comfortable.
Fresh juice and fresh fruit - so tasty! These were the mornings I would want to experience at home from time to time. ;-)
I can't remember when did I meet people so warm, grateful and helpful than here in Brazil. We felt so safe like we were at home.
Some more strolling around Paraty...
Nothing better than being there with your love.
This store in combo with Casa Turquesa - Boutique & Design Hotel (the photo below) was amazing. This hotel is another great accommodation suggestion and it is situated in the famous historical part of Paraty. I fell in love with this Granado cosmetics - the scent is just splendid, took the whole collection, from soap, shampoo, shower gel and conditioner and the best feeling is that I can now have my Brazilian days at home.
The only thing that disturbed us a little was the fact that all of our four days in Paraty were extremely rainy. The fifth day in the morning, when we needed to return to Rio with our transfer (Top Transfer), which btw. was amazing, everything was exactly as we agreed, the driver wrote us a message, that a huge car accident had happened on the main road near Paraty. He was stucked in a traffic jam for an hour or so and he didn't know, when he would have been able to pick us up. Because that day sun finally showed up and we weren't in any hurry (surprisingly), we felt blessed to have a chance to stay in our rented colonial villa a little bit longer and later on we decided to walk through town again to take some photos.
Because of the rain we had to let go of our trips expectations, because the tour organizer cancelled them. But, can you see the glasses on the boat? :-)
This photo was taken on our last day in Paraty, when we had to return to Rio, so we missed the following trips:
Praia do Sono is reachable by trekking by the rain forrest till a typical fishermen village. Departure is at 9.00 a.m., duration is 6 hours.
Trindade is a fishermen village with four beaches. The transfer is around 10 a.m., duration is 6 hours.
Jeep tours – these are tours in the National Park of Serra da Bocaina with its rain forest, waterfalls, the typical destilleries of cachaca and The Gold Trail 'Caminho do Ouro'. Departure is at 10.30, duration is 6 hours (we really wanted to go on this one).
It is possible to go horse back riding inside the rain forrest through historic farms, with beautiful waterfalls or on kayak tour, which takes 4 hours, visiting mangrove, beaches and small islands, with a stop for snorkeling.
Every day we were walking to the city center, which was about 1,5 km away from our rented villa and we passed by this marvelous tree. It was so much relaxing. Often we saw some local boys happily jumping into the river with a huge rope. I mean, you don't see that every day anymore. That also is a part of the magic you can experience while breathing with the natives. Of course you can also get a taxi or rent a bike (the prices are very moderate).
The driver came for us with a five hour delay, but the driving was so comfortable, because the two of us were the only passengers, so there was plenty of room to rest and lie down at the back seats. We made it back to Rio right before the night fell down and it was amazing to see Rio lights and the hills around it with Christ the Redeemer, enlightened on top of the Corcovado Mountain, observing his 'Cidade de Deus'. But, more of Rio in my next post...
The private transfer costed us 1.150 R$ (around 300 EUR for both ways), not exactly a reasonable decision, but we had a huge lack of time situation, so to take a bus was not an option. Anyways, we never regret anything, concerning our new adventures. Paraty, we had the best time and that kind of a trip for me is a trip worth revisiting.