A far cry from its hedonistic noisy neighbour, Rio, Paraty is all about laidback living and kicking back with a chilled glass of cachaça, with the town being one of Brazil’s most famous producers of the tasty tipple. One of Brazil’s lesser-known havens, its surrounding sandy beaches are tucked away against a backdrop of dense jungle and green-peaked mountains.
Bobbing tourist boats await their passengers near the church of Igreja de Santa Rita de Cassia
Brightly coloured boats bob along the port like something out of a watercolour painting, and car-free cobbled streets beckon you inside the old town. During its time as a port town, gold was exported to Rio de Janeiro and on to Portugal. Nonetheless, Paraty’s golden days are far from behind it.
The sandy shores of Praia do Cepilho, enveloped by rolling green hills
This group of peninsulas is home to some of the country’s best beaches, with most reached via a scenic forest hike or a boat trip. Check out Praia do Cepilho beach for the best surf, or snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Praia da Lula.
Expert guides can lead you through the enchanting old town, packed with multi-hued houses, boutique shops run by friendly locals, and ancient churches. A plethora of cafés and restaurants serve up everything from typical Brazilian dishes to tasty Thai green curry.
When to go?
The multicoloured houses of Paraty's Old Town
To avoid swarming crowds and scorching weather, head to Paraty in low season, from April to June, or from August to November. If you do visit in peak season, the International Literary Fair takes place in July and is the city’s most prestigious event – just bear in mind that prices of hotels and restaurants may be higher at this time.
Where to stay?
Eliconial Paraty Pousada
Eliconial Paraty Pousada – Paraty, Brazil
If Paraty is a utopia, then this hideaway hotel is its essence. The beautiful outdoor garden is enveloped by swaying palm trees which provide a canopy over the outdoor pool and hot tub. Keep an eye out for cheeky marmoset monkeys looking to score a bunch of bananas.
Pousada Palmeira Imperial
Pousada Palmeira Imperial – Paraty, Brazil
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Paraty’s historic old town, this rustic accommodation is decorated with tropical colour tones of crimson, lime and sunglow yellow. Booking.com travellers rave about the friendly staff and enticing pool area. There’s even a hot hub and hammocks thrown in for good measure.
Pousada Porto Imperial
Pousada Porto Imperial – Paraty, Brazil
Dating back to 1804, this beautiful building sits next to the Perequê-Áçu River, and was once a thriving commercial warehouse during Paraty’s trading heyday. On site you’ll find an outdoor pool with sunloungers, a spa bath and sauna for maximum relaxation.