Perfect Paraty

By | Category: Travel destinations, Travel rumblings

Brazil’s Costa Verde coastline has plenty of places to entice travellers who manage to tear themselves away from Rio de Janeiro but, in my mind, peaceful Paraty – particularly the old colonial centre – is the state’s star attraction.

Paraty’s picturesque old town is choc full of 18th century colonial churches – there are four in total (two that were built for whites, one for blacks and one for mulattos, aka persons of black and white ancestry) – and elegant white hued shops, selling lust have handicrafts and objects d’art. You’ll also find little old men peddling sweets for a pittance, plus outdoor restaurants humming with activity.

The colonial centre’s cobblestone streets (ladies, don’t even think about wearing heels) are closed to cars, making it an enchanting place to amble around. For Paraty isn’t about sightseeing, tho museums do abound, but about wandering the backstreets, stopping for a sweet, strong coffee, eating a long, late lunch and, if you’re feeling flush, chillaxing in an elegant old town pousada. Our pick would be Pousada Ouro, whose high profile past guests include Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and Tom Cruise. I dropped in for a drink in the gorgeous garden bar overlooking the pool, but could have happily have checked into one of the rooms!

After dark, Paraty resembles something of a party town – barely a month goes by without some festival or other, filling the cobblestoned streets. The biggest is the Desta do Divino Espirito Santo which starts the seventh sunday after Easter. Carnaval also attracts a huge crowd, but new events pop up on the calendar each year (for the full low-down, visit www.parary.com/br ) and places such as Paraty 33, in the heart of the historic centre, are pumping on any given night.

When you’ve ticked off the old town, Paraty has plenty of islands and beaches (600 and 300 respectively to be specific) within easy reach, where you can spend an afternoon soaking up the sunshine and scenery.

Bottom line? From sparkling coastlines to colonial architecture and a countryside packed with natural beauty, Paraty has it all – and a lot more besides.

 

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