A stand up paddle board and paddles balancing on Paraty beach Praia do Pontal with stand up paddlers paddling on the water in the background
Founded in 1597, Paraty (also spelt Parati) is a historic town on the Costa Verde (Green Coast) between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. Once an intermediate port for gold travelling from Minas Gerais to Portugal, Paraty was neglected for much of its recent history. This neglect helped preserve Paraty’s old buildings, contributing to its current charm as a tourist destination.
These tiles in Paraty are an elaborate and arty way of communicating the house number (9)
One of Paraty’s famous sweets carts; I tried most of them
At Leo’s Clan Hostel I got chatting with Liese. Liese was travelling around South America with a tour group but temporarily staying apart. Later I met other group members for a fun night of partying, finishing at a bonfire beach party north of Paraty. With alcohol-inspired courage, some people skinny dipped in the sea.
Enjoying the bonfire beach party with Liese and other tour group members
On Sunday the tour group had a boat trip around the nearby islands and inlets. Guide Laura was unsure if I could join the trip. After experiencing South America, I was confident simply showing up as a paying customer would get me on.
The weather and water on this cloudy winter’s day were mild enough for swimming and jumping off the two-level Paz e Amor boat. Tour catering included lunch and unlimited caipirinhas. Unsurprisingly, following the previous night’s party, much cachaça (caipirinha’s base spirit) remained undrunk.
Animals seen on this fantastic boat trip included flying fish, frigates, cavies and vultures. At one stop we had limited success knocking young coconuts off trees in order to drink their water.
A fishing boat surrounded by many frigates
Performing a somersault off the boat’s second level. The jump did not go perfectly and I landed on my back
After a great trip with the tour group (thank you Laura, Liese and groupies) we returned to Paraty. Back at the dock a model posed for a photo shoot.
The fashion model at the Paraty dock giving me the peace sign
On Monday I caught a local bus to the vicinity of the Toboga Waterfalls. Also on board were Malena, CanDe and Lili and the four of us hiked the short distance along the Caminho do Ouro (Gold Trail) to the waterfalls. Although incomparable to Iguazu’s awesomeness, the Toboga Waterfalls were tranquil and worth visiting. The most impressive aspect though was a local surfing across the wet rocks.
The path from the road to the waterfalls goes near the Penha Church
A local surfing over the rocks downstream from the Toboga Waterfall; the person in the background previously slid down on his front
With Malena and CanDe at Toboga Waterfalls
On Tuesday fellow hostel guests Elise and Julie and I caught another local bus south to Trindade. Trindade has a great beach and I’m sure the place rocks in summer. On this overcast winter’s day, however, the beach was deserted except for a few plovers and dogs. While walking along the beach, rain began falling and we scurried one block inland to find a restaurant for lunch. Several restaurants lined the main road, most open and empty. The Pearl Jam stickman figures decorating Loucos & Malucos chose me. The figures prompted conversation and Elise was not only another fan of the band but we had in fact attended the same 2006 Pearl Jam concert in Italy.
A fishing boat resting in Trindade’s waters
This large cachaça bottle at Trindade’s Loucos e Malucos restaurant has a Pearl Jam stickman sticker
Back at Paraty, we took a tips-based free walking tour. This town and its buildings have many interesting facets that the guide helpfully pointed out.
The historic city centre is closed to vehicular traffic. Its streets were designed to flood at high tide. The water would wash rubbish and faeces away, leaving them clean. The cobblestone streets are also uneven, requiring one’s continuous attention while walking and making them inaccessible for people with significant physical disabilities.
In Paraty’s historic centre, colonial era buildings and their colourful doors reflect on the high tide water
On my final full day in Paraty I woke up early and witnessed a fantastic sunrise across the sea. In the early morning light the town looked even better than usual.
Boats and their reflections across from a historic Paraty church
This heron successfully caught a fish with its beak in the shallow water adjacent Paraty’ boat dock
Paraty is known for its cachaça, produced from sugar cane grown in the region. Specialist shops in the historic centre sell different cachaça styles and flavours. One of the shops also sold a wide range of beer, even South Australia’s own Coopers Pale Ale.