Brazil is a nation with deep roots in the Atlantic slave trade, having imported nearly four million slaves from Africa. To learn more about the connection between gold, slavery, and Portuguese colonization, a visit to Paraty’s infamous Gold Trail, or Caminho do Ouro, is an essential stop. Here are some options.
Gold Trail History
Built by Brazilian slaves brought from Africa during the 17th and 18th centuries, this 745-mile (1,200-kilometer) trail winds through the Atlantic Rain Forest. The route was cleared and cobblestones were laid to easily transport gold and precious stones from the mountainous jungle landscapes to Portuguese ships waiting to set sail. Due to its strategic location, Paraty was an important seaport during the Brazilian gold rush.
Ways to Experience Paraty's Gold Trail
- Visitors to this historical destination can wander the moderately difficult (and exceptionally scenic) Gold Trail located in Serra da Bocaina National Park.
- A guided walk or Jeep exploration introduces you to a wide variety of rare and indigenous flora and fauna, while the Gold Trail Exposition features exhibits.
- Nearby Toboga Waterfall and Tarzan’s Pool offer the perfect places for tourists to cool off on hot days, and the local cachaça distillery offers a taste of the fermented sugarcane juice.
- Discover how gold—in addition to sugar and coffee—shaped Paraty during a tour of the Historic Center (Centro Historico) UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring some of the best examples of Portuguese colonial architecture.