A visit to Paraty, nestled on the Costa Verde in the state of Rio de Janeiro, offers travelers a taste of Brazil’s natural beauty, colonial history, and bold flavor. Whether it’s relaxing on a pristine beach or wandering the historic center’s cobblestone streets, here are some suggestions for how to spend three days in Paraty.
Day 1: Beaches and Jungles
The region surrounding Paraty is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground, no matter your interest or adventure level. Get up early for an excursion into the jungle, where you can traverse the rugged trails by Jeep, stopping to swim in stunning natural waterfalls. In the afternoon, head to the coast, where aquatic adventures abound. Kayak past uninhabited islands and through mangrove forests; snorkel above colorful coral reefs; test your balance on a stand-up paddleboard; or, if you prefer to go out on your own, hop on a bus for a beach-hopping tour along the Paraty coast. Sono Beach, Antigos Beach, and Ponta Negros all offer beautiful and remote stretches of sand where you can relax in the Brazilian sun.
Day 2: Explore History
After soaking up some sun, spend your second day soaking up some history. Start the morning sipping strong coffee and people watching on the grassy lawns of Martiz Square in Paraty’s historic center. Then wander the streets and take in the town’s impressive colonial architecture on a guided tour of the old town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stop by the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary (Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Rosário), the largest church in town, before heading to the Paraty House of Culture to learn more about the former Portuguese colony’s role and significance as part of the Gold Trail (Caminho do Ouro). After you’ve seen the town by day, return after dark for a traditional dinner of Brazilian seafood served at one of the many local restaurants. If you still have energy to burn, follow the sounds of live music to one of Paraty’s bars for some cachaça and dancing.
Day 3: Ilha Grande Day Trip
This morning, get an early start for a day on one of Brazil’s most beautiful islands, Ilha Grande. Speed boats ferry passengers to the island, known for its spectacular beaches, such as Palmas, Pouso, and Lopes Mendes. Take a guided walking tour of the island, or spend the day exploring on your own. Aside from the beaches, popular activities include hiking through the jungle to an old aqueduct deep within the forest, exploring the ruins of Candido Mendez Jail, and climbing to the highest point on the island, Papagaio Peak. Water sports enthusiasts can go snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving in the waters just offshore. Day trips to Ilha Grande take up the better part of a day, so plan for a quiet dinner at your hotel upon return.