Paraty Itinerary: the Perfect 72 Hours

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Curated By

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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  • Brazil

  • Arts & Culture

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Entertainment

A picture of a waterfall between mountains during daytime.
Curator’s statement

Paraty is a historic coastal town located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, renowned for its preserved Portuguese colonial architecture and picturesque natural setting. Surrounded by lush green mountains that meet the emerald waters of the Atlantic, the town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, reflecting its rich cultural and historical significance. The heart of Paraty is its charming Historic Center, where no cars are allowed and the streets are paved with cobblestones, lined with colorful houses, boutique shops and quaint cafés. It's also a gateway to explore beautiful beaches, nearby islands and the dense Atlantic Forest, making it a popular destination for both cultural and eco-tourism. Paraty hosts several cultural events throughout the year, including the famous Paraty International Literary Festival (FLIP), which attracts visitors from around the world.

Embarking on a three-day journey through Paraty is like stepping into a living museum where history, nature, and culture converge in a spectacular symphony. This charming colonial town, with its cobbled streets, colorful houses, and a backdrop of lush mountains meeting the emerald sea, offers a unique blend of serene beauty and rich heritage. Your adventure in Paraty will be filled with the discovery of historic architectures, island excursions, and a delightful immersion in Brazilian cuisine and traditions. Prepare to be captivated by the enchanting spirit of Paraty, a town that not only showcases the splendor of Brazil's past but also pulses with the vibrant rhythms of contemporary life.

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Where to stay

Pousada Literária de Paraty

Set in a historic colonial building, this boutique hotel offers a unique blend of comfort, art and literature. With its stylish accommodations, tranquil courtyard and a rich literary ambiance, Pousada Literária de Paraty invites you to experience the enchanting beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage town while enjoying a literary escape like no other.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Casa Mar Paraty

A captivating Brazilian retreat offering a serene waterfront experience with rustic charm and tranquil ambiance in the historic town of Paraty.

Fora Perks
  • Welcome treat in room on arrival.

  • Upgrade & guaranteed late check-out.

Fasano Angra Dos Reis

Where luxury meets the pristine beauty of Brazil's coastal paradise.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Unlock perks by contacting Phelipe to book your trip.

Day 1: Historic Center and Cultural Immersion

A picture of a table and chair setting outdoor restaurant during evening.

Morning:


Start with breakfast at Pousada do Sandy, known for its traditional Brazilian pastries.

Begin exploring the Historic Center of Paraty where the key spots are:

Street of Leisure: Famous for its colorful colonial houses and unique craft shops.

Afternoon:

Have lunch at Pippo. Take a guided tour of the Paraty Wharf area, understanding its historical significance.

Visit the Paraty House of Culture and some local art galleries like Galpão das Artes Urbanas Aecio Sarti.

Take a coffee break at Café Paraty, famous for its Brazilian coffee varieties.

Evening:

You may want to have dinner at Quintal das Letras with a menu featuring contemporary Brazilian dishes.

Take a leisurely stroll in the Historic Center, experiencing the night ambiance or enjoy a quiet nightcap at a local bar.

Day 2: Island Hopping and Beach Exploration

A picture of a beach of bluish green colored water surrounded by green islands.

Morning:

Depart for a full-day Boat Tour exploring nearby islands and secluded beaches.

Key stops:

  • Praia da Lula: Pristine beach, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

  • Ilha do Pelado: Ideal for sunbathing and enjoying tropical drinks.

Afternoon:

Plan a beachside picnic lunch, prepared by your boat crew. Visit Saco do Mamanguá, a tropical fjord, for kayaking or paddleboarding. Try some snorkeling near Ilha Comprida to see colorful marine life.

Evening:

You may have dinner at Armazem Mar, offering fresh seafood or explore Paraty's nightlife, possibly at Paraty 33, known for its live music.

Day 3: Adventure in Nature and Relaxation

A picture of a white colored building during evening time.

Morning:

Depart for a guided hike on the Gold Trail (Caminho do Ouro). Visit Cachoeira do Tobogã and Poço do Tarzan for a refreshing swim.

Afternoon:

Have lunch at Fazenda Bananal, a countryside farm and restaurant known for its farm-to-table concept.
Visit the Engenho D’Ouro cachaça distillery for a tour and tasting session or Praia do Jabaquara, known for its calm waters and sunset views.

Evening:

Book a fine dining experience at Restaurante Banana da Terra, which offers a fusion of Brazilian and international cuisine.

Take a final stroll through Paraty, perhaps buying last-minute souvenirs or enjoying a dessert at a local café.

Additional Tips:

Stay Flexible: Weather can be unpredictable, so be ready to adjust plans, especially for outdoor activities.

Local Guides: Consider hiring local guides for historical and ecological tours; they offer valuable insights and support sustainable tourism.

Transport: Check if your accommodation offers shuttle services for remote locations or if local transport is needed.

Day Trips:

Traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty is a common journey and can be done in several ways. Here are the most common options:

By Bus

Operator: Costa Verde Transportes is a popular bus company for this route.
Duration: Approximately 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic.
Frequency: Multiple departures daily.
Starting Point: Mainly from the Rodoviária Novo Rio (the main bus terminal in Rio). It's advisable to book in advance, especially during peak seasons.

By Car

Route: The most direct route is via the BR-101 (Rio-Santos Highway).
Duration: About 4 hours, but can vary with traffic and stops.
Flexibility: Renting a car provides the flexibility to stop at scenic spots along the coast.
Considerations: Parking in Paraty can be limited, especially in the historic center.

By Private Transfer or Taxi

Convenience: Door-to-door service and the journey can be tailored to your schedule.
Cost: More expensive than buses but can be cost-effective for groups.
Booking: Can be arranged through hotels, travel agencies, or ride-hailing apps.

By Plane

Nearest Airport: Paraty does not have a commercial airport. The closest major airports are in Rio de Janeiro.
For Private or Charter Flights: Paraty has a small airport (Paraty Airport) suitable for small private planes.

Additional Tips

Scenic Route: The drive along the coast offers stunning views, making a road trip quite enjoyable.

Travel Time: Always allow extra time for travel, as road conditions and traffic can be unpredictable.

Safety: If driving, be cautious as some sections of the road can be winding and narrow.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Rio Carnival: Choose the Perfect Hotel for the Festivities.

Phelipe wearing glasses, a suit and a hat while smiling and standing outside in front of a city street.

Travel Advisor

Phelipe Cardoso Sekai

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Brazil.