Paraty (pronounced para-CHEE) is an open-air museum of Portuguese colonialism in Brazil. Wandering the cobblestone streets, visiting the art galleries and shops, and eating at one of the many good restaurants in town is well worth a visit for a day. Stick around for a few days and you’ll be rewarded with a sample of the natural beauty of the area, with day trips to visit waterfalls and beautiful beaches.
I arrived in Paraty using Easy Transfer. Transfers are available to and from Rio de Janeiro and Ilha Grande, with door-to-door pick-up and drop-off. It saved me a lot of time and money and I would highly recommend using their service. Otherwise, buses from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo arrive at the bus station near the old town.
Choices for accommodation are not limited – Paraty is loaded with lots of boutique hotels, hostels, and pousadas. Many are along the river and some are located within the old town. I stayed at the Chill Inn Hostel, located on Praia do Pontal. The hostel itself is good – it was clean, quiet, had a nice kitchen facility, wonderful staff, and the location was great. They also offered free pick-up from the bus station, a free drink upon arrival, and breakfast on the beach every morning. The only problem I had was with the wifi. It rarely worked and was the slowest I had ever encountered in a hostel. They were better off not having Internet access at all. Also, the beach is not swimmable due to pollution.
One of the best things about Paraty is the quality of food. I’ve listed several restaurants on the map below. Pizzaria da Cidade has great pizza and offers pasta dishes. At Sarau, I ate a great filet mignon with bleu cheese sauce. Vitorianis has decent risotto dishes. Paraty33 is simpler fare with live music but still decent – I tried the chicken stroganoff.
Istanbul, near the bus station, was a nice quick Turkish lunch while waiting for the bus, although it wasn’t as authentic as it could have been.
Thai Brasil and Thai Paraty are two very good Thai restaurants. They were my favorite restaurants in Paraty overall. The Pad Thai at Thai Paraty was amazing, while Thai Brasil also has a good selection of drinks – try the Jorge Amado – passionfruit with gabriela (a liquor with a cinnamon taste). A lot of the restaurants in town provide a good bar atmosphere at night with live music.