All of the tour companies in Paraty will offer jeep trips to waterfalls located in Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina. I highly recommend it – it’s a fun and relaxing day at a decent price of BRA$70. Lunch is not included, but admission to all the sites is.
I was picked up in the jeep at my hostel around 10am. We drove around and picked up a few more people from a small G Adventures group. There were only five of us on the tour. We then made a quick stop at a greenhouse to see some local flowers, plants, and trees.
Next, we took a ride to our first waterfall, Pedra Branca. We stayed there for about 45 minutes, climbing on the rocks and relaxing by the falls.
Then we made a stop at the Paratiana cachaça distillery. Cachaça is an alcohol made from fermented sugarcane juice. We were given a tour of the facility and an explanation of how the cachaça is made, then tried a few samples.
We had a two hour stop at Vila Verde for a very good lunch and a short hike for some swimming in an ice cold river. There was a surprisingly strong current in the river – strong enough that I was able to swim in place!
After warming up in the sun, we got back on the jeep and headed to the village of Penha. As soon as we got out of the jeep, we were amazed by the green hills surrounding the village. Everyone loved the small church on a large rock next to the road.
At Penha was the most enjoyable part of the waterfall tour, Cachoeira do Tobogã. This is a natural water slide. You’re supposed to sit down and slide down into the plunge pool, but one man was doing tricks on his feet. He even slid down and jumped rope at the same time! Nobody could believe the sense of balance that he possessed. We later found out he was a famous local surfer.
Behind the slide is a natural pool, Poço do Tarzã (Tarzan’s Well). For the brave, there is a high rock to jump from. The G Adventures guide on our tour, Ben, did the jump – twice!
We were treated to a tour at one more cachaça distillery, Engenho D’Ouro, just across the street from the entrance to Cachoeira do Tobogã. It wasn’t nearly as good as Paratiana.
The tour finished and we were all taken back to Paraty. I was invited to join the G Adventures group for dinner. After dinner, we went to a bar in town with surfboards for tables and very cheap caipirinhas. I don’t remember the name of the place, but it had a sign “Happy Two Hours” on the outside. A tango guitarist from Argentina, Juan Domingo, showed up and entertained us for a few hours. He played the Zorba dance and my new friends encouraged me to get up and dance. The great day ended up being a fun night as well.