While visiting Paraty, the attraction is the old town itself. There are no must-sees and must-dos. Just walking up and down the cobblestone streets past colorful colonial buildings is enough to satisfy your senses. But watch your step! It’s easy to slip off the stones or get your feet caught between them.
Paraty is a very romantic place to wander around, and a horse drawn carriage ride could really capture the moment.
A walk along the Rio Perequê-açu can give some unique perspectives of town. You’ll also catch a glimpse of some very colorful wooden boats moored along the sides, some available for hire.
One of the most interesting things about Paraty is how the streets nearest to the sea are flooded during high tide. Make it a point to get up early to witness this phenomenon.
The most prominent buildings in Paraty are the churches. They also tell an interesting story about the class system during Portuguese rule. Nossa Senhora das Dores, a small church located on the waterfront, was the aristocratic church of colonial Paraty. It was built in 1800.
Near the marina is Santa Rita de Cássia. The oldest church in Paraty, built in 1722, it was used by people considered not white enough to attend the aristocratic church.
Next to Santa Rita de Cássia is the Casa de Cadeia. It’s a small structure that served as Paraty’s prison until 1890. It was built in the 18th century and now serves as a library. I was unable to visit.
In the middle of town is a small church, Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito. It was used by the town’s slave population and was built in 1725.
The largest church in town serves as the old town’s main church. It was also the only one I was able to visit. Igreja Matriz de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios took over 100 years to built and was completed in 1873. A BRA$3 admission is charged to visit, but it’s worth taking a look. The church sits on Praça da Matriz.
To the west of the historic part of town is Praça do Chafariz. This is the boundary of the old town and modern town. Near this plaza, you’ll find lots of tour offices selling boat tours, trips to the waterfalls, and trips to Trindade.