After the intense hustle and bustle of São Paulo, it was time to take things down a few notches and spend a few days in the charming colonial town of Paraty. A favourite of well-to-do Brazilian tourists from São Paulo and Rio, we arrived on the weekend to a buzzing and picturesque village, set amidst gorgeous greenery and emerald seas.


After spending the afternoon wandering and soaking up the cuteness of the town (plus trying not to break various bones navigating the crazy cobblestone rocks – beautiful but so hard to walk on!) we decided to scope out a spot for people watching, snacking and most importantly, drinking.

We went to Cachaçaria Cana de Praca, located on the main square, courtesy of Jack’s research. We sipped Brazil’s national drink – Caipirinhas – a deadly combination of cachaça, sugar, and lime. Seriously that’s it. After approximately two drinks we were done for, despite eating some amazing Bolhinos do Bacalao. If you visit Brazil seek these out – and remember the Portuguese word for them. They are nearly always described in horrifying terms in English, one example that we saw was “Cod Cookie”. Ew.

The next day after sleeping off the cachaça from the night before, and accepting we were not yet accustomed to the ratios found in Brazilian caipirinhas, we did some more exploring of the Centro Historico of Paraty. The sun came out and really put on a show, making it easy to wander around enjoying the gorgeous scenery.

History of Paraty

Paraty has had a number of different incarnations in its history, beginning with being the favoured shipping port during a boom in gold in the Minais Gerais mountains, hence its gorgeous decorative buildings.

After the gold boom began to thin out, coffee production took over as the main production and export of Paraty.

Finally, cachaça production became big business in Paraty, and it is still recognised today as a major producer of artisanal versions of the popular spirit. There are many stores in the Centro Historico which feature locally made cachaça, and other delicious looking handmade products.

When to go

We visited Paraty during mid-April which was lovely and is during the dry season. During the weekend there was a moderate amount of tourists, and there were even less come Monday. I would not recommend coming to Paraty during Brazilian holidays (Carnaval, Semana Santa etc) unless you love big crowds!

What to eat

There are lots of options in Paraty, try some Brazilian classics like bolhinos do bacalao (fried fish balls), pasteis (fried pastry with various fillings), or even pizza, which is done really well in Brazil! Take a phone with the capability to translate a menu because they sometimes do not include English.

How to get there

You will need to get here by bus, from either São Paulo (6 hours) or Rio De Janeiro (4 hours) or one of the smaller towns dotted along the coast such as Angra dos Reis, if you are coming from Ilha Grande. The Paraty bus station is very close to the Centro Historico and most pousadas. You can grab a taxi or Uber from the station if you have heavy luggage, but the distances are not far. Once in town you can pretty much stroll everywhere that you need to go.

Where to stay

Try to stay close to the Centro Historico of Paraty (the yellow shaded bit on Google Maps), but I would recommend not actually staying in it because it’s roped off to traffic which can make it a real mission to get in and out if you have wheeled luggage (huge cobblestones + wheels = NO!). There are tons of well-priced pousadas around.


We found the ATMs in Paraty very temperamental which led to a situation where we ran out of cash! We’re still not sure if that was due to the ATM literally being out of cash (it was Sunday night and local people seemed to be having problems too) or if it just didn’t like our cards. There aren’t really many cambios (money exchangers) in town either. Try and bring sufficient cash with you – some places also accept cards.

Overall Paraty town was a charming and scenic location to spend a few days. There are many more things to do in the area as well, such as island hopping and waterfall exploring. It is also the perfect place to break up the rather long bus trip between São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro if you are visiting both. Check out Paraty: Sea for the next part of our time in Paraty!

Have you been to Paraty, or would you like to go? Tell us about it!

I’m Stephanie and this year I’m taking a break from life in Australia. I’m traveling South, Central and North America, learning Spanish, eating tacos and seeking out amazing swimming spots. When I’m taking time out from that hectic schedule I like to write, read and relax – and pat cute street animals that I really shouldn’t. I probably wrote most of what you’re reading from my hammock and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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