Paraty In Brazil, A Mystical Place

Brazil is much more than Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and other very popular places. Paraty is one of those little-known places, even though it has a truly mystical beauty.
Paraty in Brazil, a mystical place

Paraty is a place where the mountains rise covered in green by the jungle, in front of the crystal clear and warm waters of the bay. Despite being halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, it is a secret corner and difficult to find.

Its colonial-style beauty, the color of its houses and its streets, the extravagance of its jungle, the sea and its nightlife make it a truly special place. Perhaps that is why it was declared a World Heritage Site  by UNESCO in 2019.

Brief history of Paraty

Paraty is one of the oldest cities in Brazil. It is located on the western side of the State of Rio de Janeiro. It had its first settlements in 1533 and, a few years later, it became the most important port in the country.

Today it has about a million square kilometers and a population of close to 33,000 inhabitants. It stands out for its colonial architecture, which includes squares, a large number of churches, a pier and, of course, its homes.

Paraty was initially populated by the indigenous community of the Tamoios. These had clashes with the Portuguese, who came to invade their territory looking for gold. Its immense economic development was due to the sugar mills, where a brandy known as cachaça was also made , and to gold mining.

A good part of what were once mansions have been transformed into hotels, shops or restaurants that welcome visitors. With the abolition of slavery, the economy of Paraty collapsed, which produced a massive emigration of its inhabitants in search of better job opportunities.

Historic center of Paraty, a little-known city in Brazil.

The splendor of an era

During the colony, mobility was restricted and you could only follow the route of the royal roads; otherwise, the inhabitants became lawbreakers. The first public road of the Portuguese crown was known by the name of Caminho Velho .

This communicated Rio de Janeiro with Minas Gerais, and the gold cargoes exploited in the mines passed through there, in the direction of the port of Paraty. Such extraction was maintained for about four centuries. Part of the splendor of that time is reflected in the construction of squares and churches. Today, a section of that route is in the Sierra de Bocaina National Park.

Today’s Paraty

In the historic center of Paraty, the streets are cobbled and the houses white, with brightly colored window frames and doors. It is a true example of beautiful and well preserved architecture.

It has a culturally active environment, a bohemian atmosphere, and many places of interest to visit. During the rainy season it floods and mirages are formed with the colors of the houses. For this reason, it is also known as “the South American Venice.”

The Serra da Bocaina National Park is a spectacular place to come into direct contact with nature. It has idyllic landscapes, where the mountain jungle almost kisses with the sea.

In Brazil, Paraty offers landscapes that combine the jungle and the sea.

There are also the Praia do Sul Biological Reserve, the Isla Grande State Park and the Cairuçu Environmental Protection Area. Another alternative to visit is the archaeological complex of Paraty-Mirim, where there are several indigenous settlements.

On the other hand, there are beautiful crystalline waterfalls, among which the popular Tobogá, the Resbalón waterfall and the Pedra Branca waterfall stand out. From there you can visit Pan de Azúcar del Mamanguá, to have truly spectacular panoramic views.

Dream beaches

Among its many beaches, Praia Vermelha stands out, a place of white sands and a deep blue sea. There is also Trindade beach, very close to the Caixa D’aço natural pool, with landscapes that look like movie sets.

Additionally, there are Pontal beach, Jabaquara beach and Ponta Negra beach. Each one has particular characteristics, and in them you can navigate in local boats or practice water sports.

The nightlife of Paraty

For those who like nightlife, Paraty offers a large number of restaurants and spaces to dance and taste traditional drinks, such as caipirinha de cachaça or limão . In fact, in August the Cachaça Festival is celebrated.

Night bars in the Brazilian city of Paraty.

In addition, it is worth trying the shrimp moqueca , the typical food of the region and of indigenous origin. In the illuminated streets there are street stalls with all kinds of desserts to delight you.

Other events and places to enjoy

Since 2003, the Paraty International Literary Festival has been held in July . This literary festival, whose initials are FLIP, takes place in the historic center. The meeting brings together local writers and from the whole world.

Finally, in Paraty there is also an island called the Big Island, which has dream beaches. It is ideal to get away from the crowds and hustle and bustle. There are also about 200 islands that make up the archipelago of the bay. Paraty is definitely a site of mystical beauty and an undiscovered treasure.

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