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Paraty, Brazil’s Historical Gem

Horse and cart in Cuba

Perfectly described by Lonely Planet as a town “set amid jutting peninsulas and secluded beaches, with a backdrop of steep, jungled mountains plunging into an island-studded bay, Paraty is one of Brazil’s most appealing and exquisitely preserved historical gems”. This stunning little town is rich in history and is kept perfectly clean and has only been re painted since its development in the early 1900’s.

Schooner Boar Trip

Our first activity for this scenic little town was to explore it by boat. So we headed out on a “Schooner boat tour“. We departed from the colonial harbour at Paraty for a scenic ride into the Paraty Bay, on a stunning old wooden vessel and their friendly crew. We stopped along the way at several of the most beautiful beaches and islands in the bay of Paraty, all surrounded by dense rainforest. We took advantage of these pristine natural wonders to go for a refreshing swim, snorkel among colourful tropical fish and sunbathed on some incredible private beaches. The crew even had a chef and made us a fresh seafood dish for lunch on board as we harboured in a tiny bay and enjoyed the view.

Snorkelling Paraty

It was awesome, as the boats fits 50 people and we were luckily enough to choose a 30 degree sunny day and there were only 6 of us on board! So we were able to climb all over the boat as it sailed and meet some great Brazilians who were on board with us.

Two of the three nights we spent in Paraty we headed to the local bars, and notably one called Van Gogh bar (the most popular in town). We were treated to traditional “Samba” music, which involves a seven-person band (guitar, saxophone, drums, maracas, keyboard, etc.) and after a few drinks worked up the confidence to get amongst the locals and trip over ourselves, was very funny.

Penha Waterslide, Paraty

On our final day, we took a “Jeep” tour and headed into the rainforest to visit Paraty’s beautiful waterfalls and the Cachaça distillery for a tasting tour. Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugar-cane juice. It is the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil, so it was great to learn about its manufacturing! After a few shots, we headed to some amazing waterfalls, and got to bring out our inner wild child with some local activities. In the photos you will see some of the waterfall rapids we went down. After working up the confidence, we walked up to the top of waterfall and look down to a 40m slope into a deep pool of water at the bottom. The scary this is that on the other side of the short pool of water at the end is a couple of massive rocks, so if you go too far who knows what could happen haha! So after convincing myself to do it, I sat at the top and two Brazilians grabbed me, rocked me forward, and threw me down the slop. It was absolutely exhilarating and I worked my way (unintentionally) to a large rock surface at the end and got massive air and plunged straight into the pool – was AWESOME fun!

Woman on a natural rock slide

Once at the bottom, I yelled out to Elise who was a scared little chicken and was refusing to do it. After some convincing by the locals, and seeing me come out alive at the other end, she worked up the courage and headed down. It was one of the funniest things I have witnessed as when she was halfway down the slope, the pace of the water in the rapids flung her body 180 degrees and she began plummeting backwards down the slopes. She was completely petrified whilst we all sat there pissing ourselves! Her face at the end was absolutely gold, and the great thing is I got it all on camera! But, bravo to elise – I’m beginning to work her out of her comfort zone a little!

Our final evening in Paraty, Brazil, was spent like the locals do, with a bottle of Argentinian red at a local restaurant in the cobblestone streets, where the table constantly rocks due to the unevenness, a delicious woodfire pizza and a local acoustic singer belting out Brazilian classics.

Off to Sao Paulo – we have heard very mixed things so it will be quite interesting!

Source: Sam Cust Blog

Sam and Elise travelled on Bamba Experience Hop-on Hop-off Pass from Rio de Janeiro to Cuzco, do not waste time, follow their example and discover some of South America most amazing landmarks:

Paulo Coelho Ways (from Rio)