Beautiful. Colonial. Quaint. Different?
Paraty is all of the above and so much more.
Paraty is the first place I visited when entering Brazil and it gave me such a different view of the country. Before visiting South America I had a lot of expectations of Brazil, as would many others I imagine. It is possibly the most well known country out of all South America, known for: tiny bikinis, attractive locals, fantastic sights and culture. We all know something about Rio, right? But let me tell you, Brazil has so much more to offer and Paraty is just a small piece of the magic.
Driving along the Brazilian coastline into Paraty is absolutely gorgeous. Driving on extreme winding roads capturing glimpse’s of the calm, crystal blue ocean between the trees on every bend and turn; it is absolutely stunning. As you enter Paraty it’s a very small, village feeling town with narrow cobbled streets, colourful buildings and a calm hustle of people. Yes, a calm hustle; it is a thing, and I love it. It has so much beauty and culture and it is a place where you will want to return to time and time again.
What did I do in Paraty?
Well, apart from photographing every street I turned on to, I ate great food! (Thai Brazil – GO! It is incredible), I went on a stunning boat tour, wandered the streets just admiring their beauty, partied in the street with the locals, and spent a lot of time mooching around the cute little shops!
It is set between beautiful rainforest and the clear blue ocean, and the buildings date back to the 17th and 18th century, so as you can imagine it is pretty stunning. The streets are quite the challenge to walk on. The streets are cobbled to stop cars from accessing the roads and the only “vehicles” you will see here are the horse and carts. Another fun fact is that at each full moon the streets will flood. I didn’t get to see the floods but just some pools of water left as remains and the reflections of the colourful buildings in the water. It is pretty beautiful. (How many times have I said beautiful in this description? Have I made my point? Ha ha!)
Each Monday the locals hold a Samba event; incredible. It is a non-profit organisation which was set up by the community to provide some entertainment to the quiet little town. Members of local bands grouped together to provide the music and song then they play non-stop all night to tourists and locals. The community all get together and dance Samba with one another, including professional dancers, and the local guy who has been practicing Samba for years and still doesn’t quite get the hang of it (the hosts words, not mine! Ha ha!!). For me though, he was my favourite… or was it the super cute professional male dancer? 😉 Toughie…
The group/ host/ locals were super friendly and wanted everyone to have the best time.
At the end of the night the host collects donations and this provides the weekly event with soup, food and water for the crowd. I honestly had the best night of my life here thanks to this organisation and the kindness of the community. The energy was amazing, the dancing was spectacular and the band were incredible. You can’t beat kindness, music, dance and laughter.
I don’t know if I have sold Paraty to you or not, but please, if you ever visit Brazil or South America you must check this place out. 2 days at least to get a feel for it, and try to be there on a Monday to experience the Samba party in the main square at around 8-9pm. Wonder the streets, watch sunset at the ocean, take a boat tour to neighbouring islands, snorkel the crystal waters, dance samba, eat great food and buy lots of local craft souvenir’s.