Paraty is a beautiful town in the state of Rio de Janeiro. It’s a great place to visit from either Rio or Sao Paulo. I chose to visit Paraty for five days because I wanted to explore the beaches, walking trails and boat rides. Basically here you can enjoy days spent on the beach with perfect sand and water, plenty of sunshine and walks in the historic city center.
The colonial center was founded in 1667 and then established as a National Historic Site in 1966. The history of Paraty is fascinating and the surrounding landscapes are stunning. The highlights from my visit to Paraty were the beaches with blue and green water, and walking around the historic center where I could eat fish, explore little stores and enjoy the culture.
Paraty has amazing cobblestone pedestrian streets that are lined with white buildings, all adorned with colorful touches of blue and yellow. After walking around the streets several times you will want to explore the paradise that surrounds the city – everything from idyllic beaches to lush green rainforests. So with that in mind, here are the top 5 things to do.
5 Best Things To Do in Paraty
1. Walk the Trail to Praia do Sono
Praia do Sono was my favorite place in all of Paraty and so it’s no surprise that this beach is my number one recommendation. Sono is an untouched paradise with crystal-clear waters and perfect sandy shores. There is a small fishing village there with a couple of great restaurants too, so you can stay there all day and enjoy a delicious lunch on your break from the beach.
The trail to Praia do Sono starts at Laranjeiras village and takes one hour and 30 minutes. Driving from Paraty to Laranjeiras village takes about 40 minutes. If you want to walk to the beach and then catch the boat back (or vice versa), there is a boat you can take to and from Laranjeiras village which only takes 10 minutes. I suggest doing the walk at least one of the ways because the jungle landscape you navigate through is incredible!
2. Enjoy a Dip at Piscina do Cachadaco
Walk for 20 minutes along a trail from Trindade village and you will arrive at these stunning natural pools called Piscina do Cachadaco. The shallow pools (no deeper than one meter) are surrounded by large rocks and a beautiful oasis-like setting. You can relax here for the day and go swimming, and bring your snorkel to search for marine life in the area.
Trindade is located 24km from the historic center of Paraty so you can easily drive there if you have your own car rental, or you can book a private driver to take you there or jump on the local bus. The bus rides are quite cheap and might be the best option if you are traveling on a tight budget.
3. Take a Boat Ride to Saco da Velha
Saco da Velha is only accessible by boat but the journey to get there is totally worth doing. Upon arrival you will be greeted with a paradisiacal cove that is surrounded by lush green forest and a small beach with beautifully calm waters. This is a wonderful place to spend the day relaxing at the beach, swimming and diving between the rocks, and enjoying a drink at the bar (there is a bar between the rocks that serves drinks).
4. Book a Private Boat Trip to Visit the Islands
Visiting the islands around Paraty is best done by booking a private boat trip. This way you can discover these destinations without being crammed in with too many people on a crowded tour. The beaches and islands scattered around Paraty are amazing, and the fresh fish available to eat both on board the boats and at the beach kiosks are delicious!
The best islands include Pescaria island with its fantastic snorkeling opportunities, Mantimento island which is home to some unique wildlife such as monkeys and dolphins, and Cocos island for its stunning coconut tree lined beaches and lovely waters. You can talk to the boat tour captain to organize your route and get tips on the best places to visit.
5. Have Dinner at the Historic Center of Paraty
There are some awesome stores, restaurants and “bars” within the historic center. At night you can walk along the cobblestone streets and find live music. But first find a good place to eat and then you can crack on with a few drinks and festivities into the night. Paraty is famous for its artists, writers and chefs living here who all bring so much flavor to the town.
Final Tips for your Visit to Paraty
- Make a list of all the beaches and islands that you want to visit while staying in Paraty. You can visit one or two of them per day.
- Bring an umbrella with you because it rains here a lot. But don’t worry, the rain tends to only last a short while and the sun will come out again.
- There are many different boat rides and tours to choose from. Make sure you choose the boat tours that go to the beaches you have chosen.
- You can choose to book a hotel, hostel or airbnb in Paraty. If you don’t have a car, it’s better to stay at a central place because there is no Uber.
- You can arrive in Paraty by car or bus from Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. My recommendation is to arrive in Rio de Janeiro by airplane and then rent a car there to drive to Paraty. Once you are in Paraty with your own car it will be easy to drive to the nearby towns and get around the town.