After being in 2 big cities the respite of arriving in Partay was a very welcomed step back in time. I didnt really know what to expect from what was described as a ‘colonial’ town – I was kind of thinking of an old village with mostly churches and museums to visit. How wrong was I! Its insanely beautiful. This place gives a new meaning to ‘cobbled streets’, more like a load of uneven boulders thrown together. I swear if you look up from the path for a second you fall over. And try that carrying 13kg on your back – not a simple task. But it totally adds to the charm, its just so lovely. There’s also minimal vehicles on the roads (probably due to the afore mentioned reason), but lots of horses with carts. It makes me laugh now that when we arrived at the bus station we were trying to get an Uber!
We checked into our hostel which to be honest at first was a bit of a let down. Although it looked the part with music memorabilia all over the walls and a nice little roof terrace with a pool, it lacked atmosphere, and people – and they didnt play any music. Kind of false advertising!
We wandered back along the cobbles into the town to find somewhere to eat. There are loads of gorgeous little restaurants with tables out on the street and many of them have live music. All the windows are outlined in brightly coloured painted frames which reminded me of Spain (and probably Portugal which might make more sense!) and lining the streets are people selling hand made jewellery, clothes, ornaments, instruments and cakes. So many cakes! Being on a budget we couldnt afford the fancier places, so we ate in a por kilo restaurant, which is a buffet style restaurant where you pay for the weight of your plate, and they are really good value. The food was amazing and we paid about £15 between us for 2 loaded plates and a beer each!
On the way home we popped into Paraty 33, a cocktail bar which seems to be the towns most popular place for a party. It wasn’t so busy when we went as it was early but we sat looking out onto the street drinking a caipirnha and people watching while listening to the mellow guitar music.
Back at the hostel there was still no one about. We asked at the bar if they could make us a caipirnha but they had ran out of spirits (must have had been a busy night with all the guests they had staying there!) so we had a few beers on the roof terrace and listened to our own music.
We had been told by one of the staff at the hostel in São Paulo that there was a place close to Paraty called Trindade where there were nice beaches and some waterfalls and natural swimming pools where you could slide underneath the rocks into a sort of cave, which sounded quite adventurous. It was a 45 minute bus journey and there were some pretty steep hills where it seemed like the bus might start rolling back down, but we made it. Its a lovely little beach surrounded by green mountains with loads of little ‘bars’ (most of which are a plastic picnic table with a load of spirits layed out) and people cooking barbeques and playing music. It isn’t easy to find the trail up to the waterfalls, you need to follow the beach all the way arround to the right and you see a small sign and a really narrow path through the trees. Just keep following it up, even when it seems like you are just walking into wilderness, as its totally worth it! Luckily we met a guy who lived there who showed us where to go, as I dont think we would have found it otherwise. At the end of the trail you come to a small waterfall which you can go to the top of and this is where you can go under the rocks. Its a little scary and dark, (I made Scott go first of course!) but you just slip under a tiny waterfall into a small cave under the rock and its very cool!
Another great place to visit whilst in Paraty is Tobogà, which is also about 45 mins on the bus. Here there is another small waterfall which leads into a natural waterslide down a huge rock! This was so much fun, even if the water was painfully cold. It was so good I went down about 4 times even through its a little sore on your bum when your just in bikini bottoms! When we were there this guy helping people to go down but also showing off with some tricks. He was incredible, sliding down the rock whilst standing up as if he was snowboarding. He also then went on to do it blindfolded, whist skipping and jumping over other people, which was quite terrifying yet thrilling to watch!
Behind the bus stop to go back home there is a small cachaça factory and it was only R$5 (£1.20) for a short tour and tasting so we went in. Paraty is the second best place to get cachça in Brazil so we were keen to try. There was loads of different kinds from pure to flavoured liquors – safe to say we tried them all! (Not the corn one as that still gives me the fear!)
TRAVEL TIP – The bus to go to Tobogà is for Penha, but just tell the driver you want to go to Tobogà and he will tell you when to get off as its not really easy to see.
On our second day we decided to take a boat trip which stopped at a few of the little islands around Paraty. There was only 6 of us on the boat so it was lovely and relaxed. There was not a cloud in the sky and the views were seriously breathtaking. Leaving the bay there is green everywhere you look and in the distance the blue mountains look like a painting. We were taken to some isolated and empty beaches which was pure paradise. We snorkled in crystal clear water and saw some turtles. We also drank a good few caipirnhas as they were free! And we only paid R$60 each, which is about £15 so its was amazing value. Lying in the sun, taking in the stunning surroundings and sipping cocktails on a boat, thats pretty much my idea of heaven and definitely more of the glamour I had been imagining!
If you go to Brazil you have to visit Paraty. The organic beauty mixed with the old town charm make a perfect location for a few chilled days enjoying the natural attractions. If you have a bit more money to spend there are some gorgeous restaurants to eat in, and if you don’t, go to Fronteiras por kilo restaurant for a cheap and satisfying plateful.