- Location: On the southeastern coast of Rio de Janeiro state in Brazil
- Attraction type: Historic City
- Significance: A colonial port town with well preserved buildings and structures
- Best time to Visit: Throughout the year
- How to reach: By bus from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo
- Nearest International Airport: Rio de Janeiro International Airport
Paraty a historic port of the colonial times is an engrossing tourist attraction with waterfalls, forests, islands, cobble-stoned streets, and old churches. Along with Ouro Preto, Paraty in Brazil was part of the Royal Road used to transport gold from the interiors to the port. This well preserved Portuguese colonial town stretches along Rio De Janeiro State coastline and is actually a belt of verdant green vegetation. Paraty in Tupi language stands for ‘river of fish’ referring to the abundance of Brazilian Mullet in Bay of Paraty.
Paraty originally inhabited by Guaianas Indians was colonized by Portuguese settlers towards the end of the sixth decade of the 16th century. After the discovery of gold in the nearby Minas Gerais Mountains in 1696 the significance of Paraty town grew significantly. It was used as a port to transport gold to Rio de Janeiro and from thereon to Portugal. A 750 miles road was constructed between this port town to Diamantina also connecting Tiradentes and Ouro Preto. This stone paved ‘Gold Trail’ was used for transporting gold from the interiors to Paraty, and for transporting supplies, slaves and miners from Paraty to the mines.
After the construction of a safer road from Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro, the importance of Paraty declined. Moreover, with gold depleting fast Paraty lost its significance in the local economy. From 1822 to 1889 this Portuguese colonial town remained a Brazilian Imperial town.
Activities in Paraty
Paraty has something to offer for the historian, the naturalist, and also the adventurer. You might start your city tour with the ‘historic center’. The old colonial buildings lining the cobbled streets take you back to the times of gold trade. The old churches add to the glory of this historic town. From there proceed to the Perpetual Defender Fortress or ‘Forte Defensor Perpetuo’, an 18th-century fortress built to protect the town from pirates and British invaders. The Casa da Cultura is an illustrious cultural center. Nature lovers would be inspired by the Andorinhas and Pedra Branca waterfalls and the Ilha dos Meros Island.
The island of Ilha dos Meros is an excellent diving destination. The bay water offers thrilling opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking. A leisurely boat trip to the innumerable bay islands, mangroves, and beaches is invigorating. On land a trek along Gold Trail to Cunha is fascinating. This mountainous route through the rainforest also offers picturesque views of the surrounding regions. You could also laze on the beach for total relaxation.
In the evenings watch a performance in the Puppet Theater or chill out at the nightclubs or bars.
Staying in Paraty
For a vacation in Paraty, you could choose an accommodation either at the Historic Center or near the beaches. At the Historic Center you might opt among Pousada Porto Imperial, Pousada do Cais, Pousada Arte Urquijo, or Pousada Bromeliads. Near the beach, Geko Hostel & Pousada, Misti Chill, and Sereia do Mar are the notable places to put up.