Paraty tours: everything that you need to know!
Paraty is a unforgettable city and to plan a trip, it’s not always easy… If you don’t know how to start, in this post we have the best tips for you set your trip and don’t miss anything!
A walk in the historical center
The Paraty’s Historical Center is the most charming place in town. The streets made by stones, sometimes look impossible to walk, and the colonial houses seems like a time travel back to the Brazilian colonial times. It’s impossible to take just one picture! Inside the historical center, we have 33 streets and a lot of options to discovery everything about the local history and culture.
Santa Rita’s Church: You have to visit this place! This church is the postcard of Paraty and a Art religious Museum, basically all the souvenirs that we can find in the city have the Santa Rita’s Church silhouette (from key chains until oil paintings!). It’s the oldest church on the historical center from 18th century, it looks very simple if you compare other churches from Minas Gerais, for example, but it has its own charm.
Tuesday from Sunday: 9am – 12am / 14pm – 17pm. Tickets R$4.
Livraria das Marés: One of my favorite places! It’s a lovely bookshop with amazing books about Paraty’s history and other themes. Besides that, it has a coffee shop inside the place, where you can enjoy a break after a long walk or stop for reading. Don’t forget to try the deserts!
Street Tenente Francisco Antônio, 72 – 10am às 22pm.
Casa de Cultura de Paraty: It’s a beautiful old house that today is a museum. All the exhibitions show something about the caiçaras artists (native people from Paraty) or artist from other places that lived in Paraty. Casa de Cultura offers art and music classes and workshops for locals. A tip! Casa de Cultura is a good option to visit before dinner because it stays open until 21pm. Sometimes it’s very comom happen concerts or plays for free.
Tuesdays from Saturdays, 12am to 9pm. Sunday, 4pm to 8pm. Free entrance.
Free Walker Tour: During our 2 hour tour, you will discover the most excited history of Paraty and all the important tips! It’s ideal that you choose your first day to do the walking tour to know better the curiosities about this place. Paraty Free Walking Tour is based on tips and you contribute when the tour ends. Our meeting point is at the Main Square next to the Main Church, Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. We have tours every day, except on Wednesdays, 10:30 and 5pm! We’ll be waiting for you!
Studios, Souvenir shops and “Cachaçarias”: Walking in the streets of Paraty, we see a lot of culture and art! Besides museums, we have galleries, studios and street artists showing some paintings and photographs of Paraty, native American crafts and some colourful little ballons and boats made of wood. We have other thing that’s really famous in Paraty: cachaça! The cachaça is a alcohol liquor made by sugarcane that we prepare Caipirinhas and other drinks… But in Paraty, we have one that’s tradicional: Gabriela cachaça with cinnamon and clove. It’s amazing and impossible to drink just one shot! A lot of places, the “cachaçarias”, sell Gabriela in the historical center.
EXTRA – Teatro Espaço – This is a tip for you that going to spend the weekend in Paraty. Teatro Espaço is a Theater and since 1985 it offers several plays and exhibitions. Nowadays the currently play is puppet show for adults showing different stories. It takes around 1 hour, and don’t worry because this play is based on movement of the puppets, “they” don’t speak so you can understand everything!
Rua Dona Geralda, 42 (next to the Igreja de Santa Rita) – (24) 33711161.
One of the most traditional things to do in Paraty is the boat tour. A lot of agencies offer this service, normally leaving 10:30 or 11am from the Port. The boat tours have already a itinerary and it takes the hole day (normally, it offers lunch included).
In our post about Beaches and Islands of Paraty, we talked about the most famous stops made by Boat Tours. It’s possible also rent for few hours little boats that stay next to the Santa Rita’s Church. This is a tip for somebody that look for some privacy, like couples or families. With this boats, you can customize your itinerary like one specific island or beach, or just stop to diving.
Royal Road of Paraty
It’s impossible to explain the History of Brazil without mentioning Paraty. The city was one of the main ports during the colonial times and 19th century following all the economical cycles of Brazil: sugar, gold, coffee and slave trade. Until today, the city has a traditional and internationally famous production of cachaça. Every year, we win a lot of awards!
But during our golden rush, Paraty became very important because the portuguese built one road to connect the gold mines to the sea. We have two Royal Roads: Old road, from Minas Gerais state until Paraty; New road, from Minas Gerais until Rio de Janeiro.
The Old Road, or Royal Road of Paraty, is the largest touristic route in Brasil and it cross three different states: Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This journey takes 8 days by car or 48 days hiking! 710 kilometers total!
Some agencies offers one hike on the Royal Road in Paraty that takes around 3 hours. We recommend a professional tour guide for this one, because you’ll pass through some private properties and a federal park. During the hike you’ll see the best of Atlantic Forest.
One curiosity tip! During all the way of the Royal Road, totems marks indicating which city you are. The Paraty’s mark stays at the Roberto Silveira Avenue, next to the Lojas Americanas store and it shows that you are at the final destination.
Beaches of Paraty
The beaches in Paraty are really special because mix the Atlantic Forest and a crystalline sea. Er have a lot of options and it’s impossible to choose just one! There are some beaches with a easy access by car, bus or even by foot. But, there are some others that it’s only possible to access by hike, like Praia do Sono beach.
The most visit places are:
Trindade – next to the Trindade village, we have four famous beaches: Fora, Meio, Cachadaço and Piscina Natural do Cachadaço (it’s a natural pool). The last two beaches, it’s only possible go by hike and it’s going to take around 20 minutes each. If you want to visit the Natural Pool, you have to bring some food and water with you because this beach doesn’t have kiosks near by.
Praia do Sono – You have to take a bus to the Laranjeiras neighborhood and then one hike that takes around 1 hour. Some locals offer to cross you by boat and you can escape the hike. Tourists love this beach so much, that sometimes people spend a weekend camping there!
São Gonçalo – You can go by car or by bus and when you arrive there, you have to cross a small river. But don’t worry! Because the level of the water is very low. This one is very amazing, and if you want, you can go to two islands, Cedro and Pelado, from there.
Save a full day to visit this beaches!
Besides that, we have two beaches with a easy access from historical center, but we don’t recommend to swim. Pontal and Jabaquara beaches are located inside the Paraty’s bay. I always like to go there to have a break after a long walk or to watch the sunset. And there is a lot of options to have a nice and typical food or drinks.
In our post about the Beaches of Paraty, we explain everything about the most incredible places by car, bus or boat!
Waterfalls of Paraty
Besides the beaches, Paraty has amazing waterfalls. A lot of tourism agencies offer the Jeep Tour. It’s a full day tour that you going to visit the waterfalls and the distilleries of cachaça. It’s one of the most fun things to do in Paraty. I loved it!
Like the boat tours, the Jeep Tours have predetermined stops. Normally, the pick-up is around 10am or 11am and it’s a full day tour. The most visited distilleries are Engenho d’Ouro, Paratiana and Pedra Branca. Some distilleries give a little tour inside to show you how cachaça is make and then you can prove some types of cachaça. Every distilleries have there own singularity, my favorites are: Azulzinha from Engenho d’Ouro and Labareda from Paratiana (but this one is a limited edition and it depends the season).
The most famous waterfalls are in Paraty-Cunha road. Cachoeira do Tobogã is mandatory stop in the Jeep Tour. It’s a natural toboggan run and very close to this place, we have the Poço do Tarzan that looks like natural pool among rocks. Normally, this is the stop to have lunch. Tobogã and Poço do Tarzan are in Penha neighborhood and if you want to go by car, you only have to get Paraty-Cunha road next to the Penha’s Church.
Other place that’s really special is Pedra Branca Waterfall, very close to the Pedra Branca distillery. To go there it’s just to access the Paraty-Cunha road until the Ponte Branca. You have to pay R$5 (five reais) to visit and it worth it! Next to this place, there is another good stop: Poço do Inglês. it’s natural pool perfect for summer days. In this waterfalls, we have a rope for brave tourists that want to jump into the water like Tarzan!
One unknown stop is Poço da Jamaica. If you want to visit, just take the Paraty-Cunha road until 7km and then a little hike to access the waterfall. The locals love this place!
How can you organize your trip?
We gave you so many options, right? So, normally the travelers stay around 3 or 4 days in Paraty and they separate the tours like this: Full day tours and Half day tours.
Day 1 – Hike at the Royal Road and Free Walking Tourists
Day 2 – Trindade or Praia do Sono
Day 3 – Boat Tour
Day 4 – Jeep Tour
Day 1 – São Gonçalo Beach and Free Walking Tour
Day 2 – Jeep Tour and Teatro Espaço (theater)
Day 3 – Boat Tour
You can mix all the tips on this post and organize your own trip. To discover curiosities about Paraty, don’t forget to do Paraty Free Walking Tour.