What to do in Paraty – The must-see places!
What to do in Paraty? Every day tourists ask us for tips of the best things to do in our tours! For us, who are passionate about the city and tell its history with so much love, it’s difficult to choose. If you don’t have much time in the city, be sure to learn some of the history behind these beautiful colonial houses! Did you take at least a week to relax in Paraty? Great, you won’t be short of options of what to do and different places to visit!
Of course you can walk by the Historic Center in just 1 hour, however there is so much nature around the city that for sure, after reading a little more about them, you will want to extend your stay. It is no wonder, despite being small, Paraty is the seventh city of Brazil in number of tourists.
Check below the historical and cultural options, beaches, boat trips, waterfalls and must-see restaurants (Paraty is also a gastronomic reference) so you can make the most of what Paraty has to offer!
What to do in Paraty? Historical and cultural options
1. Get to know the Historic Center on the Free Walking Tour in Paraty
Unless you come here exclusively to enjoy the beaches or don’t take much interest in the colonial buildings that are the postcard of the city, YOU NEED TO COME TO THIS TOUR. Paraty is called by some the “Sleeping Beauty”¸ because the city becomes EVEN MORE charming and interesting after discovering some of the history and symbols hidden behind the buildings.
With Paraty Free Walking tour you will get to know the history in a fun, interactive and relaxed way with people who are passionate about their work and still give you the best tips for you to enjoy Paraty. The best of the tour? The value! We do our best and with much love and in the end, if you like it, you decide how much it cost! No minimum or maximum! No reservation required! Just show up at the 10:30 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. meeting and look for our red T-shirt staff. The tour takes approximately 2 hours. More information on the link below:
2. Experience Capoeira: The Art of Resistance
Most likely, since you are planning to travel through Brazil, you have heard about this. Some people consider it a sport, others a martial art, but people from abroad generally believe it to be a dance.
The truth is that Capoeira is a very complex expression that puts together all of the above through the Brazilian culture as a symbol of resistance, freedom and community
In Paraty, you can experience this Capoeira workshop that will take you to the very place in which enslaved people used to practice this type of expressions where you will have fun while learning its history, basic reactions, movements, music, to sing in Portuguese and overall how today is the foremost Afro-Brazilian cultural expression recognized as UNESCO’s world heritage.
The Capoeira Workshop happens every Saturday at 15:00 and you can find details about pricing and how to book by clicking on the link below:
3. Visit Defensor do Perpétuo Fort
When Paraty was built, there were many pirate invasions in Brazil. To prevent invasions and gold theft, the village of Paraty was strategically built at the end of a bay, making the access difficult to ensure the protection of the city. At the entrance of the bay the Defensor do Perpétuo Fort was built to watch over all the ships that arrived there.
The fort is still standing, but our job is to be honest with all of you. DON’T EXPECT THE FORT TO BE A GIANT STRUCTURE. It is a small isolated building, very similar to the colonial houses of the historical center. BUT WHY DO WE PUT THE FORT IN OUR LIST? For the cannons you will see and MAINLY for the amazing view of the bay! Of course, it is important to visit on a sunny day!
4. Visit the House of Culture
Located in the Historic Center, the cultural house is the most important cultural center of the city, which receives, in most cases, exhibitions of artists who live in Paraty. On the second floor of the House of Culture you can go to the balcony and see the colonial houses from above!
The visit is quick (of course it depends on the exhibition, but you will not take much more than 30 min) and the Center is open every day, except Mondays, until 10pm! The recommendation is to visit the place in the evening, since Paraty has beautiful beaches and waterfalls that can only be visited during the day!
5. Watch the Puppet Theater at Teatro Espaço
Teatro Espaço is located at the Historic Center of Paraty and it is known worldwide for the dolls theater! Important newspapers like the New York Times have written about the show! And it’s really worth it, the presentations will amaze anyone, of any age! The staging takes place every Wednesday and Saturday at 9pm! We recommend you book in advance.
What to do in Paraty? Boat ride
Surely this is a must-see tour, and no wonder the most popular! The Costa Verde Bay has 365 islands (that’s right, one for each day of the year). The tours usually stop at four different places between islands and secluded beaches, only accessible by boat. The beaches have crystal clear water and the nature is incredible!
There are different prices (from $ 60.00 to $ 300.00) for boat trips. Everything will depend on the comfort you want, how luxurious the boat will be and how many people will share the trip with you. Also if you want to have fun and relax while you visit the islands, there are caipirinha open bar boats throughout the tour. It is not difficult to find agencies, just walk along the main avenue (Av Roberto Silveira) and you will see several of them. Most of the boats leave around 11am and return around 4pm.
What to do in Paraty? Beaches
Paraty is also well known for its paradisiacal beaches! I consider this part between Rio and São Paulo one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The beaches are wonderful and the nature around them is stunning. It is no wonder that many foreigners (especially Europeans) come here to enjoy a beach on their visit to Brazil.
My favorite beach in Paraty is Saco do Mamanguá.
Saco do Mamanguá is located near the beach in Paraty Mirim. It is like an arm of the sea, surrounded by mountains and, at the foot of these mountains, several paradisiacal beaches are located (also known as the Brazilian Fjords). Every time I went to Saco do Mamanguá I saw turtles on the way. To get there it is necessary to take a boat that leaves the village of Paraty Mirim (long trails are also possible for adventurers). In Saco do Mamanguá is located Pico do Pão de Açúcar, which has one of the most incredible sights I have ever seen.
Another place you MUST know is the famous Trindade Village! The path to get here, in the middle of the mountains, leaves anyone in awe! The village has three beaches, one accessible only by trail or boat and the famous natural pool of Cachadaço, also accessible only by trail or boat!
For the more adventurous and nature lovers, Sono beach will leave you amazed. The beach (accessible only by boat or trail), has a lush nature! Do not bother to take an umbrella, as the trees at the edge of the beach will make a natural shade and you will enjoy it.
If you have the time and want to stay near the Historic Center, I recommend you get to know Pontal Beach and Jabaquara Beach. The dock is full of kiosks where you can have a coconut water and admire the beautiful view of the bay. The bath here is not recommended, the waters are considered dirty. Already Jabaquara, despite the view a little less privileged, has calm and clean waters, where it is possible to rent a stand-up or kayak or just swim in the beach. See more here about Praia Jabaquara Paraty
You can check out more details of the wonderful beaches of Paraty in our post beaches in Paraty: tips and information you need to know
What to do in Paraty? Trails
There are numerous trail options that end at a paradise beach, natural pools or incredible waterfalls in the city. It is certainly difficult to choose one, as each one has its special point.
If you want a light trail and like to see small fish on the seabed, surely you need to make the trail to the natural pool of Cachadaço in Trindade Village! Now, if you enjoy isolated beaches, with very few people and an exuberant nature and is willing to face a mid-level track, it is undoubtedly worth making the trail to Sono Beach and continue to Antigos and Antiguinhos.
But if you’d rather mix a bit of history with waterfalls and stills on a medium difficulty track, it’s worth knowing the path of gold. Lastly, if you want one of the most incredible views of your life, in a bay surrounded by mountains and secluded beaches, you need to hike to the Sugar Loaf peak (yes, Paraty also has a Sugar Loaf), located in Saco do Mamanguá.
In our post Paraty trails you will find more detail of each of these trails!
What to do in Paraty? Getting to know the waterfalls
Due to the privileged location, surrounded by mountains, rivers and some geographical features, Paraty has countless waterfalls! But I warn you to get ready: the water is super cold, but at least it washes the soul hahaha !! The two most famous waterfalls in the city are Pedra do Tobogã and Poço do Tarzan.
I highlight Tobogã, where the main attraction is the water flowing on a smooth stone, forming a large toboggan, in which you can slide until you fall in a natural pool! It’s pure fun! Jeep tours, very popular in Paraty, usually visit this attraction.
In addition to these two famous waterfalls, others with a slightly more difficult access also stand out in the city as the Well of the Cajaíba, Graúna and Chuveiro Waterfall (in Trindade).
What to do in Paraty? Eat in one of the wonderful restaurants in Historic Downtown!
This is for sure the most delicious part of the post! Hahahaha! Paraty is also known as a gastronomic hotspot and it is difficult to select only one or two restaurants at the historic center. You can spend a whole weekend in the city just eating… Hahaha!
My favorite restaurant in Paraty is Banana da Terra! Certainly one of the best fish I’ve ever eaten in my life was there. But be prepared, this is one of the most expensive (if not the most expensive) restaurant in town! The amount per person is usually over R $ 100.00. So if you want a cheaper alternative, but still with wonderful dishes, Vinicius de Morais is a good alternative! My suggestion is the fish with passion fruit! In addition to Vinicius de Morais, Celeiro Armazém Tropical offers wonderful dishes at R $ 30.00.
Want to eat a delicious moqueca? Arpoador has the best moqueca in town! And how about trying some Thai food? Thai Brasil is one of the best Thai restaurants in Brazil! However, if you want to try the most typical dish of the city (fish with banana) the recommendation is for you to eat at Galeria do Engenho! The restaurant has great value for money!
Vegetarian? Vinicius de Morais also has great vegetarian options on the menu.
Anyone else besides me got hungry after reading this?
Extra Tips for Paraty
- Take a Jorge Amado: Paraty has a typical drink invented in the city called Jorge Amado (this is one of my favorite drinks of all I’ve ever tried !!). It is made with a cachaça from the city called Gabriela. Gabriela is made with cloves and cinnamon and has a very sweet flavor. Jorge Amado mixes the cachaça Gabriela, lemon and passion fruit. You can’t miss!! If you don’t try a Jorge Amado you can’t say you went to Paraty …
- Visit an Alambique: Paraty is known all over Brazil for its artisanal cachaças and award-winning Alambiques. It is possible to visit these Alambiques and understand a little better about the production of cachaça! Well worth it. Some Alambiques visits are included in the jeep ride to the waterfalls.
- Do not wear high heels (for us women!): It will be impossible for you to enjoy any of these activities in heels! The historic center pavement is made of irregular stones, impossible to walk in high heels. The best advice is to wear comfortable sneakers so that the foot does not get dirty.
“Rainy weather?” Take a look at our post on what to do in Paraty with rain to enjoy the city on cloudy days.