Paraty, Brazil: Ultimate Planning Guide

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The historic city of Paraty, Brazil in one of the best-preserved examples of a colonial settlement in the country, with wonderful cobblestone streets, Portuguese style architecture and a beautiful setting on the coast.

The city has a wide range of historic sights to see and it’s a great place to visit to see an alternative side of Brazil, away from the beaches and the bustling cities which are found nearby.

That being said, there are some great hiking opportunities here, along with old, refurbished colonial pathways that used to act as the highway for gold being sent back to Europe.

To inspire you to visit this ramshackle colonial city, here’s our guide to traveling to Paraty, Brazil.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Brazil (Travel Guide)


Ultimate Paraty, Brazil Travel Guide

How to Travel to Paraty

Mule cart in Paraty Brazil

Paraty, Brazil is conveniently located almost halfway between the country’s two biggest cities. Rio de Janeiro is found to the north, along the coast and Sao Paulo in the other direction.

That makes it easy to visit Paraty from either city or as a charming stopover on a Brazilian travel itinerary between the two destinations.

Coming from Rio de Janeiro:

By Bus: Paraty has excellent bus connections with Rio de Janeiro and it takes around 4 hours. Buses leave regularly from either city and are the most cost-efficient form of transport.

Costa Verde is a great option if you are looking for a bus transfer. They offer eight departures per day, from Rio’s main bus station (Novo Rio) the first at 6 A.M, the last departs at 9 P.M. Cost is R$49.

Note: If taking the bus seats on the left side will have the best views of the coast. Book your shared transfer from Paraty to Rio de Janeiro today. 

By Private Transfer: We used Paraty Tours, they offer private transfers from Rio de Janeiro to Paraty with set times for a minimum of two people at 8:30 A.M, 12:30 P.M and 5 P.M.

They also offer airport pickups anytime between 8:30 AM and 5 PM. Travel time is about 4 hours with a stop for snacks. The van was nice with lots of room. Rates per person are R$125.

If you have three people or more you can set your own pickup time. This is who our G Adventures trip used throughout Brazil and we did not have to worry about a thing. 

Coming from São Paulo: 

By Bus: Paraty has excellent bus connections with Sao Paulo and it takes around 5 -6 hours depending on your mode of transportation. There are six buses a day that travels between São Paulo and Paraty.

Reunidas Paulista is a great option if you are looking for a bus transfer. They offer six departures per day from the Tietê station, beginning at 8 A.M. and finishing at 10 P.M. Cost is R$44.

By Private Transfer: Paraty Tours offers great private transfers from Sao Paulo to Paraty with set times for a minimum of two people.at 8:30 A.M, 12:30 P.M and 5 P.M.

They also offer airport pickups anytime between 8:30 AM and 5 PM. Travel time is about 5 hours with a stop for snacks. Book your shared transfer from Paraty to São Paulo today. 

Coming from Ilha Grande:

You can also find transport along the coast towards the ports which service the beautiful island of Ilha Grande if you also want to explore more of the surrounding region. Many tour operators serve a bus + boat option between Ilha Grande and Paraty.

This departs from Paraty to Angar dos Reis then to Ilha Grande. 

Note: Make sure you buy the fast boat tickets not the slow boat tickets. 

There are also less frequent boats from Paraty itself straight to Ilha Grande, however, the journey is longer by boat from here than from the other ports.

These boats sell out quickly so you should book in advance if this is an option you would like.  Book your transfer from Paraty to Ilha Grande (Abraão) today. 

Arriving at the Paraty Bus Station 

Paraty has an up to date bus station officially called the Terminal Rodoviário Vereador Agílio Ramos, but everyone locally just calls it the Rodoviaria that connects Paraty to most of the towns along Brazils coastline.

The Paraty bus station is located at Rua Jango Padua St. in Downtown and you can get tickets to over 3,000 destinations in Brazil. It is best to buy your bus tickets at least 2-3 days in advance and always make sure you arrive early. 

From the bus station, it is not difficult to walk to most places within the town.  If you have large luggage or if you are staying far from the terminal then you should take a  taxi.

Taxis are expensive, for areas around the center they charge around R$20 Brazilian Reals regardless of distance, for outer locations in Paraty such as Jabaquara they charge around R$30.

The taxis in Paraty are not metered and you should fix the price in advance. 

Search for Flights: Priceline and Skyscanner offer great deals to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Best Time to Visit Paraty

Colonial Paraty in Brazil

The city of Paraty can really be visited any time of year, although it’s perhaps best enjoyed outside of high season and public holidays when the streets are quieter.

The city enjoys relatively temperate climatic conditions and you’ll find it warm throughout the year. Summertime can be quite stuffy, between November and March, while the winters are milder.

Most of the rain falls during the summer, but it’s never too intense. Winter is usually the most popular time to visit due to the cooler temperatures.

History of Paraty

historical building in Paraty

No visit to Paraty is complete without immersing yourself in the local history, because this was once one of the most important cities during the Portuguese colonial era.

The city was founded by the Portuguese in 1597 and is named for the local indigenous name for the bay it looks out over.

A colonial backwater for almost a century, Paraty rose to prominence when gold was discovered inland in the late 17th century.

Roads were built to connect the mining sites to nearby Paraty which could then ferry the precious metal to the larger port of Rio de Janeiro, and from there back to Portugal.

When the gold ran dry though, in the 18th century, the city fell into decline and only recently thanks to tourism, and interest in the remarkably well preserved colonial architecture has Paraty found its place on the map again.

Local knowledge is power and our 15 day trip around Brazil with G Adventures was powered by a local guide. 

Getting Around in Paraty

David Stock walking the streets of Paraty Brazil
  • By Foot — The historic center of Paraty is great for exploring by foot. The city center is closed to cars making walking a traffic-free dream where outside the historic center it can be hard to walk around due to large amounts of traffic. Ditch the flip-flops and wear comfortable shoes as the large cobblestones make walking a little difficult. Walking around at night is safe and it is always best to tell someone where you are going and how long you may be. 
  • By Taxi — Taxis in Paraty can be hailed outside of the car-free historic city center. Taxis can be expensive in and around the historical area and they are not metered so you should fix the price in advance.  It is best to ask your hotel to arrange one for you, this can cost less since most of the time they will do it their selves for half the price or they will know of a friend who will. 
  • By Rental Car — Car rentals are available from Alugue Brasil Paraty and it is best to book them in advance if you can. 

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Brazil (Travel Guide)


Best Things to do in Paraty, Brazil


Lina Stock crossing a bridge in Brazil

Paraty is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site and a national historic site within Brazil, and when you arrive you’ll quickly realize that this is most definitely a destination for history buffs but outside the city, there are many great adventures to be had. 

The biggest issue you will have is wishing that you had more time to truly enjoy the beaches and rainforest that you can access from this colonial town!

Below are the best things to do in Paraty.

The Historic Centre

Paraty streets in Brazil

The heart of the city and the real reason for visiting is to explore the beautiful historic center. Dating back to the first decades of Portuguese colonization, this is one of the oldest and best-preserved old towns in the country.

The streets are still paved with cobblestones, making walking around slightly taxing on the ankles, but providing a truly authentic atmosphere.

Many of the old colonial buildings still display their unique Portuguese character, and simply taking in the history as you wander through Paraty is one of the best things to do when you visit.

Our top recommended tours of The Historic Centre:

The Churches

The churches here are some of the most outstanding sights in the historic center.

There are several to see around the city, with the most ancient having been constructed in the early 1700s at the height of the gold rush, as money flooded in allowing Paraty to build the first stone churches.

The oldest, the Chapel of Saint Rita, dates back to 1722 and is now home to a charming little museum.

The Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Benedict dates to 1725 and is intriguing as it was built for use by slaves who were transported here from across the ocean in the Atlantic Slave Trade, giving the place a haunting history.

Free Walking City Tour

There’s a great free walking tour offered in Paraty, yes free with a tip at the end. The meeting point is in front of the Igreja da Matriz (Matriz Church), at the historical center.

This tour will last around two hours and is given by a local guide who has lived there their whole life. 

We found this a great way to get to know the city of Paraty on our first day. The local guide will point out things that you will miss by just walking around by your self. 

The free walking tours operate every day but Wednesdays. It starts at 10:30 A.M in Portuguese and 5 P.M. in English. There are no reservations needed, just come and look for the red shirt.

It operates rain or shine and the normal group size is anywhere from 8-15. 

Note: This tour is not as in-depth as the paid tours, so if you are a history buff you should go on a paid history tour also. 

Forte Defensor Perpetuo

Forte Defensor Perpetuo in Paraty

Forte Defensor Perpetuo is another great piece of history to explore while you are visiting Paraty. Again, the fort was constructed in the early 1700s as the gold trade was beginning to boom.

The Forte was built because the city needed to defend the lucrative business from the many pirates and raiders that would hide out in the nearby bays and islands along the coast waiting for their chance to strike.

The Portuguese Fort is well preserved, having been rebuilt again in the 19th century. You can walk the ramparts and visit the intriguing history museum that are found within the walls.

They offer a great insight into the colonial history of Paraty and the pirate attacks suffered during the gold era. You can find old cannons and more artifacts too at the fort.

Interestingly, this was just one of seven such forts to be built to defend Paraty, but this is the only one that has survived until today in such a well-preserved state.

The Gold Trail

The Caminho do Ouro or the Gold Trail was a stone-paved road that led from the gold mines in the jungle to the coast at Paraty, where the gold could then be exported.

It was the city’s economic lifeline, and was important to the fledgling economy of colonial Brazil, but suffered from raids and attacks from pirates.

For this reason, the trail eventually fell into disrepair and disuse as it became too dangerous to use, and gold had to find another way through the mountains.

Today, the Gold Trail is an important tourist attraction in Paraty, offering visitors a unique heritage walk that will expose them to the intriguing history of the area.

Our top recommended tours of The Gold Trail:

Trindade

Paraty isn’t just all about the history though, and if you need a break from the ankle grinding cobblestones, then just a short bus ride away from the city can be found the spectacular beachside village of Trindade, which lies between two sheltered bays.

With rainforest on one side and golden beaches and clear, blue water on the other, this is about as paradisaical as it gets in Brazil, and it’s a great opportunity to relax in pristine surroundings.

It takes around an hour to get here from Paraty and you’ll find that many of the beaches are quiet even in high season, with just a few ramshackle restaurants and bars catering to tourists.

You can hike, snorkel or simply do very, very little at all in Trindade.

Our top recommended tours of Trindade:

Paraty Boat Trip

Paraty Escuna

Just a short stroll down the cobblestone streets of the colonial village you will arrive at Paraty‘s main harbor where there’s a long dock with brightly colored boats lined up ready to sail away on a daily expedition of one of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet. 

There’s no better way to explore the islands nearby Paraty then sipping a caipirinha and deciding if that beach is where you should set the anchor. Each boat tour starts around 11 A.M and lasts around four hours.

Keep in mind you are on Island time and that you should book your bout tour in advance, so you can get the best boat of your choice.

There are a few different options of tours that include a large party boat to even private boats. But once again it is best to book in advance. You can also take a roll of the die and see what last-minute boat deals you can find along the dock, but the best boats will be sold out.

One of the most popular tours and the one we did is where you sail around exploring the Bay Islands on a large traditional Brazilan boat, that’s just like a huge pirate boat.

I first wasn’t nuts on this because I’ve been on large party boats before but this boat was different.

There was a lot of room and the crowd wasn’t your drink till you throw up kind of crowded. 

We relaxed on board with drinks in hand as we sailed around this spellbinding landscape and when it got to warm we decided to go for a snorkel where we came face to face with some of the most incredible Green Coast’s marine life.

We experienced some of Paraty‘s most idyllic islands and beaches covered with tall palms and surrounded by crystal clear water. 

During our tour, we visited Praia de Lula beach, Praia Vermelha beach, Praia de Santa Rita beach, Monitmento Island and Comprida Island. All were as stunning as the next. 

Book a boat cruise to the paradise Islands and beaches of Paraty and enjoy the most tropical landscapes in Brazil today!

Snorkeling and Diving

Paraty can also be a beautiful destination for snorkeling and diving, as the large bay that the city is built on is full of beautiful islands and spectacular marine environments.

Many boat tours run out regularly, island hopping from place to place and calling in at secluded, tropical beaches around Paraty where you can jump in the water and snorkel through pristine underwater environments.

Several companies run diving operations from Paraty too, with a wonderful array of dive sites close to the city itself offering the chance for all levels of divers to get out in the water, from shallow dives for beginners by the shore to deeper dives out in the bay.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Brazil (Travel Guide)

Kayaking

The beautiful bay and the huge number of hidden islands and beaches also make for perfect snorkeling territory, and you can spend the day paddling slowly from one destination to the next, with few other people in sight.

Kayaking makes for a great way to see the area, with peace and tranquility, as well as a bit of a workout too of course.

Our top recommended Kayak Tours:

Waterfall Jeep Adventure and Cachaca Tour

Lina Stock at Serra da Bocaina National Park in Brazil

This is one of the best things we did in Paraty. Explore the Serra da Bocaina National Park (Bocaino Mountains National Park) with six of your friends in your own jeep.

Explore the countryside down rugged back roads in search of some of Brazil’s best waterfalls like Poco do Tarzan falls and Cachoeira do Tobogo falls. 

Get up-close and personal with Brazil’s nature on this adventure. Explore and learn about more than 300 plant species in the Atlantic Forest as you are hiking thought it to slide down a natural waterslide (waterfall). 

Stop and have a few drinks at two local cachaça distillery to taste Brazil’s national liquor during your trip down the Caminho do Ouro (Gold Trail).

Learn the history of Paraty’s Gold Trail and the distilling process by a local expert who has made cachaça for years.

Book your Waterfall Jungle Jeep Adventure and Cachaca Tour from Paraty today!

Waterfalls you can’t miss in Paraty Brazil:

  • Cachoeira do Toboga
  • Poco do Tarzan
  • Poco da Jamaica
  • Pedra Branca (The most beautiful one in Paraty)
  • Cachoeira da Grauna (Grauna Waterfall) 

Tips for visiting the waterfalls in Paraty:

  • Many of them charge a small maintenance fee at the door R5. (If you are not with a tour).
  • Arrive early to avoid people from jeep tours. The jeep tours only spend an hour at each one. 
  • You can take the local bus to get to: Cachoeira do Toboga, Paco do Tarzan and Cachoeira da Grauna.
  • Expect no cellphone reception at all of the waterfalls. 
  • Practice leave no trace. 
  • Many are attended by locals, especially on hot days and in high season. 

Horseback Riding 

There’s a ton to do and see in Paraty, however, if you’re looking for one thing you must do while visiting Paraty Brazil its horseback riding. Enjoy a beautiful ride through Costa Verde one of Brazil’s most jaw-dropping rainforest landscapes leading to a swim at a waterfall. 

This horseback ride will give you a glimpse into life in rural Paraty lead by a local passionate guide who knows this area like the back of his hand.

Learn not only about the local way of life but learn about a variety of beautiful flora and fauna while you are riding. Book your Costa Verde Horseback Riding Adventure today! 

Shopping in Paraty

Paraty Brazil streets during carnaval

Paraty may be one of Brazil’s best kept historical towns but its truly a shopper’s paradise as well. You can find may great quality locally made handicrafts that cannot be found anywhere else in Brazil.

Most shops can be found in the center of Paraty, but there are some great ones along the unpaved road between Party and Cunha

In our three days, we spent exploring Paraty we spent at least two hours each day roaming in and out of the handicraft stores.

We found small wooden boats hand-painted in bright colors just like the fishing boats you will find along the coast of Brazil or at the dock in Paraty

You will also find some great cachaca stores that offer very good quality cachaca from Minas Gerais and even some made right in Paraty. There are also some great art shops where the local artist paintings can only be found here in Paraty

No matter where you walk around the cobblestone streets of central Paraty, you’ll find a local artist stall or shop to explore. Keep in mind you should also bargain when shopping in markets.

Locals love it but be respectful don’t low ball them. Keep in mind five dollars can go a long way for local artists. 

Samba da Benção Street Paraty

The sights and sounds of samba can be heard throughout the country of Brazil and in the city of Party is no exception. Every Monday night the Samba da Bencao takes place in Praca de Matriz (Matriz Square).

This free open-air samba party starts at 8. P.M. and plays till about 11 P.M or whenever the dancing stops. 

We recommend grabbing a bite to eat outside at one of the local restaurants around the square at 6 P.M, then wait till the music and dances start to get going just after 8 P.M. It will get busy with locals and tourist dancing and playing samba music. 

Make sure you have a few small bills ready, It is custom to tip the guys in white to keep them playing. This is not a scam its part of the experience and how they make money.

It is best not to bring bags since as the night goes on it becomes very crowded. 

Samba de Bencao Street Party does not operate in the rain, they may take a quick break if it starts to rain while they are playing but if it’s a rainy day it is best to go find one of the many bars that offer nightly live music. 

Paraty Beaches

Swimming at Paraty beach

In need of some much-needed beach time? With Paraty being situated along Brazil’s coastline naturally, some of the top things to do in Paraty are surfing, sailing, swimming and just relaxing on one of the many great beaches that can be found in and around the city of Paraty, Brazil.

There are two main beaches in Paraty Cao Morto and Barrra do Corumbe that are great for enjoying a little beach life.

Below we have listed out the top beaches in and around Paraty Brazil so you can plan your beach getaway while visiting this amazing city. 

Best beaches in Paraty:

  • Cao Morto – The main beach in town
  • Barra do Corumbe – A smaller beach in town with great seafood restaurants and dancing at night. 
  • Praia do Pontal – A smaller beach in town with great restaurants and dancing at night. 
  • Meio – Is a popular swimming beach.
  • Praia de Sao Goncalo – Great calm waters for swimming, or just dipping your self in. 
  • Praia de Jabaquara – Full of wildlife.
  • Cepilho – Is a great surfing beach.
  • Praia Grande – This beach is located in a nearby village that offers a great fish market.
  • Jabaquara’s Beach – This beach is located in a nearby village that offers great surfing. 
  • Beach Jurumirim – This is a popular small beach only accessible by boat. There are no structures and is not very crowded. 
  • Lula Beach – This is amazing beach heaven is only accessible by boat. The beach is one of the best in the area. 

Our top recommended beach tours:

Carnival in Paraty

Streets in Paraty during carnaval

Brazil is ever famous for its Carnival celebrations and the city of Paraty is no exception. Carnival is celebrated differently in every town in Brazil. None are the same.

Some towns have towering floats with colorful dancers others come to life with large dancing street dolls and mud-covered people that act more like a circus carnival in the streets. 

Carnival is Paraty is amazing. It’s celebrated throughout the historic center where big dolls, with masks and costumes, dance to the early mourning hours. But that’s not all, There’s a tone of street games for people to play and join in the festivities. 

During the month of February, the city of Paraty offers a complete show agenda that leads up to the big show, the traditional Carnamar. This is where local vessels and fishing boats compete to be the best looking boat. 

Some of the best streets to celebrate Carnival in Party are “Os Paulos”, “Vamos Que Tô”, “Os Meninos do Pontal”, “Paraty do Amanhã”, “Acadêmicos da Patitiba”, that parade and amuse at the Historic Center ang at “Avenida Roberto Silveira” (“Roberto Silveira Avenue”). 

One of the most famous of them all is the “Bloco da Lama” Mud Block also known as the Mud Carnival. This is where you will find dancers covered head to two in mud carrying skulls, lianas and bones yelling uga, uga, ra, ra.

Don’t be scared to show up in your bathing suit because you will get muddy. The “Mud Block” has been getting larger and larger every year and is celebrated on carnival’s Saturday. It is said to have the function of repelling bad spirits and attacking joy to Paraty’s Carnival. 

Another popular one additional to all the blocks is the “momo king”, Santa Cecilia band and a matinee in the tent set at “Paca da Matriz” 

No matter what if you are looking for a unique Carnival experience that’s doesn’t have the trivial large floats and dancers, Paraty is where you need to be. 

Tip: Book everything early if you will be traveling when Carnival is being celebrated. 

Did you know G Adventures offers a full trip around Carnival? It’s true their Carnival experience is one of the best in Brazil, Experience biggest party powered by a local guide with the best group of people ever today!


Paraty Planning Tips


Where to stay in Paraty

Paraty Brazil Guide

With the historical part of the city being the main focal point for visitors, the inner city streets can be crowded and loud at all times.

So while we were at first not thrilled about the location of our pousada, we learned that it was actually the perfect solution. 

We stayed at Refron du Mar Pousada Paraty, located right on the beach and just outside the historical center where we were able to get away from the busy streets when we were done exploring. Everything was within simple walking distance from our pousada.

The downtown no more than 8 minutes away on walking paths, the beach 1 minute away across the sleepy street and restraints 1 minute away. 

This pousada was very clean with AC and set up like a colonial courtyard with the rooms located just off a large open-air central area. The owners spoke great English and hung out with us travelers talking about their city.

Book your stay today at the Refron du Mar Pousada Paraty

Note: It is best to book your accommodation in advance, do not wait till the last minute many of the hotels and hostels only have a few rooms. 

Other recommended places to stay in Paraty Brazil: 

Read reviews and check prices for hotels in Brazil with our custom booking site that allows you to search all hotels and compare prices for the best deals on the web.

How Safe is Paraty?

Paraty Canal

Paraty is a small town, so naturally, crime isn’t a major problem. Tourists can explore peacefully without risk at all times of the day and night. 

Paraty is one of those cities where everything is based around it’s beating heart, the historic city center. So naturally, around the historic city center, it is safe for tourists to go out exploring at all times of the day and night.

There will be police out on the streets at night just making sure there are no issues.

We found the major walking streets in the historic center well-lit at night but the side streets were not. So always stick to well-lit streets and avoid dark areas.

There were some beggars on the streets asking for money and one ever had a large dispute with one of the restaurants we were eating at over a boat hanging on their wall. Naturally, the beggar was drunk and the restaurant took care of it right away.

A second issue, we even had a few people come up to us in the middle of the Samba da Benção Street party trying to sell us drugs.

Drugs are not permitted in Brazil and we would suggest staying away from them while traveling, those were just two little incidents and I wouldn’t consider them threatening or unsafe. 

However, just like any other city in the world, the best thing is not to leave the populated places, especially at night, because as everywhere in the world there is always the danger of things happening are they are more likely in unpopulated non-tourist areas. 

So that being said outside the historic center it is safe but I would use caution exploring at night. Keep in mind most crimes in Paraty are petty. These crimes include scamming credit cards, stealing bags and ripping off the tourist for a few bucks.

Major crimes that have included tourist were drugs and rape

if you travel to Paraty is to take care of your belongings. It’s always preferable to be in comfortable clothes, without carrying a lot of expensive jewelry and put your papers and money in a safe place that cannot be grabbed away. 

At the end of the day, Partay is a safe place and I would not let the fears of having issues stop you from having a good time. Just be smart about things and you will have no issues.

Travel Tip: Its always best to have a local guide with you who can speak Brazilan Portuguese. 

We use Allianz travel insurance and have since our first trip to Mexico in 2003. They’ve been there for us on our adventures – and many friends and readers – multiple times over! If you want to book with Allianz Travel Insurance, simply use this link to get their travel insurance!

Responsible Travel Tips For Visiting Paraty

Waterfalls outside of Paraty, Brazil

Paraty is one of Brazil’s best kept historical towns, so let’s keep it that way. As travelers, we need to think about the effects we have when we visit historical places like this.

I want fellow travelers to get those chills I got while roaming the 100+-year-old cobblestone streets among the colonial buildings for generations to come. 

If we do not do our part, Paraty will become another one of those historic towns that are loved to death by the tourists who visit. We encourage all travelers to make sustainable choices when traveling and visiting amazing places like this. 

Below are simple responsible travel tips you should live by when visiting Paraty, Brazil:

  • Only take photos, never take a piece of history with you.
  • Touching old buildings inside and out should be limited. 
  • Skip the plastic straw when having a drink or sipping a coconut on the beach or at the local bar. 
  • Refill a water bottle instead of buying water in plastic bottles. If you have to buy water, buy a larger jug and refill a water bottle.
  • Do not use those plastic shampoo packages in the hotels.
  • Turn off the lights and the AC in your hotel room if you are not in it.
  • You do not need a new towel every day, reuse your towels to conserve water.
  • Conserve water when brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
  • If you are going to buy souvenirs, buy locally made products that help support a local artisan.
  • Avoid souvenirs that are made from animal products.
  • Do not scare the wildlife.
  • Do not chase the wildlife for a better Instagram photo.
  • Do not feed the wildlife.
  • Out of town, stay on the hiking trails.
  • Pick up trash as you encounter it on the trail, the beach and wherever.
  • Take back everything you bring with you.
  • Be respectful to the people who live there, don’t go walking through their yards or homes for that photo, they are not zoo animals.
  • Do not interrupt a school as it is going on.
  • Do not take photos of kids.
  • Do not give money or gifts to kids.
  • Ask before you take a photo of a local, do not just snap away.
  • Book tours with locals, not tourists who are staying there for a few months squatting and working for an international company. Keep the money local.

Don’t just see the world, make it better. Learn more about responsible-travel by G Adventures.

Quick Paraty Travel Facts

Street scene in Paraty Brazil
  • Money: Brazilian Real (Some places will take USD)
  • What language is spoken? Portuguese, English was limited. 
  • Is the water safe to drink? No, it is best to buy water there. At our hotel, we had a water bottle refill station where we could refill our water bottles with filtered water instead of adding to the islands plastic issues. This was supplied by G Adventures.
  • Is there an ATM in Paraty? Yes, there are two sections ATM’s. Most of the time the ones in the main historical section will not work so you will need to walk to the ones just outside the district. Bradesco has multiple ATMs two blocks north of the bus station; more at Banco do Brasil next door. NOTE: Card skimming has been a problem in Paraty for many years so try to use only ATMs found in banks. 
  • How many days do people normally stay in Paraty: 2 to 3 days
  • Is there Wifi? Yes, you can find WIFI throughout most of the historical district. We found it best at the main piazza and it can cost R20 for 2 hours. Many of the hotels and restraints also offer Wifi.
  • Tipping: There is no expected tipping on top of the 10% service charge on restaurant and hotel bills. It is always best to ask if it is added into the bill. Taxi drivers usually do not get tipped. Bellboys get tipped R$1 (U.S.$0.50) per bag. 
  • Business or Shopping Hours — Stores are usually open from 9am to 7pm weekdays, 9am to 2pm on Saturdays. Most places in Paraty are closed on Sundays. Small stores may close for lunch. 
  • Smoking — Smoking is prohibited in certain areas in the historical center along with restaurants. It is always best to check with our guide before lighting up. 
  • Toilets — Public toilets are rare in Brazil, except in large shopping malls. You are best seeking out hotels and restaurants. It is always best to have TP or baby wipes with you. 
  • Bargaining – A little bargaining while shopping at local markets, on the street tours, and for walkup hotel rooms,  should become second nature, but be respectful. 
  • Are you allowed to fly drones in Paraty: Yes, drone use is allowed but you must follow Brazil’s drone rules and restrictions.
  • What tour is the best tour of Brazil that offers Paraty? The Wonders of Brazil Tour with G Adventures 

Ilha Grande vs Paraty

Lina Stock on the beaches of Ilha Grande Brazil

Ilha Grande and Paraty are 100% different cities in Brazil. Yes, both are UNESCO World Heritage sites but each one has its own magic that the other one does not have.

You really should just make time to explore both (and book a tour like The Wonders of Brazil) because they are so different but I understand sometimes you don’t have time to do that.

So below is our advice based on Ilha Grande vs Paraty and I hope it helps you decided to explore one over the other or both. 

Ilha Grande is one of Brazil’s most tropical islands that is home to some of the best beaches not just in Brazil but in the world. Naturally, this little tropical island has many great adventures to offer like sailing, scuba divings, and hiking.

There’s plenty of wildlife around the island to be found, there’s a few small and I mean small waterfalls and some small historical sites like an old prison. There are no motorized cars allowed on the island.

You will find great restaurants located on the beach where you can watch the sunset. If you are a beach bum or someone looking for some much need RNR Ilha Grande the place for you. Read our extensive guide: Ilha Grande, Brazil Planning Guide: Paradise Found

Visiting Paraty is like being transported back into time. Paraty is Brazil’s best persevered colonial town that has cobblestone streets and many historic buildings.

Being located on Brazil’s coastline there are some great beaches, good scuba diving, and amazing sailing trips to be had. On top of that, there are some great hiking trails that lead to spectral waterfalls all around the Paraty area.

Grab a drink and one of the many distilleries or enjoy a bite to eat around the historic main square. If you are someone who loves old historic towns with a splash of adventure at your doorsteps Paraty is the place for you. 

Like I said before Ilha Grande and Paraty are so different you really should not choose not to visit one over the other.

We visited them both (on The Wonders of Brazil tour with G Adventures) and I can tell you from experience you will not be disappointed if you do the same. 

Our Brazil Trip 

We explored Brazil with G Adventures on their 15 day Wonders of Brazil Tour and we experienced Brazil the local way, with local guides on this tour. I can truly tell you we would have had the experiences we had on any other tour. 

We started in Rio De Janeiro then went to Ilha Grande, Party, Foz do Iguacu, Bonito, the Pantanal ending back in Rio De Janeiro. Our experienced local CEO guide went way above and beyond our expectations on this trip.

He opened up doors into his country that as experienced travels we did not expect to experience. 

The Wonders of Brazil Tours is one of the best tours offered in Brazil powered by a 100% ripple score. G Adventures Ripple Score is an honest evaluation of how often they use local businesses and services on each tour. There’s no other tour company exploring Brazil doing that!

We experienced this first-hand while on tour with G Adventures in Brazil by using locally owned hotels, locally owned tours and eating at locally-owned restaurants where the money we spent stayed in the communities we visited.

Not only helping them for today but for future generations to come. 

We experienced G-magical moments throughout all of Brazil on this small group trip. We all were strangers at the beginning of this adventure ranging from the age of 23 to 64. Some haven’t traveled very much and others have traveled a lot.

Some wanted pure adventure and others just wanted to sit back and relax. There was a good mix of things to do for everyone on this tour. That’s the magic about taking a G Adventures tour. They give you free time to have your own adventure.

Check out the Wonders of Brazil Tour today by G Adventures.


Onward Travel From Paraty

Lina & David Stock at Iguazu Falls

If you are planning your onward travel plans from Paraty we would suggest checking out the island of Ilha Grande and if you have not otherwise head to the city to Sao Paulo.

On your trip, we went right from Paraty to Sao Paulo where we caught a flight to Foz do Iguacu all on the same day on our G Adventures tour. 

  • Ilha Grande – If you are searching for Brazil’s most tropical destination, Ilha Grande is it. This remote island has a lot to offer travelers like great hikes, sailing trips, scuba diving and let’s not forget relaxing on Brazil’s best beaches. That’s right Ilha Grande gets voted year after year for having the best beaches in Brazil. It is best to spend 2-3 days in Ilha Grande after that make your way up to Rio De Janeiro. 
  • Sao Paulo – Sao Paulo is a city of infinite possibilities, known as the NYC of South America. Being Brazil’s largest city it plays host to an endless amount of adventures, world-class museums, delicious foods, vibrant music scene, great shopping and galleries on a par with any other world city. We would recommend 3-4 days in San Paulo before flying home or flying to Foz do Iguacu. 
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Paraty Brazil Travel Guide


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About David Stock

I have always been an outdoorsman so becoming an adventure traveler was just the next natural step. I love nature, I love to get off the beaten path and I like to explore. I enjoy scuba diving and cars. And yes, Lina and I have a naked dog.



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