It was in the 70s when Paraty (also spelled Parati) was discovered as tourist destination, but this historic port-city in Brazil was very important back in the days of the gold rush, shipping gold-laden vessels through Rio before reaching Lisbon.
In fact, with the discovery of gold in the mountains of Minas Gerais at the end of the 1600s, Parati became part of the Caminho do Ouro (Gold Trail) together with Ouro Preto and Tiradentes, until the end of XVIII century, when gold run out and the city fell to oblivion.
Originally inhabited by Guaianás people, it was founded by the Portuguese in 1531 under the name of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies).
What really stands out and receive visitors from all over the world is the colonial architecture legacy of the Historic Center
Most of the buildings have remained unchanged for the last two and a half centuries or so. Beautifully painted in bright colors, many houses turned into art and souvenirs shops, restaurants, cafes, inns and museums.
This is a walk through colonial Brazil you wouldn't want to miss.
No car traffic is allowed within its limits, only horse-drawn carriages will take you around, with drivers doing the tour guide bit.
They hang around by the side of Santa Rita church, the oldest in town, dating back to 1722.
In terms of religious monuments, the Historic quarter has a number of them, the list includes...
This profusion of churches is also noticeable in another XVII century town of strong Portuguese influence: Ouro Preto - with thirteen of them - and a World Heritage Site since 1980.
In colonial times, each church served to the needs of different classes: whites/aristocracy, mestizos (pardos) and black population/slaves.
Paraty postcards is a recollection of images, split seconds in the daily life of this marvelous colonial town. It doesn't pretend to be exhaustive by any means, only to share some snapshots to help you to travel in anticipation
My day would start with an espresso at 6am in the local padaria (bakery shop), the only available place to get a shot of caffeine that early in the midst of this peaceful environment, only perturbed by the sound of my flip-flops negotiating the original cobblestone streets and the occasional push-bike rider on his way to work.
I would then set out to do some photography helped by the early morning light and the absence of tourists that would inevitably start filling up the place until the late hours.
As far as architecture is concerned, life stopped here in the XVII century, making it the most culturally rich destination in the whole Costa Verde (Green Coast) today. Costa Verde is the 325-mile coastal stretch between Rio and Sao Paulo easily accessed through BR-101.
Enjoy it as much as you can and don't hesitate to send us your opinion and/or pictures if you've already been there...
Parati has an airstrip suitable only to small chartered aircrafts. It can also be accessed by boat, but the easiest way is through BR-101.
To/from Rio there are daily services through Costa Verde bus company. The journey takes 4 hours and the price is 50.00 Reais (roughly USD 25.00) per person.
To/from Sao Paulo instead the route is serviced by Reunidas Paulista bus company, taking 6 hours to complete at the price of 40.00 Reais each.
Alternatively - travelling by two or more - you could opt for a private transfer from hotels in both cities as well as their respective airports. Find more info, prices and book online here.
There is plenty of options in terms of accommodation. For the independent traveller, backpackers and even groups, the best value is to book budget accommodation in Parati.
I stayed at the Historic Center Hostel, right at the core of the old city, close to everything from restaurants, historic buildings and churches to the local pier for a (recommended) escuna ride to some lovely beaches and snorkeling spots.
For higher comfort, find and compare best hotel rates in town.