Paraty, Portuguese Colonial Town
After landing in Rio I set off the following morning towards my first destination, Paraty. A Portuguese colonial town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and famous for being one of Brazil’s best sources of Cachaça, the spirit used for Brazil’s national cocktail the Caipirinha, the captivating and energetic atmosphere in this historical town is one I can’t wait to get back to.
In Paraty I stayed at the Pousada Literária – a restored colonial house in the centre of Paraty with a serene courtyard adorned with native plants, natural furnishings and its very own library. A twenty-minute walk from the Pousada there’s a beach bar frequented by locals called BalacoBacco. Here, I had my first ever Caipirinha with a phenomenal view of the ocean and tropical islands ahead, listening to the waves drifting on powder sand – the perfect way to start my trip.
By the afternoon it was time to explore the cobbled stone streets of Paraty’s historic centre; art exhibits from local artists, Brazilian coffee houses, traditional Portuguese restaurants and Samba street performances are all part of the town’s allure to persuade you to wander the streets long into the night.
My next day in Paraty began at the town’s harbour where I met my guide for the day on a Land and Sea tour hosted by the Sandi Hotel – the first luxury inn in Paraty, with beautifully preserved 18th century architecture. The private speed boat allowed us to visit the most remote spots of Paraty from narrow bays to swim in, to a secluded beach famous for filming a honeymoon scene for one of the Twilight movies (it really did look like something from a movie!). Next was the island adventure by land, visiting the only tropical fjord on the Brazilian coast, waterfalls and a Cachaça tasting experience at the distilleries of Paraty.