History, beaches, rainforest and local flavours

From the lush and humid forests to the idyllic beaches and bays, Paraty is a haven for ecotourism as well as a playground for beach fans and history buffs.

Come for the heritage, culture and sand, and stay for the outdoor adventures, the music and warm Brazilian nights. Here are some of the best things to do in Paraty, showing off this part of Rio de Janeiro state in all its multifaceted glory. Classic Brazil is a great tour which includes Paraty in the itinerary.

Photo by Jaume Galofré

Step back in time while walk around the historic town

Paraty is a historic delight, where you can live and breathe a true slice of old life. Walking through the cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways of Paraty is an essential Brazilian experience. There’s no need to have an itinerary – just get lost in a maze of colorful, colonial-style houses. There isn’t a corner of this seaside town that isn’t steeped in history, from the churches to lovely homes from the 18th centuries. Snap photos of beautiful houses, walk around and peek between the streets for a glimpse of the bay.

Photo by Gilberto Olimpio

Immerse yourself in the Brazilian culture

If you would like to learn more about the Brazilian culture, this charming town has a few good cultural experiences. In Paraty you can take part in capoeira workshops on Saturdays, there is also a puppet theatre twice a week. You can also visit an alambiques and understand a little better about the production of cachaça! The most popular distillery is Alambique Eugenho D’Ouro. Other great ones are Alambique Paratiana, Alambique Cachaça Pedra Branca, Destilaria Engenho D’Agua and Cachaça Maria Izabel. Make sure to try the typical drink of Paraty – Jorge Amado. It is prepared with Gabriela cachaça with clove, cinnamon flavor, lemon, and passion fruit. Absolutely unforgettable taste!

Photo by Nick Walker

Bar hopping is never a bad idea

At night, there’s plenty of bar hopping to do. Fancy dancing samba and sipping Brazilian cocktails? Paraty has a charming nightlife scene. Take the time to go and hang out at some of the local bars on Cadeia Street, like Cana da Praça Cachaça Bar, Cervejaria Caboré, and Sarau Bar & Restaurant. You can often find some great live music. At night, dance with the locals at the bars and clubs in the main square, like Lado B da Praça or Dinho’s Bar, or in Paraty 33. If you prefer a chilled-out place to hang, there are open-air beach bars and restaurants to choose from, So put on your best sneakers and enjoy the humid sea breeze while you walk around.

Photo by Gilberto Olimpio 

Sip coffee the Brazilian way and taste some fine cuisine

In Brazil, coffee is a ritual not taken lightly. You’ll rarely see people drinking coffee in their cars on their way to work or rushing with a cup of coffee in their hands. Instead, coffee in Brazil is a state of mind, a little respite from the world outside. Sip a coffee with the locals at one of the main square bars. Paraty will also spoil you with fine dining. Being a seaside town, there are wonderful seafood recipes, as well as many organic ingredients coming from the local farms. Fazenda Bananal is also a great place to taste some exquisite organic recipes and learn more about sustainable agroecology.

Photo by Adrien Sala

Beach & island hopping – one can never get enough

Pack a bathing suit and go beach & island hopping in the bay. There are hundreds of islands and islets. You could even find a private beach for yourself. Some of the spots to see are Barra do Corumbe, Sono Beach, Praia da Lulu, Jabaquara and Pontal, Cedro Island, Trindade Beach and many more. You’ll find pristine water, soft sand and a true tropical vibe. Some of the beaches are best reached by boat or kayak. The green colour of the water sometimes gives the feeling of a lake rather than the sea.

Photo by Pedro Miranda

Bike to the waterfalls

If you’re an avid cyclist, head to some of the waterfalls with the wind in your hair. Deep in the forest, water flows on top of giant stones, forming slides and natural pools at the end. Slide down and get a natural massage from the falling water. Visit Tarzan, Toboga, Saco Bravo.

Photo by Stéfano Girardelli 

Dare to paddle through the bay by kayak

The calm waters of Paraty Bay offer a gorgeous backdrop for paddling around through mangrove, out to tiny islands, and around the bay itself. This is probably one of the best ways to experience the area. Visit mangroves, white sand beaches and desert islands, stopping at your own pace for snorkelling, hiking and a picnic lunch. You will go to the deep corners where boats cannot go. You can even choose to do multi-day kayaking circuits, stopping overnight is different coastal villages.

Photo by Agnaldo Andrella

A wonderful underwater world waiting for divers and snorkelers

Sporkel in pristine waters, swim with turtles, rays and all manner of colorful sea creatures. Ilha dos Meros has the best diving conditions. Morning dives tend to be the best for visibility. In Paraty Bay the waters are often shallow, allowing to enjoy relaxing floating. Ilha Comprida is a lovely snorkelling spot, best in the morning. Further afield for faster boats only Ilha dos Cocos is a beautiful spot.   

Photo by Mauro Lima

Catch a Brazilian wave

For the active travellers, Paraty is also the place for some wave riding. Don’t despair if you don’t know how to surf, lessons are available. The best waves near Paraty are Laranjeiras, Cepilho and Sono, Praia da Fazenda e Brava da Almada.

Photo by Luiza Braun 

Rainforest hikes and scenic historic trails

Trek through the rainforest to the beach, through the leafy jungle, discovering the Mata Atlantica plant and animal life, learning about the area’s history and natural resources. Don’t go alone – the trails are largely unmarked. Guided hikes and tours are safe. One of the most beautiful hikes is to Sono beach.

Take a history lesson by hiking the Gold Trail in Serra da Bocaina. Experience an unforgettable and intimate walk through amazing landscapes, discovering the stories of “Caminho do Ouro”, the golden trail which connected Paraty all the way to Diamantina, in the state fof Minas Gerais.

For the avid hikers, the views of Saco do Mamagua are worth the effort to get on top of the slopes. This is a beautiful fjord of the tropics. The hike takes around 5h.

Photo by Caio Arbulu 

Visit a fishing community

Paraty harbours some relaxed laid back fishing community. Visit Praia Grande to taste a traditional fishermen meal. The small tranquil bay is dotted with many small wooden boats. Try a traditional saltwater fish stew or as locals called it, moqueca, a typical Brazilian recipe. You can even go fishing with the locals and experience their lifestyle.

Photo by Stéfano Girardelli 

Best Places to Stay in Paraty

Check out the best hotels in Paraty with Reassessments Hotels Reservations.