Paraty in the rain | 8 things to do when the sun doesn't shine
Updated: Jun 9
If you have read our Ilha Grande post you will sense a bit of a theme…unfortunately we didn’t have the best weather when travelling down the east coast of Brazil and when we were in Paraty we had a lot of rain. If you have read other people’s blogs about what to do in Paraty you will have read about beaches and boat trips, but if like us you need an alternative as Mother Nature is not playing game, fear not, we have a few ideas!
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Things to do in Paraty that don’t involve beaches and boat trips!
1) Go on the Free Walking Tour
They offer a free walking tour around the Colonial centre of the town which I would recommend. It is a great way to get to know the area and learn about its history. Although the tour is technically free you are expected to give a tip to your guide at the end, however much you think it was worth. The tour here was about an hour and a half and they meet every day in the main square at 5pm come rain or shine!
2) Drink delicious coffee at Montañita Cafes Especiais
If you have read our Brazilian food and drink post you will know that although famous for coffee production, finding a good coffee shop in Brazil is harder than you would think! However, this place is fab, they are coffee lovers who source and roast the beans themselves and produce a delicious brew.
3) Try the Jorge Amado cocktail
Made using a local cachaça called Gabriela which is infused with cinnamon and cloves and is only produced in Paraty. It is delicious and tastes like Christmas in a glass 😋
4) Join the ‘Academy of cooking and other pleasures’
A evening of cooking, dining and conversation with Yara, a Brazilian chef and her husband Richard. They welcome you into their home, immerse you in Brazilian culture and host a fabulous evening of food, wine and of course cachaça. We paid 380R$, so about £63 each at the time, and thought it was good value. There was only 4 of us that evening so I don’t know whether the price changes depending on the number of guests. You received a caipirinha as a welcome drink with Richard showing you how to make the cocktail and then enjoyed it with some nibbles while everyone got to know each other. We then made a 3-course meal, more like cooking with friends than a cooking school, which was then paired with wine and cachaça. The food was delicious but what made the evening more fun was the company. Yara and Richard were so welcoming, and it was such a nice atmosphere. Whilst it isn’t a budget activity, we would highly recommend it, especially if you have been on the road a while and missing some homely comforts. Look at their website http://www.chefbrasil.com/ to find out more.
5) Check out the live music at the beach bars
As long as the weather isn’t too bad, there is always live music at one or more of the beach bars on Praia do Pontal during the day and carrying on until about midnight. The Brazilians come here to enjoy a few drinks and some Samba dancing on the sand.
6) Check out the colonial architecture in Paraty
Wonder around the cobbled streets of the old town. Paraty has some of the best-preserved colonial buildings showing off its lucrative past. Once thought of as a symbol of great wealth, look out for pineapples adorning many buildings. Paraty has gone through several waves of boom starting with it being the main port for shipping gold found in Minas Gerais over to Portugal. A few years after the gold route was changed to Rio de Janeiro the next wave came from the production of Cachaca with Paraty being the first place Cachaca was produced.
The most recent boom is from tourism & nowadays much of the residential buildings in the old town are owned as holiday homes by the wealthy Brazilians (only around 100 people live permanently in the old town with most of the locals living on the outskirts). Paraty old town has been protected as a cultural heritage site preserving the towns history for generations to come.
7) Take a look at the numerous gift shops
Paraty has many gift shops lining its streets selling wares made by local craftsmen & women. The colourful wooden day boats which line the river & mariner have become a symbol of Paraty so you will see many replicas of different shapes & sizes in most of the shops. Along with these shops you will have the chance to try some of the locally produced Cachaca. Being the original home of Cachaca having over 100 Cachaca producers at its peak, Paraty is a great spot to sample the national spirit.
8) The cake cart!
There seems to be multiple cake carts dotted around Paraty old town, not just at lunch time like Ilha Grande. All are stocked up with a variety of different delights you can purchase by the slice and don't worry they can be found in the rain as the glass cabinets they have protect the cakes!
Where to stay Paraty
We stayed at Chill Inn Paraty Hostel & Pousada. We had a private double room with en suite bathroom and a small fridge with a little ‘mini bar’ and it was lovely. I particularly enjoyed the Jaguar bedding 😀 One downside was the lack of nature light in the room, the only window opened up into a sort of void space between upstairs rooms, like a lift shaft but with no lift!
The location was also good, opposite the beach and only a 5 minute walk into the colonial old town. The hostel was very quiet when we were there, with mostly long-term backpackers/staff staying so no openly social vibe.
There was a small kitchen area but it was pretty gross! The cooking utensils were very old, extremely well used and very much in need of replacement. We did actually use it a few times and lived to tell the tale! They do offer a breakfast which is nothing special but fine if you want an easy option, although not great value at 25R$ per person.
How to get there and away
There are 3 obvious places to come from or go to when it comes to Paraty.
If you are heading south, São Paulo is likely to be your next stop after Paraty. To get the bus to São Paulo you will need to make your way to the Terminal Rodoviário Vereador Agílio Ramos (Paraty's main bus terminal). The bus to São Paulo takes around 6 hours, there is normally 6 daily departures that run between 6am & 11:40pm. The buses arrive in São Paulo at Terminal Rodoviário Tietê (Sao Paulo's main bus terminal).
For information on what to do there see our travel guide on São Paulo, featuring all the things to do
Ilha Grande would be a great stop if you are ready for more beach time (hopefully with better weather!). As the transfer to Ilha Grande involves buses & boats we've written a blog post on it to make it easier to understand. If you need guidance on how to get there see how to get to and from Ilha Grande.
For information on what to do there see our Ilha Grande travel blog with some great advice of hiking trails on the island.
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is on most peoples Brazil itinerary, if you are short on time & missing Ilha Grande on the way north, Rio will probably be your next stop. Along this coast Costa Verde would be our chosen bus company. They have departures every 2/3 hours starting at 2:20am & the last being at 7pm. The journey takes around 5 hours departing from the Terminal Rodoviário Vereador Agílio Ramos (Paraty's main bus terminal) & arriving into Rio at Rodoviaria Novo Rio (Rio de Janeiro's main bus terminal).
For information on what to do there see our Rio de Janeiro travel blog with all the things to do there.
Paraty is a beautiful town and despite the dull weather we had a great time here. In the sunshine you could spend longer exploring the islands and beaches by boat, but even without the sun it's a great place to visit for a few days.