By Pedro Souza
September 4, 2017
In the Corredor Verde (Green Corridor), an exuberant corridor that runs along the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, one will find the city of Paraty. Settled in the 15th century by the Portuguese, Paraty was part of the Royal Road, which was a route used to transport gold during the colonial times. When the inner roads were opened in the late 19th century, the city was forgotten and froze in time. It was later discovered as a tourist destination and has now become one of the most popular coastal cities in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
With a population of less than 40,000, the city has a bucolic atmosphere, with well-preserved colonial-style houses, cobblestone-paved streets and fishing boats floating gently in the sea. The city is famous for its historical district, where one can appreciate the colonial-era architecture of the buildings, some of which haven’t changed for more than 200 years. No motor vehicles are allowed in this part of the city, but this shouldn’t be a problem. It is very easy to get around Paraty by foot. The fact that there are no cars driving through the historical district also make it a very pleasurable place to stroll around.
One of the main attractions of the city are the churches that abound there, such as the Capela de Santa Rita (Chapel of Saint Rita), Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito (Church of Our Lady of Rosary and Saint Benedict) and the Capela de Nossa Senhora das Dores (Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows) among others. Among the historical constructions are also two forts that are worth a visit: Forte Paratiba and Forte Defensor.
There are also many boat rides available in Paraty. You can simply take a boat ride through the bay and watch the city from a different point of view. Or you can explore one of the many islands and pristine beaches that surround Paraty. Maybe you would rather go snorkeling or scuba-diving. In many boat rides you can ask for a snorkel mask and for fish food, so you can feed the fish while you float around and appreciate the view underwater. Another way of enjoying the sea is taking kayaking tours, of which there are plenty available. With a rented kayak you can take a trip to a secluded beach or to one of the islands around the city.
If you are the adventurer type, you can also explore one of the trails around the city, which is surrounded by a lush rainforest. You can take trails through the Atlantic Forest that will lead you to beautiful views and to an array of beaches, such as the well-known Praia do Sono. If you don’t want to risk getting lost, you can rent a guide in the city. Some companies offer guides that speak English, so the language barrier shouldn’t be a problem.
During the summer holidays, Paraty gets extremely lively as people from other cities and even foreigners converge to appreciate the city. For those that want to want to meet new people and do some partying as well, this is the best time of the year to visit. If you would rather visit it when it is quieter to appreciate the city’s charming beauty and the surrounding nature, you might want to avoid it at this time. Regardless of what attracts you to Paraty, however, I’m sure you will soon fall in love with it.