Paraty

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PARATY

Architecture, beaches and speed boat rescues

Paraty is one of Brazil's hidden gems. The cobbled streets and seventeenth century architecture of it's colonial town centre are only part of what Paraty has to offer. During our 5 days here, we journeyed through apocalyptic rain to a comical excuse of a waterfall (fast becoming a trademark of ours), got stranded in the hills of Paratay Mirim following an unguided 7 hour hike and sunned it up in the natural pools of Trinidade. 

 

Ilha Grande to Paraty is a 40 minute boat ride to the mainland followed by a 2.5 hour drive. Easy Transfer Brazil offer a package deal for 145 BRL which also included transfers from Rio de Janeiro to Ilha Grande.

Our stay in Paraty begins in Jabaquara. A beach front area about 20 minutes from the centre with a funky, hippyish kind of vibe. There is a part of the beach with a mud bath rumoured to contain medicinal qualities. We remain somewhat sceptical about this. Our Airbnb, which also served as a headquarters for the town's entire mosquito population, was set just a few blocks from the beach. On Jabaquara beach there are a number of bars and seafood joints jetting onto the sand. Reggae music (surprisingly popular in Brazil) and all-round chilled out vibes tell the story of day 1.

Day 2 brought about a bout of torrential rain the likes of which we have never seen before. With such heavy rain the WiFi in our Airbnb wasn't working, leaving us with little more than a sense of adventure. Undeterred we grab our rain jackets, hopped on the local bus and made our way to Corsico in search of a waterfall we heard about the day before. *Note to self* validate authenticity of "hidden gem" waterfalls in the future. With no prior info we relied purely on interactions with locals to gather information and directions. A man on the bus told us when to get off. I think the stop was called back-end of nowhere. Another incoherent exchange with the only other human we encountered led us to a river. Hmmm, ok, maybe we're getting somewhere. Wrong. Just look at this picture. This is the waterfall we found. Oh well, another memory and another story.  

No trip to Paraty is complete without visiting the town centre. The town has remained largely unchanged in the last 350 years and allows no vehicles its centre. This place is simply beautiful and so beautiful in it's simplicity. We spent our third day strolling along the canal, exploring the streets and admiring the architecture.

Day 4 took us to Trindade, a small beachside town about 40 mins outside Paraty. It has a very rustic, make-shift vibe to it with lots of huts and shacks made from wood. The kind of place you only see in movies. The real attraction of Trinidade however, lies a little further outside the town itself. From the town we walked along the beach and through the forest for about 25 mins until we reached a 2nd beach. At the other end of this beach there is more forest which we walked through for a further 20 mins. Here is where we found Trinidade's worst kept secret. A large natural pool full of warm crystal-clear water and hundreds of brightly coloured fish swimming around. The perfect spot to cool off.

Now then, we've saved the best for last. Paraty Mirim - the scene of our final day in Paraty. On any other day Paraty Mirim is a picturesque beach which is the access point to Mamangua Bay full of secluded hidden beaches. But today, it was the scene of a dramatic rescue mission. 

Upon arriving in Paraty Mirim we saw only one beach and were immediately approached by one of the boat operators. He explained that the only way to reach the secluded beaches inside the cove was via boat tours. Luckily for us we were offered his super special mates rates price of 200 BRL. Or about 80% of our daily budget. No thanks, we'll make our own way there. If we knew what we were in for we would have happily paid him.

We had a look at the map and decided that we could go up through the rainforest to the other side of the cove and then we should be able to easily make our way to  Mamangua Bay where we hoped to paddle board and kayak from beach to beach. Into the trees we go and are met instantly met by a monstrously steep incline as far as we could see. It took us a good 40 minutes of solid climbing to reach the top and by this point we were already drenched and exhausted. But we thought that seeing we were at the highest point already it shouldn't take us too long to get down to the other side. 

We had a look at the map and decided that we could go up through the rainforest to the other side of the cove and then we should be able to easily make our way to  Mamangua Bay where we hoped to paddle board and kayak from beach to beach. Into the trees we go and are met instantly met by a monstrously steep incline as far as we could see. It took us a good 40 minutes of solid climbing to reach the top and by this point we were already drenched and exhausted. But we thought that seeing we were at the highest point already it shouldn't take us too long to get down to the other side. 

We come across another little beach where we bought some refreshments from a man with a very confused look on his face. We would find out a little later why he was so surprised to see us appear from and then disappear back into the jungle.

Time was now getting on and we we knew there was no way we would be able to remember the way back. Much less make it back before dark. With little choice we decided we would go to the next beach we encountered and re-evaluate our options. 

It was another hour before we found a small community on the water front. 

After trying to speak with a few people we were pointed towards a few men by their boats behind a restaurant. As it turns out, the only way to explore the bay properly is by boat tour and they had never come across anyone who had hiked through the jungle there before. The kayaking from beach to beach and the fishing boats which can take you back to mainland for a few BRL we had read about turned out to be a myth! One of the boat tour guides very kindly offered to take us back to the mainland in exchange for the 200 BRL it would have cost us for the entire day tour. After some negotiation, a little begging and 15 USD our knight in broken flip-flops bundled us into his speedboat and drove us back at breakneck speeds. Our first speedboat ride!

Tired but in good spirits thanks to our rescuer, we were dropped back at the first beach in time for sunset and a few beers.

So there you have it. We hiked Paraty Mirim so you don't have to. There is a frustrating lack of available information online about the necessity of boat tours at Paraty Mirim. If you want to explore this place properly either pay for the boat tour or bring your own boat.

Next stop, Iguacu.

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