Paraty - A Piece of Paradise
I love Brazil, though I have to admit I’m biased, since I am Brazilian. Being a native has its advantages and has allowed me to see many fantastic parts of the country that tourists often miss. One of my favorites is Paraty (pronounced Par-a-CHEE), a most charming, colonial town on the Brazilian coast.
Paraty is steeped in history; most notably the gold rush, pirates and production of cachaça, the basis for Brazil's most famous drink, the caipirinha. Founded by the Portuguese in 1667, the town was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1958.
Paraty is located between Brazil’s two largest cities, Rio & Sao Paulo, and is well known for its whitewashed churches and car free, cobblestone streets. In the evenings, people wander through town looking for small locally made souvenirs while enjoying exotic ice cream flavours.
The best way to enjoy Paraty - like a local - is to stay in a bed and breakfast or “pousada” as they say in Brazil, of which there are many. I prefer to stay in a pousada very close to the shore. In the mornings, they serve a wonderful breakfast - with ripe Brazilian fruits, freshly baked baguettes, white cheese, cold cuts and unique cheese bread balls, famously known as “pão de queijo” – that will keep you full and happy right until lunch.
After breakfast, I like to catch a boat destined to one of the many islands in the region. The clear, warm waters of the Atlantic ocean and the view of the lush rainforest make Paraty a piece of absolute paradise.