Paraty

Paraty is one of the stop off points on many a travellers’ journey round Brazil. It’s a beautiful old colonial town nestled amongst the mountains along the Costa Verde.
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Stunning views over ParatyIt is geared up for tourism, having been rediscovered in the ‘70’s by some hippies. Now, with a lot of foreign (particularly French) investors in the area it has turned into one of Brazil’s top destinations. Built originally as the port for the gold trail by the Portuguese the town lay abandoned once the gold dried up. It is now a thriving tourist empire, with café’s, shops, art galleries and a myriad of fine restaurants to chose from.

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Cobbled Street ParatyIf you are here during Carnival Paraty is a great place to spend your time. It’s more traditional and cultural than Rio and has the strange tradition of bathing in the local mud as part of the celebrations.

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Paraty is also a fabulous place to spend a long weekend. There are a few festivals during the year, which are well worth a viist. The International Festival of Literature http://www.flip.org.br/ is a great cultural event with international and Brazilian. It’s being going a few years now and is going from strength to strength. Paraty Photo Festival is also a beautiful affair. Some of the oldest buildings, normally closed to the public, are opened especially to be used as galleries for the event. http://paratyemfoco.com/ For a fun weekend and some good Brazilian live music head to the annual Pinga (Cachaca) Festival. It’s a slightly different vibe to the literature one, loud music, dancing in the streets and a fair bit of drinking takes place, so be prepared to enjoy yourself. http://www.paraty.com.br/us/

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There are a few great nights to be had in Paraty outside of festival time. Armazen https://www.facebook.com/pages/Armaz%C3%A9m-Paraty/151813644904469 is a delightful café during the day, selling items from Brazils indigenous tribes; the owners have been enthusiasts for collecting items and rewarding the artists with a fair wage for some time. On Saturdays they have a Samba jam session, which welcomes all and is fast building a good reputation for traditional Samba.

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One of my personal favourites a little out of town that’s fabulously romantic for a bite to eat is http://www.legitedindaiatiba.com.br/iindex.htm Le Gite de Indaiatiba is fun by a French/Brazilian couple whose love for food and great hospitality is well renowned in the area.

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Paraty is also a great place to stay in whilst exploring the rest of the area. The beaches in the town itself are not worth visiting, but you can easily hire a boat or take part in a schooner trip if you’d like to see some of the many islands close by. Just stroll down to the harbour and speak to one of the many touts or fishermen there.

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=> Just outside of Paraty there’s also horse-riding up into the mountains and an adventure sports centre, which includes canyoning, rope swings and kyacking. Tours can be arranged from one of the many agencies in the agencies at the entrance of the town.

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If you are with children there’s a really special little puppet theatre, which is a little treasure of a place http://www.teatroespaco.com.br/ well worth a visit.

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There are also numerous galleries around the Historical Centre and it’s easy to spend hours wandering around exploring the town – it’s definitely a great place to spend a long weekend if you have the chance.

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