Paradise in Paraty


  • São Paulo – Paraty
  • Caipboat boat trip

The bus journey from São Paulo was during the day which gave me a chance to finally see some of the surroundings along the route, as till now I’d had only night buses. I had definitely chosen the best journey for a day trip because we snaked around the mountains of the Costa Verde with views over all the coastal towns below. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, the little girl sat in front of me was very travel sick which slightly took the beauty away, but still incredible views.

I arrived in Paraty around 5pm and my hostel was literally 50m from the bus station. I was thankful for this as the day was unbelievably hot and humid. I quickly checked in, with my initial views of the hostel being quite derogatory. But since I was yet to see the historical colonial centre of Paraty’s old town, I stocked up on food and head out to explore.

Paraty’s streets are gorgeous. They’re cobbled stones which are extremely hard to walk on lined with white-wash walls down the entire row of buildings, and a different colour door on each. So picturesque. With it also being pre-carnival there were street decorations everywhere giving me a very unique experience of the town. Certainly one that I liked a lot!

I wondered in and out of the little shops, around the square and along the cobbled streets (which are seriously hard to walk on!) before purchasing a beach wrap and heading back to the hostel. Here, I made dinner and set about finding something to do with my full day in Paraty the next day.

TripAdvisor raved about the boat trips on offer but I was willing to pay too much money. There were also some lovely beaches and hikes nearby but not ones that were reachable on foot. I spoke to the hostel owner who suggested the Caipboat trip as it was run by a local hostel, had an open bar all day and was relatively cheap. Sounded perfect to me since our hostel didn’t seem all that sociable and I wanted to meet some more lively people.

I head to bed relatively early as I was still detoxing from Flori and the next morning met Camilla and Callum in my room. I had such an interesting conversation with them as Callum worked for PwC and was generally a lovely person to talk to. The hostel breakfast also exceeded all my expectations and raised the view I had of it indefinitely. Anything and everything you could want for a cold breakfast was on offer, including a lot of fruit and not just bread and jam! Well done, Backpackers House.

Since the boat left at 11am and was a fair walk from my hostel, I set out about 10.20am, wondering through the old town and along the river to the main pier. I was the first to arrive which gave me a chance to grab some shade and cool off before others saw me in my sweaty state!

Everyone who joined on the boat seemed to be really lovely and we all got on so well right from the start. I spent most of my morning with Zoe, Jack and Mali until we moored up at our first stop. We all jumped off top deck in to the bath water and yet again I wasn’t even hesitant to get in and swim. I’ve definitely conquered this sea fear whilst travelling, but it helps that sharks don’t live in Brazil.

We fed the little orange and black monkeys with banana, which I’ve got some awesome GoPro footage of. And then we climbed to the top of the cliff and jumped off the side of that too. I’m not sure anyone came away from those rocks without a cut of some sort from the oysters but that’s the price you pay for paradise, I suppose!

Following the monkey island, we sailed around more of what Parati Bay had to offer. There really are some lucky people in this world who get to live with the backdrop of the Costa Verde and mountains whilst sitting on their own secluded tropical island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Paraty was quickly becoming one of my favourite ever beach locations.

We had a few more swim spots before lunch in which we could also access some private beaches. The sand here was coarser which was great for not sticking to anything and everything. This is when I first met Simon and we planned out our joint retirement, purchasing one of the little boats they have and sailing all the Brazilian islands! Turns out one of those boats costs $70,000 Real so it might be a bit of a wait before it’s possible for me on a teaching salary.

Our lunch stop was on an island which served a buffet where you pay by the kilo of food. They offered lots of salads, seafood and Latin American staples including plantain and flour. I hadn’t planned to eat lunch because I was saving money but really couldn’t resist with the assortment of incredible seafood on offer. Fish is such a luxury when travelling!

When lunch finished I was dropping in sweat and very quickly wanted to get back in the water. We’d been speed-boat in to the island as we’d moored quite a bit away but Jack and I tackled the swim since we were both ex-swimmers. We gave Zoe our belongings and dived in! It was nice to have the boat with just a few of us on it for a short while too, meaning we could just relax on top deck, jump and dive in and not worry about getting in someone’s way.

The final stop was in a small bay where turtles are frequently spotted. Here, we got out the ball. Clemont and I initially attempted baseball but it soon become a boat-wide game of throw and catch; something which is quite hard when you’re just treading water and have to rely solely on the power of your arm. I swam in to the beach here too, another 300m or so swim, but it was a beautiful beach and I was so glad that I did. We did also spot a couple of turtles to make the stop worth while.

Heading back towards the town, we took a mini detour via a big flock of birds. This turned out to be a school of dolphins which were so close to us that it was unbelievable to see. It really was the perfect end to our day spent with a really awesome bunch of people.

We decided to continue our day drinking and buy supplies to make more caprinhas which we could take to the beach. As we walked to the shops we also witnessed a car whose handbreak had failed and was sat half-in the water. Some poor person was to have a real shock on their return from sea!

Only about half the group came back to the beach, and in hindsight I don’t blame them as we hadn’t eaten much and alcohol wasn’t the best idea! Still, the Germans, Dutch, French, and Jack made for really good company for the rest of the night. I did have to call it about 10pm as I was really starting to feel quite ill from a lot of sun mixed with day drinking.

I got back to my hostel, cooked some noodles and packed my bag ready to check out in the morning. My conversation with Callum was brief as he was heading out to a Jazz night. He did invite me but I had started feeling even more under the weather by this point and just took myself off to bed. About 2am I woke up (on my 3rd level of bunk bed), clambered down the mammoth ladder and was very ill. This continued for about 4 hours and I was just so, so tired but couldn’t sleep due to nausea. I even considered cancelling my bus to Rio and jus recovering the next day.

Eventually I did sleep and got up again at 8.30am for my bus. However, I couldn’t stomach breakfast or even keep down simple water. I bumped in to Simon at the bus station too and had to ask him to keep watch of my bags each time I ran off to throw up. The bus journey looked like it would be hell but I just fell straight to sleep, waking only for the lunch stop when I was feeling slightly better. I was hopeful the vomiting had stopped and I could just treat the dehydration so that I could enjoy Carnaval once I arrived in Rio.

And that was beautiful Paraty.

So, 118 days in to ‘life from a bag’ and although my Paraty experienced was slightly blurred by illness, it was still absolute paradise and somewhere I’d come back to in a heartbeat. Mum, Dad, you MUST holiday in Brazil’s Costa Verde next. What a dream Brazil has been so far. Now take me on to the party in Rio!!

Gabby x


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