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Paraty from the Bay


Location in Rio de Janeiro state.
Country Brazil
Region Southeast
State Rio de Janeiro
 - Mayor José Carlos Porto Neto
 - Total 928.47 km2 (358.5 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2005)
 - Total 33,062
Time zone UTC-3 (UTC-3)
 - Summer (DST) UTC-2 (UTC-2)
Website [1]
Postal Code (CEP): 23970-000

Coordinates: 23°13′10″S 44°42′53″W / 23.21944°S 44.71472°W / -23.21944; -44.71472 Paraty (or Parati) [pronounced Par-a-CHEE] is a preserved Portuguese colonial (1500-1822) and Brazilian Imperial (1822-1889) town. It is located on the Costa Verde (Green Coast), a lush, green corridor that runs along the coastline of the state of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. Paraty has become a popular tourist area in recent years, renowned for the historic town and the coast and mountains in the region.



The town is located on the Bay of Ilha Grande, which is dotted with many tropical islands. Rising up as high as 1,300 meters behind the town are tropical forests, mountains, and waterfalls. It is the southernmost and westernmost city in Rio de Janeiro state.

Paraty is surrounded by many parks and nature preserves, including Serra da Bocaina National Park, Serra do Mar State Park (of São Paulo), the Park Reserve of Joatinga and the Environmental Protection Area of Cairuçu, where the village of Trindade is located. The municipality also includes an indigenous village and an Afro-Brazilian "quilombo."



The temperature in Paraty ranges from 16C to 37C. Its wettest month is February [1] However, sea breezes temper the heat and afternoon rains are common in the summer.

Municipal symbols

Flag of Paraty

The flag of Paraty was adopted on August 12, 1967. The overall colors of the flag represent the following traits: gold signifies strength, silver represents innocence, red is bravery, blue serenity, and green is the color of abundance.

Red, white, and blue are the three colors that have traditionally been used to decorate the historic houses of the city. The colors are displayed in three vertical stripes, with a coat of arms on the center. The large white star on the red stripe symbolizes the first district, and on the blue stripe two small stars represent the second and third districts. The three stars are placed in a triangular form, in homage to the strong presence of Freemasonry in the architecture of the city.

Coat of Arms

The coat of arms shown on the flag was adopted on November 30, 1960. The four quarters of the coat of arms symbolize the following:

  1. The first green-colored quarter on the upper left-hand side with a feathered headdress above two crossed arrows, represents the original inhabitants of the region, the Guaianás tribe.
  2. The second quarter in red with a white oval seal with the royal Portuguese coat of arms surrounded by the word "Remédios," a seal which was used in colonial times to authenticate official documents; Our Lady of Remedies has been patron saint of the town since 1646.
  3. The third quarter, which is white, blue and yellow is an outline of the city and the bay with a superimposed silver fish that is perhaps a reference to Tupi language origin of the city name.
  4. Finally the fourth quarter of blue shows the corner of a colonial house and a wrought-iron rail which is representative of the colonial-style houses that exemplify Paraty.

The flora which supports the red scroll are a branch of coffee tree and a stalk of sugarcane. The scroll itself bears the inscription “1660 Paraty 1844” These are the dates that Paraty initially achieved status as a town and then later city status. Above the shield is a crown consisting of five towers, with the center tower emblazoned with a red shield bearing a gold fleur-de-lis, which symbolizes Our Lady of Remedies, the patron saint of the city.


Paraty was founded formally as a town by Portuguese colonizers in 1667, in a region populated by the Guaianás Indians.

The Guaianás people who lived where the city now stands called the entire area “Paraty”. In the Tupi language “Paraty” means “river of fish”. Even today the Brazilian Mullet (Mugil Brasiliensis) still come back to spawn in the rivers that spill into the Bay of Paraty. When the region was colonized by the Portuguese, they adopted the Guaianás name for their new town.

The Gold Trail

After the discovery of the world's richest gold mines in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais, Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and from there on to Portugal. The ensuing gold rush led to the construction of the "Caminho do Ouro" or "Gold Trail", a 1200 kilometer road, paved in steep areas with large stones, which connected Paraty to Diamantina via Ouro Preto and Tiradentes. Not only was it was used to transport gold to Paraty, but it was also used to convey supplies, miners and African slaves by mule train over the mountains to and from the gold mining areas. Two substantial sections of the Caminho do Ouro have been excavated near Paraty and are now a popular tourist destination for hiking.

The Gold Trail fell into disuse because of attacks on the gold laden ships bound for Rio de Janeiro by pirates who frequented the islands and coves of the Bay of Angra dos Reis. Eventually a safer overland route from Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro was created because of these pirate raids. Finally, the gold itself began to run out in the late 1700s, and Paraty declined.

The Gold Trail was submitted for inclusion on the World Heritage List in August 2004.

Economic Revival

The city's economic activity revived as a port for a new boom, the coffee trade of the Paraiba do Sul River Valley in the early 1800s, until a railway along the valley created cheaper transport to the port of Rio de Janeiro. Another smaller revival came late in the 19th century with the production of cachaça, which is a sugarcane-derived spirit best known today as the basis for Brazil's most famous drink, the caipirinha. The name "Paraty" in that period became synonymous with cachaça. Since then, Paraty has been out of the mainstream, which is why it did not change for centuries, until a paved road was built from Rio de Janeiro to Santos, near São Paulo, in the 1970s. The city then began a new cycle of activity, which transformed a small, almost abandoned town living on very limited economic activity, mainly fishing and agriculture (bananas, manioc, sugarcane]] into a tourism destination.


Paraty is known for the cobblestone-paved streets throughout the Historic Center District. No cars or trucks are allowed in this part of town, only foot traffic or bicycles. Motor vehicles are only allowed in the Historic District on Wednesdays for deliveries. Horses and carts are a very common sight in Paraty and are frequently used all around the city.

Paraty has been able to maintain many of its historic buildings. Much of the architecture of the city has not changed for 250 years or more.


There are four important historic baroque churches in Paraty:

Capela de Santa Rita (Chapel of Saint Rita)

Capela de Santa Rita is the oldest church in Paraty. It was completed in 1722. This was the church of the white elite and freeman, former slaves. It is currently home to the Museum of Sacred Art.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário e São Benedito (Church of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Benedict)

This church was built and used by Paraty’s African slaves. It dates back to the year 1725. The church has a much simpler, more rustic style than the other three churches in Paraty. Every year in the first week of December the festivities of São Benedito are held in this church.

Capela de Nossa Senhora das Dores (Chapel of Our Lady of Sorrows)

This chapel dates back to 1800. It was used mostly by the rich women of society. Construction was overseen by the presiding priest, Father Antonio Xavier da Silva Braga. The building was later renovated in 1901. The image of Nossa Senhora da Piedade was stolen from this chapel. It was finally recovered in the 1990s, and now can be seen at the Museum of Sacred Art in the Capela de Santa Rita.

Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Remédios (First Church of Our Lady of the Remedies)

Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Remédios is the largest church in Paraty. It takes up over an entire city block. Its construction began in 1646 when a woman named Maria Jácome de Melo donated the land for the construction of the village of Paraty, however she demanded two conditions: The first was the building of a chapel dedicated to Nossa Senhora dos Remédios and the second was that no one would harm the Indians that lived in the area at that time. The church was completed in 1873.

Capela da Generosa (Chapel of the Generous Woman)

Additionally there is a very small chapel called Capela da Generosa which according to legend, was constructed in 1901 by the order of a generous female patron, in memory of Teodoro. Teodoro supposedly drowned in the river Perequê-Açu when he tried to fish on Holy Friday, a day on which according to tradition it was not recommend to fish.

Capela Nossa Senhora da Conceição (Chapel of Our Lady of the Conception)

There are also historical churches in two nearby small villages, Paraty Mirim and Penha.

Paraty-Mirim (Little Paraty) is the site of first chapel built by settlers in the region around Paraty (1686). At the time of its construction Paraty-Mirim an important commercial center and thriving village. Today however, all that remains there are the church itself and a scattering private homes. Although in recent years the tourist trade has grown there due to the pristine beaches in the area and Paraty-Mirim now has a few small inns, a couple of restaurant/bars and offers boat tours.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha (Church of Our Lady of the Rock)

This church is unique in that it was built on top of a huge boulder in the small hamlet of Penha, just outside Paraty. The church is located directly across from the Tourist Information Center at the trail-head of the Caminho do Ouro.


There are two colonial forts in Paraty:

Forte Defensor

Forte Defensor was built in 1703 and outfitted with six cannons for the protection of the city’s important commercial warehouses. With the aforementioned economic decline of the region, it was in ruins until 1822, when it was reconstructed and dedicated to Emperor Dom Pedro I. Some historians believe that it was at the fort that the first nucleus of the town began, in that the area around the fort is still referred to as the "Old Village."

Ruins of the old, rock defensive walls together with the cannons can still be seen today. It is also home to a Powder House for storing explosives - one of the few still existing in Brazil. Forte Defensor is one of seven fortifications that were built around the harbor of Paraty, two of them being in the city. All of the others that were constructed outside the city are now only ruins.

Forte Patitiba [Cadeia Antiga]

What is left of this Fort, also known as Cadeia Antiga (the Old Jail) is a smallish structure which for a while was also used as a prison. It is found in the plaza of Santa Rita, next to the church of same name. Constructed in the beginning of 18th century, the building was part of a larger Forte Patitiba, the other blockhouse built in the city for defense of the harbor. In the nineteenth century it was decommissioned and today it houses the local Public Library.

There are also many colorful, colonial houses (refurbished in most cases), many of which have been transformed into shops, pousadas (Brazilian bed and breakfasts), restaurants and bars.

Flooded Streets

Thanks to Portuguese engineering involving an ingenious curvature of the cobblestone streets, Paraty is home to a unique phenomenon. Once a month when there is a Full Moon and the tide is high, seawater rises from its normal levels, and pours into the Historic Center District through special openings in the seawalls that separate the city from the harbor. The streets are only flooded for a short time, until the tide recedes. The water is usually only six to ten inches deep and a few merchants near the seawall put out small bridges to span the flooded streets for the benefit of pedestrians.


Paraty is divided into 12 neighborhoods. They are as follows:

  • Caboré
  • Centro Historico
  • Fátima
  • Ilha das Cobras
  • Jabaquara
  • Mangueira
  • Parque Imperial
  • Parque Ypê
  • Patitiba
  • Portal de Paraty
  • Saudade

& Vila Colonial

Culture and Tourism

There are many musical and cultural events, the most prominent of which is the FLIP - Festa Literaria Internacional de Paraty (International Literary Festival of Paraty). The town is also known for its local festivals on Catholic holy dates, such as the Feast of the Holy Ghost.

The Casa da Cultura Paraty (House of Culture) occupies an historic 18th century house originally built in 1754 [2] which opened to the public in 2004 [3] and holds a permanent exhibition on local history and culture. In the Salon of Indigenous Culture, visitors can see the “carpets” made of colored sawdust and flower petals used during the festival of Corpus Christi in June. The largest is almost 92 square feet. The “carpet” is protected by glass so that visitors walk on it as they enter.

Paraty played the part of the Bahian town of Ilheus in the 1983 film "Gabriela" based on the novel "Gabriela, Cravo e Canela" by Jorge Amado. The film was directed by Bruno Barreto and starred Sonia Braga and Marcello Mastroianni. [4]


Paraty airport can be reached from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo by chartered helicopter or small commercial and private aircraft because presently it has no scheduled flights.

Another possibility of transport is to arrive by sea by way of a sailboat or cruise ship from Rio de Janeiro, Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande.

Paraty is connected by road to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo (via road BR-101). Air-conditioned buses leave to go back and forth from Rio to Paraty and Paraty to Rio.

Distance from other Brazilian cities


External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Paraty (also spelled Parati) [1] is a coastal historic town in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was first settled by the Portuguese in 1667. Its old churches, cobbled streets and nearby forests, waterfalls, islands and emerald-green sea attract lots of tourists interested in mixing cultural tourism and more natural settings.

Paraty and its mountains
Paraty and its mountains


Paraty grew in the 18th century as a strategically important port for exporting the gold mined in Minas Gerais. When shipments in nearby Rio began to attract the attention and ambition of pirates and privateers from rival European powers, the Portuguese began using Paraty as their safe port for getting their gold to Lisbon. Together with Ouro Preto, the town was part of the Royal Road (Caminho Real or Caminho do Ouro, Gold Road), a route used to export gold in colonial times. It was also an obligatory sleep-over stop for travelers between Rio and São Paulo until the late 1800s, when the inner road was opened. This caused Paraty to be forgotten, stalled in time, away from "progress" and disfiguration and helped it preserve its old city as it was in the past. In the 1970s, it was rediscovered as a popular tourist destination.

Get in

Paraty can be reached by air from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, but only by chartered helicopter or small commercial and private aircraft because it only has a very small airstrip.

Another possibility of transport is to arrive by sea by way of a sailboat or cruise ship from Rio de Janeiro, Angra dos Reis and Ilha Grande.

Paraty is connected by road to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo (via road BR-101). Air-conditioned buses leave to go back and forth from Rio to Paraty and Paraty to Rio. Buses to and from Rio depart about nine times a day for R$49.00 The trip takes about four hours. The trip to and from São Paulo takes about six hours and costs about R$37.00.

Matriz square
Matriz square

The historic town is compact and can be covered on foot; cars, save for taxis picking up or dropping passengers, are not allowed into the historic city center. The rough boulders of the old city streets would quickly destroy the shocks of most cars anyway.

Buses to the beautiful village and beaches at Trindade and outlying beaches leave form the Bus Station. Buy tickets onboard approximately R$3 to Trindade.

  • The historic center - cobbled streets, old buildings, churches etc.
  • Beaches - Especially in Trindade: Cachadaço, do Meio, etc.
  • Islands - Ilha dos Meros has the best diving conditions
  • Waterfalls - Pedra Branca and Andorinhas
  • Puppet theatre - 2 weekly presentations of a famous puppet group
  • Casa da Cultura - a cultural center
  • Forte Defensor Perpétuo - Perpetual Defender fortress, a 18th-century stronghold built with British cannons to defend the gold against British privateers
  • A boat trip through the bay. You can even find your own private beach on one of more than 300 islands. Small boats are available for charter near the river mouth. Negotiate a price before leaving.
  • Diving
  • FLIP[2] - This literature festival usually takes place in July. It gathers some of the best national writers and guest international authors. Hotels can get pretty crowded, book well in advance for this period.
  • Dance with the locals at bar/clubs in the main square, Lado B da Praça or Dinho's Bar, or in Paraty 33
  • Snorkeling in the bay. When you rent a small boat (and hire the driver for the afternoon) you can ask about getting a mask and snorkel. They'll also supply you with fish food. You just jump off in the middle of the bay and float around feeding fish.
  • Trekking & Guided Walks the Caminho do Ouro/ Gold Trail. Access located in the Paraty-Cunha road. Lots of trails through the Atlantic Rainforest to tropical beaches, like Praia do Sono. English speaking guides at ""
  • Kayaking in the bay to islands, beaches and mangrove.
  • Paraty Explorer, (), [3]. Rainforest Hiking and Kayaking in the Bay with English speaking guides with expert local knowledge. Also offers educational Eco-farming in Rainforest tour. Day Trips and Multi-day short breaks and adventures available.  edit
  • Cachaça - Paraty is one of the famous producers in Brazil, as in fact a century ago cachaça was known as parati. Dozens of excellent brands are available.
  • Porto Entreposto Cultural, Rua do Comercio #14 (Historical center), +55 24 3371-1058, [4]. 6PM-. Amazing Brazilian/European menu. Good selection of wines. $R25 for a main.  edit
  • sereia do mar, Av Praia do Jabaquara 33 (800 metres from the town centre looking out onto one of paratys most beautiful and tranquil beaches), +55 24 337111930 for delivery and resavations, [5]. Open from 5PM-11PM. With 24 varieties of pizza and over 10 other main dishes this restaurant has a mouthwatering menu to satisfy all tastes not to mention an excellent wine list. With live music on weekends and both helpful and friendly staff a visit to this restaurant is a must. From R$14 for a main course and from R$19 for a large 8 slice pizza.  edit
  • Casa do Fogo bistrô, Rua Comendador José Luiz 390 (Historical center), +55 24 81271644 for resavations (), [6]. Open from 5PM-1AM. Casa do Fogo serves flambées specialities, all flambée with cachaça - seafood, vegetables and fruits, on the menu you also find meat, chicken, vegetarian, pastas and moquecas. From R$10 for a starter to R$82 for a flambée seafood paella for two.  edit
  • Merlin o Mago, Rua do Comércio 376 (in historic town center), 24 3371 2157. Fantastic french restaurant; very small but excellent food and drink. A German head chef settled in Paraty to run a French restaurant, and succeeded marvelously. The seafood is caught mere meters from the restaurant, as fresh as can be!  edit
  • Restaurant Grao da Terra, Avenue Roberto Silveira, 328 - Galeria Gibrail, +55 (24) 3371-8626, [7]. 9am to 9 pm. Fully vegetarian restaurant with daily menus and a wide range of fruit juices and salads. Great ambience and great hosts.. 9 USD.  edit
  • Restaurante Grao da Terra, Ave. Roberto Silveira, Loja No. 9, Galeria G'brail, [8]. A fully vegetarian restaurant with daily menu and a range of fruit juices and salads to choose from. Great hosts and ambience, and wifi too..!!  edit
  • Cervejaria Caborê, Av. Otávio Gama, 100 (in Caborê, along river Perecé), +55 24 3371-2248, [9]. mon-fri 5PM-12PM, sat-sun 11AM-12PM. Bar-restaurant of local brewery. Home of the Caborê draft.  edit
  • Cachaça. Either in the bars and restaurants of Paraty or at one of the distilleries where they still make cachaça the traditional way.  edit


The Historic Centre suits visitors wanting to be where the action is. It can however be busy and noisy particularly at night so its worth considering staying outside and walking or cycling in. There are over 200 pousadas in the area.

  • The Eco-farm (Organic farmhouse lodging in the rainforest), Rod Rio-Santos km 552 (30 mins from Paraty, then hike through the rainforest), +55 (24) 9952 4496 (, [10]. Family-run organic farm, only accessible by trail through the rainforest. Experience life on the farm, learn about organic farming, natural medicines and rainforest preservation. Private rooms, dorm accommodations or camping options.  edit
  • Pousada Guarana, Rua: 5, 13 Portal 23970 000 (20min walk from Old Town), +55 24 3371-6362, [11]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Pousada Guarana is a quiet and tranquil B&B located in a residential neighborhood, 20-minute walk from the city center and away from loud streets. Owned by Brazilian wife and American husband. The inn is full of amazing artistic touches, the rooms are huge and comfy, and the daily poolside breakfast is fantastic. Average year round rate: $60USD Double occupancy. (23°12'47.33S,44°44'9.47W) edit
  • Corumbe Beach Villas (Beachfront villas for rent), Rod Rio-Santos km 179, Praia do Corumbe, (6km from Paraty Old Town), +55 (24) 9999 8834, [12]. Beautiful and charming Villas with 4 and 6 ensuite bedrooms with private pool and jacuzzi, right on the beach. Stunning views.  edit
  • Pousada Bambubamboo, R. Glauber Rocha, +55-24-3371-8629, [13]. Tranquil award winning pousada in a beautiful riverfront location. Six split level rooms and six standard Garden rooms overlooking landscaped gardens and pool. Sauna, steam room, outdoor hottub and spa with resident masseur. English and Brazilian owners live on the property and provide genuine and generous hospitality. Spacious guest lounge and free wi-fi. All rooms come with silent aircon, coffee machines and original artworks. The buffet breakfast overlooking the river is the perfect start to the day. R$250.  edit

Historical Center

The historical center has plenty of charming hotels and pousadas. Cheaper options can be found at the newer neighborhoods, outside the tourist area. Watch out for the busy periods of FLIP (see Do above), Carnival and New Year's.

  • Pousada Arte Urquijo, Rua Dona Geralda, 79 (in Centro Histórico, close to Santa Rita), ''+55 024'' 33711362, [14]. checkout: noon. One of the coziest and most charming accommodations in the city. You get you own (to keep) slippers to use inside on the clean floors. A/C, safe from $R300 including breakfast.  edit
  • Pousada do Cais - R. travessa Santa Rita nº 20, (24) 3371-1200 [15] Located in the Postcard of paraty ,in the historic center. Pousada do cais is a restaured lord house from the XVII century. Made with rich materials, this hotel preserved the colonial achitecture and style. Has the luxous apartment with the best view of the harbor and bay.
  • Pousada Porto Imperial, R. Ten. Francisco Antonio s/n, (24) 3371-2323 (fax (24) 3371-2111, ), [16]. Right into the historic center, this hotel is set in a colonial house next to the Matriz church. Many of the air-conditioned rooms are located at the internal patio and garden. R$200-R$340 (check out high/low season prices).
  • Pousada Bromelias - [17] Bungalows,waterfall,natural swimming pool, gastronomy, massages and body treatments, ofuro bath, sauna beside waterfall,tennis.55(24)3371-2791
  • Misti Chill (BeachFront Hostel), Rua Orlando Carpinelli, 3 - Praia do Pontal (In Praia do Pontal in Town), +55 24 3371-2545 (), [18]. Cool Beachfront Hostel in Twon. Free Pick-Up, Breakfast, all rooms ensuite. Dorms From R$19 - Private Rooms from R$59.  edit
fishing boats
fishing boats
  • Principe, Av. Roberto Silveira, 289 (One block from the Bus Station), +55 24 3371-2266 (, fax: +55 24 3371-2120), [19]. Pousada with rooms around an internal garden. From $R 115.  edit
  • Sereia do mar, Av. Praia do Jadaquara 33 (800 metres from town centre), +552433711930 (), [20]. Hostel is situated in front of and only ten metres from Jabaquara beech and 800 metres from town centre.The hostel offers an excellent complimentary buffet breakfast internet access pool and ping pong tables along with a wide variety of tours including kayak jeep and boat excursions. The hostel also has a fully stocked bar and an excellent restaurant. Prices from R$25 for dorm room and R$60 for double.  edit
  • Misti Chill (Hostel Paraty), Rua Orlando Carpinelli, 3 (Beach Front - Pontal Neighbourhood), +552433712545 (), [21]. [22] and Pousada - Dorms from US$11 - Cool Atmosphere - free pick-up and Breakfast Te. +55 (0)21 3521-7234 - right on the beach with an amazing view. Dorms from R$19 - Privates From R$79.  edit
  • Geko Hostel & Pousada (Paraty Hostel), (), [23]. - Geko Hostel is located at Praia Pontal, only 3 minutes away from the historical center of Paraty and also near everything you may need. This hostel in front of the sea has a quiet and relaxed environment where you can enjoy a caipirinha, make friends from all over Brazil and the world, read a book, play the guitar or anything else you may enjoy. +55 (0) 24 3371 2507 | Rua Orlando Carpinelli, 5 | Praia do Pontal.  edit


There are plenty of internet cafes just outside the historical centre. You can't avoid seeing one while walking a few blocks along the main street.

  • Angra dos Reis
  • Cunha
  • Trindade - Popular beach in an old village. Buses once per hour at around 45 after.
  • Penha from where you can walk to the distillery. Around 30 minutes by bus.
Routes through Paraty
Rio de JaneiroAngra dos Reis  N noframe S  UbatubaSantos
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