As happened before the suggestion of other travellers and locals met on the way resulted in beautiful surprises: the small coastal town of Paraty in the state or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is one of them!
A night bus from Sao Paulo drops me in the tiny bus station (“Rodoviaria”) of Paraty in the middle of the night. Despite being a small town I am always in Brazil and I decide to wait the sunrise reading the Lonely planet before walking across the city with another backpacker to reach my hostel with breakfast on the beach: the Chill in Hostel.
Since the first walk in the daybreak lights the town centre shows its wonders with the historical part of the city delimited by chains in order to preserve the colonial aspect in all its glory. The bumpy streets are all made of the original stones and the colourful houses has virtual doors painted on the walls to resemble the original shape of the colonial period.
After a late luxury breakfast on the beach and some chill out on an hammock I join an interesting guided tour that shows the town history starting from the perspective of the Portuguese colonisers arriving on this unknown land from sea after weeks at sea and expanding toward the inland to conquest and exploit. The heart of the city is indeed the dock surrounded by the military to protect and defend from the arriving vessels, the building to receive all the slaves brought along from Africa and the nearby church source of priests to baptise all the slaves upon arrival.. The only idea of enslaving people, transferring them to the other side of the ocean to colonise and smash other cultures gives a strange feeling about what countries from Europe did only few hundreds of years ago…
But the real surprise and singularity of Paraty is disclosed only late in the afternoon with growing tide: the water indeed floods completely the streets of the first block of houses near the sea! What an error by the engineers of the past…
On the contrary the town was designed intentionally this way to make the most of the power of Nature. The water has indeed the effect to clean the streets of the city and reduce in this way the risk of spreading diseases. Needless to say that the houses of this first block were only for the richest happy to get flooded but healthier streets!
Being in Brazil the best way to end the visit is a Cachaça tasting in a shop surrounded by bottles of this traditional liquor of Brazil.
Plenty of beaches in less than an hour bus ride that worth to visit standing to the people at the hostel, but my choice goes for a sail on the water with a boat whose name reflect the energy of the captain: the Gladiator boat!
ùTogether with four new friends we get on board where Thjiago welcome us with what best than a Caipirinha (a cocktail made with brown sugar, fruit and obviously Cachaça!)
We spend the day visiting some of the most beautiful anchor points and beaches of the bay with a stop over for a fresh cooked fish mooring the boat on the jetty of a restaurant.
Definitely a city not to be missed in Brazil!
Even in a long trip like mine I need to make choices and renounce to another day in this angle of Paradise to shortly hop on Illha Grande, my original destination before hearing of Paraty!
Links for Paraty, Brazil:
- Official tourism page: www.paraty.com.br
- Chill Inn Paraty Hostel & Posada: www.chillhostel.com/Paraty-Beach
- Gladiator boat tour: www.facebook.com/Gladiador-O-Barco-de-Paraty-1733379766873492/
- Sabor da Terra: www.paraty.com.br/sabordaterra