A hop, skip and jump (ok, 4 hour bus ride) from the world famous Rio de Janeiro along the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Brazil lies the little UNESCO heritage town of Paraty, sometimes spelt Parati, but always pronounced Para-Chee.
A little piece of Portugal in tropical Brazil, Paraty was a blast from the past, chock full of old colonial architecture, cobbled streets, horse drawn carriages and old men peddling sweets in carts. A port town, Paraty is decidedly working class, and the simple, almost rough hewn architecture reflects that fact. In the 1800s when gold was still flowing from the mines up in Minas Gerais, Paraty was the port the Portuguese used to ferry the loot out of the country and to imperial coffers in Lisbon. When that gold dried up, Paraty fell in importance and faded into the annals of history, a mass exodus left the town almost empty, but it also meant that the buildings remained preserved in time without too much degradation all these years.
A relatively small town, Paraty can be covered by foot, and we spent few days there wandering about the cobbled lanes an amidst the beautiful buildings with their trademark windows. Late afternoons were spent sipping Agua de Coco on the beach, with Samba blaring from tinny speakers hung up in the trees on the sand. After our crazy time in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, it seemed a rather stark contrast that nobody seemed to be in any kind of hurry in Paraty.
And it suited us just fine.
Restaurant staff prepare for the dinnertime crowd
Life moves at a much slower pace than the big cities we arrived from
The largest church in Paraty, Igreja Matriz Nossa Senhora do Rosário, is a prominent of landmark of the town, set amongst a multitude of national parks
The historic old town of Paraty is a UNESCO World Heritage site
The oldest church in Paraty, Capela de Santa Rita was built in 1722 by former slaves who had earned or paid for their liberty
Ancient cobblestones line the streets of the old town
Long after the gold rush and coffee days, tourism now plays an important role in the economy of the town
The Capela de Nossa Senhora das Dores used to be a church for aristocrats and the well heeled
Horse pulled carriages still ply the streets of the own town. These days, instead of crates of gold or coffee, the load is more likely to be wide eyed tourists
The port of Paraty at dusk
I left my job as an advertising Creative Director in August 2012 to travel Africa and South America for a year with my wife, documenting these beautiful places with my Fuji X-Pro1. View the rest of my RTW adventures on Handcarry Only and follow me on my journey by subscribing/following/bookmarking.