“There is good in everything; it’s just how you choose to look at it. Everything that’s worth it has a price…There are sacrifices. Life is meant to be a challenge, because challenges are what make you grow.” – Gisele Bundchen (Brazilian super model)
It was my husband’s idea to drive a little bit outside Rio because we expected the beaches and the city to be too crowded with people, not just with tourists, because it’s the Carnaval, a big national holiday week in whole Brazil especially in Rio. We knew that 3-4 nights partying might tire us out too.
Although, a friend of mine who lives in Rio discouraged us to rent a car because GPS are a little bit tricky and sometimes “intentionally misleading” so someone will end up in a favela. But another friend of mine too assured me that as long as we don’t drive late at night and we stick to big roads, there’s nothing to be scared of. In our 4 days in Centro and around, we felt more confident to just rent a car because we didn’t feel anything dangerous.
It’s a 3-4hour long drive along BR-101 until we reached this tiny coastal town, Paraty. It is a preserved historical town because it was used to be the port for shipping gold to Portugal to avoid the pirates so they build this town but forgotten when they ran out of gold to export, so now Paraty still preserves its colonial architecture.
We booked our accommodation for 2 nights at Parque Hotel Pereque, one of the hotels along the Paraty Canal, It’s just few steps across the bridge to the town centre which is my favorite area in this town.
I love Paraty because you get pristine beaches surrounded by rainforest jungle, and most of all the town centre has cobblestoned streets with centuries-old houses which I am so fascinated with. I love walking around it because no cars are allowed to get in there and every shop is so interesting.
This town centre gets flooded during high-tide when it’s full moon, cool sin’t!?
The night we arrived Paraty, we went off straight to the town centre to check it out and have our drinks and dinner. When we got there, it was so busy because the carnaval celebration is still on, yeah we forgot this is not just a Rio thing, it’s the whole Brazil!
So yeah, we even followed one bloco marching band and party people on our way back to our hotel because we had no choice but to follow them because of the narrow streets, there’s no other way out, lol!
Apart from the town, there are so many activities like hiking and most popular is island hopping because of several beaches you can find around. Paraty is even the film location of the honeymoon island of Bella and Edward of the Twilight Saga haha! Of course, no more hiking plans for me this time because I am now with my husband who can’t do hiking.
We planned for island hopping or going to Ilha Grande, but when we reached the beach to rent a boat to the islands we decided to just stay at that beach because it’s already beautiful to go farther, besides we were already lazy, lol!
On our way to Ubatuba, we stumbled upon and stopped by Paraty Mirim, or Little Paraty, because we saw a lot of cars going in that direction from BR-101. When we get there, we were welcomed by a more beautiful beach than those we’ve been in Paraty, and that has less crowd too, too bad we cannot stay longer.
What is more interesting in this place is the small chapel just by the beach, and which is apparently the first chapel built by early Portuguese settlers in Paraty. We just had few drinks in one of the snack stalls and we continued our trip to Ubatuba.
I am thankful for old towns like Paraty that still look how it was before, whether it refused to progress in modernity or its government forgotten about them. I love going to old places because it makes me feel happy, and UK’s English Heritage has a recent study or survey already to back it up. It makes me happy because it’s a break for me from what I always see everyday and it teleports me in the past on how it was like to live a simple life, it’s very educational and humbling at the same time.
I’ve been a city girl all my life but I know that one day I might be settling in a much simpler setting like this. It might be challenging at first but I know I will easily adapt to it and will help me grow and happy with the simplicities of life.