Since our time in Montevideo was extended when we were waiting for a visa, we didn’t get a chance to make it to the beach towns of Punta Del Este, Uruguay or Florianopolis, Brazil as we had planned. I knew that I wanted to make it to the beach and decided to make a stop in Paraty, pronounced Pear-a-chee as it was conveniently located between Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo, where we flew out of Brazil.
We were both really looking forward to our time in Paraty, especially after we had such terrible weather when we were in Rio de Janeiro, but unfortunately the rain followed us. We decided that we would make the best of it and get out as much as we could.
Getting Around Paraty
When we arrived in Paraty we went to grab a taxi. We thought for sure we were getting gringo priced when we were quoted 30R or $7.50 for a short 5 minute ride to our hotel. Not wanting to encourage the taxi mafia, we opted to take a public bus.
The thing about public buses in South America is that the routes are typically extremely poorly marked. Nowhere in the main bus terminal in town was there a map, or a listing of the routes or prices. Fortunately for us, a guy about our age saw us looking extremely confused and offered to help. We were grateful that he spoke English and knew the bus system enough to help us. He told us that we had to get the circular bus which would get us close to our hotel.
We waited for the bus for about 10 minutes and in that time another woman came over and helped us as well. The hospitality of the locals was overwhelming and we were much appreciative of all of the help. After a short bus ride for a bargain price of 2.3R or 58 cents, we arrived at our hotel.
The rest of our time in Paraty we typically walked everywhere. I would not have minded taking the bus, but there were very few times that we saw the bus that we needed to take running on the route. The walks weren’t too bad, the only time that we struggled was when we had a mist type rain that blew and made our umbrellas pretty much useless.
Exploring the City Center in Paraty
Paraty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as many of the buildings are original. We liked the charm of the buildings but struggled with getting around a little bit. All of the streets were made out of very large cobblestones which was challenging to walk on, when you add in the fact that the rain caused puddles everywhere and there were a number of people trying to get through the same streets, it made getting around a bit challenging.
There was a canal which lead from the ocean into town which was quite nice. Docked on the canal were a number of boats which we would have loved to take out on the water – unfortunately the weather did not agree with us.
We had a short window of time where the weather was decent and took the opportunity to take pictures in front of the historic church and along the historic streets. We also saw a few dessert carts that we found fascinating. There were a number of different types of cakes that you could purchase, all of the carts having the exact same options. We toyed with the idea of getting some cake but decided that we didn’t want to risk it possibly being disappointing.
Spending Time at the Beach
Even though we didn’t have the best weather, we still got over to the beach even though it wasn’t nice enough to wear our suits. There were several beaches in the area – a large one by the historic downtown area and smaller ones over by our hotel. We spent most of our time by our hotel as the beaches were quieter and it was easier to get home should the rain start up.
Dining in Paraty
Since we were on the ocean we knew that we wanted to eat seafood for dinner one night. As is typical with us, we wandered for quite a while before we selected a place to eat. It was quite hard as the meals were quite a bit more expensive than food was in Foz do Iguacu or Rio de Janeiro. In fact, it was hard to find anything cheaper than 25R or $6 each which I thought was quite high for Brazil, especially at lunch.
For some reason, the majority of the restaurants offered dishes that served 2. While this could have worked since there were 2 of us, we don’t always want to share the same dish, especially since we don’t know if it is going to be good or not.
Fortunately, we used the large portions to our advantage, eating a large late lunch which filled us up so much that we didn’t need to eat dinner.
Leaving for Sao Paulo
Since our timeline was tight, we purchased our bus tickets leaving Paraty when we arrived at the bus terminal. It was very surprising to me just how few companies operate buses from Paraty since it is so close to both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
Unfortunately for us since there was only 1 bus company, Reunidas that ran the route we needed, we had no option but to take them. Google maps said it would take 3 hours to get from Paraty to Sao Paulo, our bus ended up taking 6.5 hours, more than double what it should have. The driver took a terrible route along the crowded beachfront instead of using the highways, also, as is typical with bus rides in Brazil we stopped numerous times for food on a short ride. We were bummed out that our last bus ride in South America was such a disappointment.
While we had an alright time in Paraty, it wasn’t quite what we expected. We liked that the historical city center had quite a bit of charm but the beaches were not as beautiful as we had thought they would be. If we were able to do it again without having a tight timeline of having to leave, we would have gone north of Rio de Janeiro where the most beautiful beaches in Brazil are located.