About 300km from Rio on the BR-101 is the Costa Verde’s main attraction, the town of PARATY. Inhabited since 1650, the centre of Paraty (or, officially, Vila de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios de Paraty) has remained fundamentally unaltered since its heyday as a staging post for the eighteenth-century trade in Brazilian gold, passing from Minas Gerais to Portugal. Before Portuguese settlement, the land had been occupied by the Guaianá Indians, and the gold routes followed the old Indian trails down to Paraty and its sheltered harbour. Inland raids and pirate attacks necessitated the establishment of a new route linking Minas Gerais directly with Rio, and, as trade was diverted to the bigger city, Paraty’s fortunes declined. Apart from a short-lived boom in the nineteenth century of coffee shipping and the production of cachaça, Paraty remained hidden away off the beaten track, intact but quietly stagnating. Nowadays, however, Paraty is very much alive; UNESCO considers it one of the world’s most important examples of Portuguese colonial architecture, and the entire city has the status of a national monument.

Paraty is a perfect place simply to wander aimlessly, each turn of the corner bringing another picturesque view. The town’s small enough that there’s no danger of getting lost and, no matter what time of day or night, you can feel confident about your safety. Additionally, there are several buildings worth seeking out if you don’t happen to come across them.

 

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Brazil features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Amazing new aerial images show uncontacted tribe in Brazil

Amazing new aerial images show uncontacted tribe in Brazil

Incredible aerial images of one of the Amazon rainforest's uncontacted tribes have been released by Survival International. The pictures, taken by photographer …

18 Nov 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil

A sex-themed amusement park is set to open in Brazil

Forget about virtual-reality roller coasters, the future of theme parks just got a whole lot raunchier. Developers in Brazil are planning to build an adults…

13 May 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
23 brilliant pictures of Brazil

23 brilliant pictures of Brazil

This year sees the Olympics and Paralympics take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If you're heading to Brazil to catch any of the sporting action, here are a fe…

04 Mar 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month