Paraty is an adorable small colonial town on Brazil’s southeast coast. Its historic center is renowned for its characteristic whitewashed houses with colorful doors and windows. Escape from the hustle of big cities and wander through the tranquil cobblestone streets, enjoy a lazy afternoon by the beach, or hike hidden waterfalls.

We absolutely fell in love with this place. So here’s a list of the best things to do in Paraty for you to enjoy this charming town as well.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: The colorful colonial coast town

10 Best Things to Do in Paraty

Despite its small size, Paraty is a town rich in opportunities to have a great time. Paraty offers an unforgettable blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation.

1. Admire the colorful houses in the Historic Center

Paraty has one of Brazil’s most beautiful city centers! It is filled with charming colonial white houses with vividly colored doors and window frames. Dotted with churches and mansions from the 18th and 19th centuries, this area is best explored through leisurely strolls along its narrow cobbled streets.

During your walk, don’t miss Matriz Square and the picturesque Santa Rita church. As night falls, the center comes alive with lots of street-side dining options at the local restaurants.

For us the rich history of this small coastal town truly came to life during the free walking tour in Paraty – an excellent way to learn more about the region’s and Brazil’s fascinating past.
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Santa Rita
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Wander in the colorful streets of the historic center
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Walking in the historic center

2. Visit a Cachaça Distillery

In the past, Paraty used to be a significant economic hub known for its sugar cane distilleries producing cachaça – Brazil’s famous spirit. Cachaça is to Brazil what tequila is to Mexico, and rum is to Cuba. And because this beverage is such a crucial part of the town’s history, you have to visit one of the distilleries.

The most popular distillery is Alambique Eugenho D’Ouro. Other great ones in the area worth visiting are Alambique Paratiana, Alambique Cachaça Pedra Branca, and Cachaça Coqueiro.

To explore the distilleries outside Paraty, the easiest option is booking a guided tour. These tours cover multiple distilleries, offering insights into cachaça-making and tastings. Often, they include extra activities like waterfall visits. Expect to pay 70 BRL (≈ 14 USD) to 200 BRL (≈ 41 USD) for a cachaca tour.

You can also visit the distilleries on your own by car or taxi. The distilleries often have guides who can give you a tour in English.

3. Sip a Caipirinha at Praia do Pontal

Paraty’s beach Praia do Pontal might not be ideal for swimming due to murky waters, but its beach restaurants are ideal for savoring a glass of caipirinha with some live music. Paraty is renowned for its cachaça, so there’s no better place to try this famous beverage.

You cannot leave without trying the special Jorge Amado cocktail, mixing a unique cinnamon and clove-infused cachaça called Gabriela with passion fruit, lime, and, of course, lots of ice! Just a heads up – the caipirinhas in Brazil can pack quite a punch, so sip them slowly.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Praia do Pontal

4. Go beach-hopping on a Boat

While the beaches directly in Paraty town may not be the highlight, the surrounding area offers over 60 islands with countless stunning tropical beaches. Many are secluded and accessible only by boat, making them ideal for relaxing beach time. So, jump on a boat and explore gems like Lula da Praia, Praia Vermelha, Ilha Comprida, Ilha do Mantimento, and Ilha do Algodão.

Boat tours usually depart at 11 a.m. and return five hours later, offering snorkeling gear, and the option to purchase drinks and lunch on board. Prices for the day trip range from 30-70 USD depending on your selected package.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Go island-hopping

5. Enjoy the paradise beaches in Trinidade

Trindade won our hearts and stands out as one of the absolute highlights in Paraty. An idyllic paradise on earth, Trindade is the perfect destination for a day trip from Paraty. This charming village offers not only four pristine beaches with turquoise waters but also a nice natural pool and a waterfall with a unique rock formation that swallows you.
Relevant Reading
Trinidade Travel Guide - Explore Brazils Best Beaches (Praia do Cachadaço)

Trinidade is about 25 km south of Paraty. You can easily get there by car or local bus. The buses leave the bus terminal every full hour and the ticket costs 5 BRL (≈ 1 USD) only.

For us the rich history of this small coastal town truly came to life during the free walking tour in Paraty – an excellent way to learn more about the region’s and Brazil’s fascinating past.
Trinidade Travel Guide - Explore Brazils Best Beaches (Praia do Cachadaço)
Trinidade Travel Guide - Explore Brazils Best Beaches (Praia do Rancho)
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Enjoy the paradisical beaches of Trinidade

6. Swim in the waterfalls

If you’ve had your fill of idyllic beaches, the Paraty region also offers many waterfalls to escape the heat. Visit the popular Pedra Branca Waterfall with a nice lake at the bottom — a perfect spot for a refreshing swim. For a more adventurous experience, Tobogã Waterfall lets you slide down a large rock into a pool, promising lots of fun. Tarzan Falls is yet another enticing option for cooling off.

You can visit the waterfalls independently by car or book a 3-5 hour tour for 25-45 USD (usually combined with visiting Cachaca distilleries).

7. Buy souvenirs at Lapa and Comércio streets

Lapa and Comércio streets are perfect for some shopping in Paraty. You’ll find plenty of unique local products from handicrafts, art, clothes, books, and souvenirs, to of course, cachaça, a popular buy here. And even if you’re not so into shopping, it’s also a great area for a stroll, feeling the lively vibe of Paraty’s streets.
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Shop some souvenirs
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Shop some souvenirs

8. Hike at Saco do Mamanguá Fjords and Sugarloaf

The world’s only tropical fjord, Saco do Mamanguá, is just about 20 km from Paraty. It shelters a few communities of fisherman and many golden beaches surrounded by jungle and a beautiful turquoise sea.

For the best views over this unique place, you can hike up to the Mamanguá Peak. There is a 440 meters (1,444 feet) elevation gain, making the short 2 km (1 miles) hike a bit challenging. You should reach the peak in about one hour. In the end, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panoramic view of the fjord and beyond.

Take a boat from either Paraty or a small village Mirim to get to Praia do Cruzeiro beach where the trail starts to climb the hill for amazing views of the bay and the surrounding area. A boat to the main beaches of the fjords cost approximately 400 BRL (≈ 81 USD) (maximum of 6 people).

While this is something you could do on your own, for inexperienced hikers we recommend going with a local guide who knows the way (a tour costs about 85 USD).

9. Hike the Gold Trail

In case you are up to more hiking, consider spending a half-day walking along the Paraty’s Gold Trail. This historical route was built by slaves in the 18th century to ensure the Portuguese could export precious metals from the mines of Minas Gerais to the port of Paraty. Today, The Gold Trail is a popular hiking trail. For a deeper understanding of its fascinating history, consider joining a guided tour.
You can combine the hike with visiting the Tobogã Waterfall and the Engenho do D’Ouro distillery near the Paraty-Cunha road in the community of Vila do Penha.
IMG 7668 1 scaled

10. Kayak in the mangroves

Another exciting water activity in Paraty is to kayak through the mangroves and beaches around Paraty Bay. The bay’s calm, warm waters make it ideal even for inexperienced kayakers, offering stunning views of tropical islands and hidden beaches at every turn.

You can simply rent a kayak at Praia do Jabaquara or join a 2-3 hour guided tour through the mangroves for 30-55 USD.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Kayak in the mangroves

How to get to Paraty?

You can only get to Paraty by land. Drive on your own or take a bus to reach this beautiful costal town.

You may come across a common problem tourists stumble upon when traveling around Brazil: Most booking platforms require you to provide a CEP and CPF number. Those numbers are the postal address register and an individual tax number. And while you can register to get those numbers, it’s a complicated process. So, more often than not, we ended up buying the ticket at the bus terminal directly.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: How to get to Paraty

From Rio de Janeiro to Paraty by bus

It’s a 5-hour trip from the Rio de Janeiro Bus Terminal Rodoviário Novo to Paraty. Buses of Costa Verde company leave regularly and ticket costs 99 BRL (≈ 20 USD). Check the schedule and buy your tickets online with Passagens Costa Verde (no CPF required).

From São Paulo to Paraty by bus

The journey from Tietê Bus Terminal in São Paulo to Paraty takes 6 hours. Three bus companies are operating on the route – Reunidas, Primar, and Flixbus. One-way ticket costs from 115 BRL (≈ 23 USD) to 220 BRL (≈ 45 USD).

Given a CEP and CPF, you can buy those tickets online or ask a Brazilian friend to book them for you. If you are not able to book your ticket online, you can buy them with your passports at the bus terminal in São Paulo.

From Ilhabela to Paraty by bus

The bus connections between Ilhabela and Paraty are not the most frequented and thus there is only a day and night bus leaving from Sao Sebastião to Paraty.

Still, we managed to get on one of the two buses on our journey through Brazil. We booked our ticket with a company called Util Guanbara.

Buy your ticket in advance to secure your place, as it was fully booked out on the day we planned to travel. If we remember correctly, we were able to book the ticket online with a “generated” CEP and CPF number.

The journey takes 4,5 hours and the ticket costs from 41 BRL (≈ 8 USD) to 110 BRL (≈ 22 USD) (depending on the time of booking).

From Ilha Grande to Paraty by bus

You can get from Angra dos Reis to Paraty with a bus company called Colitur.

Buses leave from Angra dos Reis every 1,5-2 hours and with only 1 hour and 40 minutes, it’s a fairly short journey. A ticket costs around 20 BRL (≈ 4 USD).

Where to stay in Paraty?

Staying in one of the colonial houses in the Historical Centre is the perfect option, having the best restaurants and shops just at the doorstep. However, expect to pay more for the charm.

For a more budget-friendly option, consider booking accommodation in the Pontal or Rodoviaria regions, which are just a few minutes walk from the bustling town center.

Where to eat in Paraty?

Paraty has a spectacular food scene with lots of diverse culinary offerings. For a perfect combination of great flavors and ambiance, secure a spot at a table on the cobbled streets of the charming historic center. Oh, and you cannot miss the freshly caught seafood, grilled to perfection. It’s simply mouthwatering.
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Where to eat
Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Culinary delight

How to get around Paraty?

Paraty’s Historic Center is wonderfully compact, making it easy to explore on foot. Most of it is a pedestrian-only zone. And with the charming cobblestone streets and historic architecture, you will enjoy wandering around and soaking in the peaceful atmosphere.

However, it’s probably better to leave your high heels at home, since the cobblestone streets can be a bit tricky to walk.

If you’re arriving at Paraty by bus, the station is conveniently close and easily reachable on foot. Not to worry, if your feet need a break or have luggage, taxis are readily available during the day.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: How to get around

When is the best time to visit Paraty?

Paraty can be visited all year round. Precipitation is low and temperatures are pleasant.

The hot, sunny summer months between November – March are ideal for exploring the paradisiacal beaches and the surrounding islands in the area. However, during this time of the year, and especially over the Christmas holidays, the town tends to get very busy.

Therefore, we recommend planning your visit for the shoulder seasons (September and October; April and May). During these months, you can enjoy great weather still while potentially encountering fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy the charm of Paraty with a bit more tranquility.

During June and August, temperatures are the lowest. It’s not the best time at the beaches, as the water gets quite cold, but perfect for day trips around the city. Plus, it’s the least crowded time in the year.

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What does it cost to visit Paraty?

We are not sure if it was due to our visit between the Christmas and New Year, but we found Paraty to be quite expensive. Like really expensive. Especially the accommodations were highly overpriced for what you get.

Expect to pay between 40 USD per day for a budget stay in Paraty of up to 250 USD per day for some luxury.

Here is our daily cost breakdown for Paraty.

How many days to stay in Paraty?

To make the most of your Paraty visit, plan to stay for at least 3-4 days. This gives you enough time to explore the historic center, soak up the sun on nearby beaches, and maybe even go on a hike or visit a waterfall.

We’ve spent our first day exploring the city with a free walking tour. That way, we already know the neighborhood and have an expert to annoy with all of our questions.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Colorful windowframes

On our second day, we took the bus to Trinidade to explore some of the most beautiful beaches that we’ve seen during our whole Brazil trip.

We spent our third and fourth days visiting the beaches around Paraty, went shopping, drank (only one or two) Caipirinhas, and did some kayaking.

And while we would have loved to stay longer in Paraty to hike at the Saco do Mamanguá, we sadly needed to leave the city – as our budget was already eaten up.

Is Paraty safe to visit?

Paraty is generally a safe tourist destination. Compared to big cities like Rio and São Paulo, the small coastal town is much less busy. However, like anywhere, it’s important to use common sense and stay altert, keeping valuables secure and maintaining awareness of your surroundings. Especially at night or in less crowded areas.

Our bus arrived late in the night and the only taxi available at the terminal was already taken. So, we ended up walking through whole Paraty and a bridge at night. We arrived safely at our accommodation, but sweating (because of our heavy backpacks) and a little stressed out.

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: Walk along the colorful streets of the historic center

Is Paraty worth visiting?

No questions asked: Paraty is a definite must-visit on your journey between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro!

Beyond the charming historic center and unique festivals, its surroundings offer stunning waterfalls, lush mountains and jungle, paradisiacal beaches, and the world’s only tropical fjord. Paraty is also a culinary delight, with family-owned venues and distilleries serving some of the most delicious Brazilian dishes and beverages.

Quite remarkable for its small size, wouldn’t you say?

Best things to do in Paraty, Brazil: The colorful colonial coast town