We only had one full day in Paraty, and we knew just how to spend it: em um barco. (I refuse to say the much overused English translation of that phrase.)
The best way to see Paraty is far and away by sea. There are many options when it comes to choosing a boat to go island hopping in Paraty. There are several companies offering boat tours, from small group speed boats, which allow you travel to the more distant islands; to party boats with free caipirinhas and music; to a local fisherman’s boat where you set the schedule (more on that in my next post).
For our only full day in Paraty, however, we went with a Trip Advisor suggestion and hired Barco Latitude for the day. With Andre, our English-speaking captain, we hit the water for a full day of breathtaking views.
Of course, with so many options, there are also a lot of different price points. The thriftier option is to either get on one of the more crowded party boats or negotiate with a fisherman to take you out on the water at a price you can afford. For this particular adventure, we went with a middle of the road option. Six hours, with snorkeling equipment, fresh fruit and even two free caipirinhas (though I’m not sure if that’s always the case) on Barco Latitude ran us about $160 US for two people. We were the only people on the boat aside from our captain and another employee. Well worth it.
And yes, we were definitely the palest folks in Paraty, but pale and happy! We spent the majority of the day on the cushioned upper deck of the boat where we were treated to panoramic views that seemed to only get more beautiful.
The waters of Paraty are surrounded by the stunning Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina, or, a bunch of lovely mountains.
Our first stop, to snorkel in a cove with sea turtles, was kind of a bust. The water was nice, but not clear enough to spot any sea creatures. We swam around a bit, enjoying a nearby party boat’s music and dancing and then went onward toward our next destination.
Over a fruit break, Andre told us that all of the beaches on Paraty must remain public, even if they are located on private islands, an idea that sounds kind of crazy to me but is quite convenient. We visited one such private island next, home to a very wealthy person from Sao Paulo who only flies in on his private helicopter a few times a year and also, apparently, home to some of the best snorkeling in the area. The water here was very clear and we were able to make awkward eye contact with many fishes.
We snorkeled for a good half hour before hunger got the better of us. (Still pale.) Our next stop was Praia Vermelha for lunch.
This was definitely the most populated spot we visited all day, although Andre considered the crowd to be miniscule. Apparently in the summer, Praia Vermelha is one of the hottest spots to be. Since we visited Paraty on the offseason, we managed to avoid most of the crowds while still reaping in the beautiful weather. On this particular day, the high was near 90 degrees F and seasons be damned, that’s summer to me.
To reach Praia Vermelha on a larger boat such as ours, you anchor a little way off shore and a smaller boat comes to pick you up and take you to shore.
Our main reason for stopping on Praia Vermelha was lunch at Bambubar, a restaurant and bar serving seafood fresh from the surrounding waters.
The views were significantly better than the food, but perhaps we just ordered the wrong thing. Or it may be that try as I may, I’m still not a huge seafood lover. I prefer swimming with them over eating them, I suppose.
Sipping on fresh caipirinhas, watching the waves roll in, I was completely captivated by Paraty. But eventually we had to leave.
Back aboard the boat, we kept the party going with another caipirinha made fresh for us by Andre. This one had cinnamon cachaça in it and was super tasty. Sadly, our boat tour was coming to an end, but not before watching one of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen as the lights slowly went out over Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina.
We watched it all the way back to the docks where we regrettably bid adieu to Andre and Barco Latitude. But our boat adventures were not over. My next post will cover our fisher boat trip to Saco do Mamangua.