30 Hours in Paraty

Leaving Rio isn’t fun.

Leaving Rio in a mini bus that gets lost trying to get out of Rio is even less fun.

Leaving Rio for a 3 hour scheduled bus that actually takes 5 hours is really the least fun.

However… Arriving in Paraty, looking for a pre-booked but non-exisitent hostel, dragging suitcases around cobbled streets is the worst thing ever.

It’s fair to say, me and Paraty did not get off to a flying start.

Being a absolute gent, I offered to take Klara’s giant pink suitcase as well as my own rucksack. After almost an eternity and everyone in this apparently tiny village knowing about the stupid tourists dragging a giant suitcase around we found somewhere to stay.

I say ‘stay’ … We were directed to a back street full of Pousada’s (guest houses) and bumped into a charming Brazilian who’s name I forget. He offered us a room.

That’s it though, it was just a room. Not in a hostel or guest house. It was his room. That he lived in.

He worked for a hostel and apparently had done this many times before.

Hesitant about everything, I stepped into the room…

He told us for double the price of the actual hostel, we could stay here and use all the facilities from the hostel across the road where he worked. We dumped our oversize luggage and checked out the hostel. Top of my priority list was a locker to stow my valuables and wifi to book a way out of Paraty.

With both wishes being fulfilled. He happily gave us a padlock to lock the door and off he popped to get a haircut with our R$100 of ‘rent’.

We just stood there. Stared at each other. Then just laughed.

Despite the horrendous situation, it was actually funny. It will go down as potentially the funniest 30 hours of my life. Mainly because, if I didn’t laugh. I may well have cried.

Dying for food, we went straight out after attempting to secure our, essentially, favela room. We stopped at the first place we found, a pizzeria. Pizza was average.

We decided the best thing to do at this time was to leave Paraty as soon as possible. Booking a hostel in São Paulo for the following night, ringing ahead to check the confirmation.

It’s true, you really do learn from mistakes. Even a confirmation email does not guarantee that a hostel exists anymore.

Showering is normally not much of an issue in hostels. Yes normally the water isn’t that hot and the water pressure not that high.

But there always a door at least.

After I constructed a makeshift door by stringing up a sheet between 2 screws in the wall, I showered quickly under a cold, slightly blocked up watering can style shower. The higher we turned the temperature up, the darker the lights got.

My mood and opinion of Paraty was improving by the second.

The fishing town is home to Bourbon Jazz and Soul Festival. Apparently is popular and the main reason we struggled to find a proper hostel after the disaster of No.7 Rua de Lapa. A door I will forever be haunted by now. Also a door we each bought a fridge magnet of to remind us how hilariously funny the whole story would be after we had finished writing it.

Making the most of our time in this small colonial town on the Atlantic coast of Brazil, we decided to check it out.

It rained.

After a caipirinha each and some beer that we didn’t end up paying for, we called it a night and headed home to our favela room.

We got lost.

It was still raining.

Eventually finding the front entrance, after discovering the back entrance 4 blocks away was unusable, we made it. Even our tiny little room was nice after being outside.

15 hours into our 30 in Paraty, we awoke to glorious sunshine. Following the previous night and our already booked hostel in São Paulo we went to buy one way tickets out of there. Had a pretty decent breakfast to be fair then headed out for a boat trip. Supposedly the best way to spend only one day.

Well whoever told us that was not wrong. We met out boat captain, again I don’t remember his name. He will forever be known as boat man.

With the ‘Águia Dourada I’ (Golden Eagle) all to ourselves, we set out from the harbour. For those of you that don’t know (most you probably) Paraty is in a really big bay. Actually it’s in a smaller bay in a bigger bay.

There are countless tiny islands, some larger islands, a thousand secluded beaches, coves and lagoons to explore on these boats trips.

Our first stop, after deciding that we should buy one of these islands, was a small shallow cove with a large exposed rock. When we met out captain at the hostel, he picked up 2 bananas and 2 bread rolls. We assumed for his lunch.

The banana’s were for monkeys, the bread for fish. He broke up the bananas and threw them onto the rock, we waited only about 30 seconds before tiny little monkeys, similar to all the others we’ve seen around Brazil, hopped out from the trees to snatch lunch. Followed by larger, golden (AKA ginger) monkeys, and then some sort of mammal. It’s like an agouti or something I think. Oh yeah, and the fish. Not so cute but they splashed around fighting over the bread we didn’t eat for breakfast.

We left the monkeys to it and headed for a beach. Even though I said secluded beaches, this one had a cafe and even a small boat taxi to pick us up from our boat and bring us to land. We chilled out with some squid rings soaking up the surrounding beauty and the burning sun rays. Loving life basically but regretting not bringing swimming gear with us.

All too soon, we taxi’d back to our boat and headed for our next stop. A swim stop. Without swimming gear we sat in the top deck, bronzing while jealously watching other boat trippers dive in and splash around.

After 15 minutes of envy. Id had enough and stripped down to my fetching yellow pants and jumped in. Klara followed, but she only stripped off her watch and earrings. Stupid tourists swimming in dresses.

So now I can say, I’ve swam in the South Atlantic in my underwear.

We didn’t think it through brilliantly and I spent the rest of the day in just my, now soaking wet, yellow pants trying to dry them out.

Topping of a really amazing day, we saw a turtle.

Then as we pulled into the harbour, the captain turned the boat around, kicked it in reverse and the engine died. We floated mere metres from dry land for about 20 minutes while he attempted to restart the 50 year old boat. Eventually we were pulled ashore and exited our boat, onto another boat, then onto dry land.

It could only happen to us this weekend. 2 idiots in Paraty.

Turns out, Paraty isn’t all that bad though, I’ve never laughed so much at myself and crap situations before.

We rounded off the day with food that didn’t contain beans, and a passion fruit caipirinha. (My phone now recognises this word after just 4 letters, that’s how often I use it). A good end to a really good day.

The cobbled streets of the historic centre and the main square with its town hall are actually really pretty, you could spend hours wondering through the maze of streets, poking around all the tourist crap, “traditional” art and cachaça emporiums.


Cachaça emporiums. We went tasting.

We left Paraty feeling much better about the town, it rained as we left obviously, so we didn’t leave on the best note. But we made some really funny memories and created some of the best stories from my Brazil experience.

I think I’d recommend it.

Just don’t ‘book’ Don Quitoxe hostel…

One thought on “30 Hours in Paraty

  1. Pingback: Bourbon Jazz Festival. The perfect excuse to visit Paraty. | The World In A Backpack

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