Paraty: Brazil’s Sleepy Gem

A colourful bike on the beach in Paraty

A colourful bike on the beach in Paraty

Paraty, Brazil – The Sleepy Gem of South America


The biggest reason people visit Brazil are the great beaches, there is no question about that.  In the months of December through March the beaches are lined with beautiful people strutting their stuff and children racing through the water filling the humid air with giggles.  The beaches are so incredible that people often forget that the country has one of the richest, most interesting histories in the world; a reminder of that great history can be found in the small coastal town of Paraty.

Although most people do come to Paraty hearing of its proximity to exotic and secluded beaches where one can waste away the day bronzing under a rich sun or cooling off playing in the gentle waves of the Atlantic, it is the history and charm of Paraty that will remain ingrained in the memory of visitors.  Holidayers heading to the beach can’t help but notice the charisma of this quaint sea town.  This old port is one of the oldest settlements in Southern Brazil and if its streets could talk they would tell tales that would put the wisest old grandfather’s stories to shame.

Paraty, street front, Brazil

Paraty street front

Charming wooden tables and chairs line the center of the unevenly bricked streets of the town’s center.  The houses and restaurants nearly all shine in bright shades of white showing their uniqueness through the vivid colours of the trim on their doors and windows.  The laid back atmosphere of Paraty almost feels more Caribbean than it does Brazilian and it could easily leave casual visitors in a perpetual state of peace and comfort which they are unwilling to shake.

The Old Church in Paraty, Brazil

The Old Church in Paraty

The town’s old church looks outwards on its lush ocean bay as if protecting the village from intruders.  The battered white paint of the church and the fading stone fence give light to the battles it has fought as well.  It seems that this church constantly faces environmental battles with the forceful tropical storms that can rip across these shores. Despite the faded nature of the exterior of the church it still seems to hold a powerful sense of pride.

Kids playing in Paraty

Kids Playing in the canal

Even the local beach, which most tourists quickly flee from due to its “unattractiveness,” has significant charm.  Trodden wooden canoes run up on the shores of the coastline and sit waist deep in sand.  Classic Spanish colonial street lamps stand oddly, yet proudly, out of place in the middle of the beach.  The local children smile and laugh as they play on the edges of the water with a football or simply dive into the oncoming waves.  In the distance a boat tugs its way along the lush green coast of the nearby islands admiring the absolute natural beauty of the area.

A colourful bike on the beach in Paraty

A colourful bike on the beach in Paraty

Paraty may draw you because of its exotic location and the lure of soft white sand beaches hidden off in nearby coves; however what will keep you there is the absolute peace one feels.  It is one of those places where one could easily lose track of the time, the day, the week.  Paraty lacks the immense crowds of the more famous Brazilian beach towns, and is the perfect reprieve from whatever particular rat race you may live in.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Loved this post Brendan…Your photos once again are beautiful, bold and colorful…Thanks for some of the history of Paraty, Brazil…
    Keep the adventure going…
    Patti thecrazychef Somewhere in Mexico

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  2. Wow… lovely spot! I’ll add that one to my list!

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  3. Why is it whenever i see the name of this place I always think it says PARTY? Maybe that’s just the way my mind works! Anyway, I would love to have a party in Paraty looking at these pics

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    • Hahaha… I guess that I had you pegged right then Senorita Party

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  4. It’s also well worth checking out Trindade, a little village one hour’s bus drive from Paraty. This place actually has beaches you can swim in, as well as natural pools, waterfalls, and the lot. A beautiful place, and a nice place to visit while you’re in Paraty, or should that be Party!

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    • ya, good call on that one. I didn´t get there but many people did and loved it!

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  5. Paraty is amazing. I once worked on a project here but unfortunately didn’t manage to visit this charming little town. Hopefully one day I’ll get a chance. Love the European feel of the town centre and also the lush greenery surrounding it.

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  6. What a beautiful village… I guess I’ll have to add it to my list of future destinations! I really like south american architecture – the white houses with colorful doors and windows.

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  7. Beautiful photos. , the architecture and beaches exude character. I also make sure to visit as many small quaint towns in my travels, usually they are the best kept travel secrets around and free from the madding crowds and also they make great photos!

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  8. When we first planned our trip, the actual plan was to start in Brazil and Paraty was one of the places that sounded BEAUTIFUL! Reading now about it here and seeing your pictures, I know we would love it! Hopefully we get to go there soon. – Dani | Globetrottergirls

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    • Are you girls heading south right now from Central America? I am in moving North maybe we will cross paths at some point

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