West of Rio de Janeiro, the BR-101 highway divides forested mountains from steep coastal cliffs. This is the Costa Verde—the Green Coast—admired for its tranquil bays, isolated beaches, and lush islands such as Ilha Grande. Offshore, the turquoise waters support a variety of colorful fish, Magellanic penguins, and Southern right whales.
As the coast curves to the southwest around the Baía da Ilha Grande, it arrives in the colorful town of Paraty (or Parati). Settled by the Portuguese in the 16th century, Paraty became the primary port for shipments of Minas Gerias gold. The town’s colonial prominence is evident in its fort, baroque churches, and sunken cobblestone streets (ingeniously designed to be cleaned by the tides).
Paraty’s other charms include quiet plazas, a remarkable puppet theater, pushcart pastries, and more than a dozen nearby beaches. Visitors can enjoy diving, snorkeling, sailing, surfing, horseback riding, hiking, and visits to a local cachaça distillery.
The nearest international airport to Paraty is in Rio de Janeiro (GIG) 146 miles to the northeast. You can reach Paraty by car from either Rio (3.5 hours) or Sao Paulo (about 5.5 hours). Both roads are generally in good condition.
Paraty is a year round destination; high temperatures average 80°F to 84°F from October to May, cooling off to the high-70’s during the June to September winter. Precipitation is greatest from October to April (6.6 to 9.5 inches per month) and lowest from June to August (around three inches).
Why We Love It
- Culture, charm, and cuisine
- Sailing trips to nearby islands and beaches
- Lots of outdoor activity options
- Fantastic natural landscapes